The Best Black-Eyed Pea Soup

That’s right, I said “the best.” I just can’t think of any other way to describe it, and it is probably even the best pea soup I’ve ever had (sorry Mom!)… and I LOVE split pea soup!! I had been thinking of black-eyed peas since Taylor and I went to a UVA tailgate hosted by his Uncle Roger. One family had made a dish called Hoppin’ John. It was 10am, cold, and no amount of rice could have deterred me from a dish out of a crockpot. Now, I know that peas are legumes, and not paleo, so I was already 0-2. Luckily, I’m not strictly Paleo. I had never had a dish with black-eyed peas before, and the Hoppin’ John definitely hit the spot. It was black-eyed peas, some type of pork, and rice. I just couldn’t help wishing that the rice to pea ratio wasn’t 50-50. Peas are something I love in every variety though, so I was happy to indulge.

I am happy to say that my black-eyed pea soup is gluten free, and that is more important to me that avoiding legumes. This dish is creamy, spicy, and WAY lower in sodium than the Emril Lagasse version that I based it on. I more than halved the amount of sodium by eliminating four cups of chicken broth, and replacing it with 4 cups of water. When my Mom makes split pea soup, she only adds water and a ham bone to the veggies, so I was confident that the spicy andouille sausage had plenty of sodium and seasoning. I was right. It certainly didn’t need the additional salt he suggested. I did use his Essence spice recipe for “Bayou Blast,” and that added a great richness and smokiness to the dish. I just can’t say enough how creamy and comforting this dish is. I had at least three servings the day I made it.

A note on prep: The night before, soak the peas in a pot with 8 cups of water (or according to the directions on the package) and cover. In the morning, drain the peas before starting the soup. This overnight soak brings the cooking time to under two hours on the stove. It may sound like a lot, but the bag said to cook them for 10 HOURS in the slow cooker AFTER soaking them overnight (or all day, as long as it’s about 8 hours). And don’t be put off by the two hours, the prep time is minimal. Oh, and don’t forget to look through the peas for rocks. Seriously. It says it on the bag, but another reminder can’t hurt. I found three in my bag.

A note on the Essence Creole Seasoning: there will be extra. No worries! I know I will be making this recipe again. However, this spice mix would be amazing on a variety of proteins… especially salmon.


  • 1 bag dried black-eyed peas, picked through for stones and soaked overnight (at least 8 hours)
  • 1-2 yellow onions, diced (about the size of the peas)
  • 1 bell pepper (I used yellow, but any would do)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 tbs minced garlic (buying the jar of already minced helps save a LOT of time)
  • 1 package Smithfield Spicy Andouille Sausage with natural casing (no SUGARS or CORN SYRUP added), chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 box (4 cups) low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp Emril’s Essence Creole Seasoning (Bayou Blast), as follows:
  • 1 tbs + 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme
  • 1 scant tbs salt
  • Just a reminder: There will be Bayou Blast leftover, the recipe only calls for 3/4 teaspoon!


  • 1. Heat coconut oil in large pot or dutch/french oven on med/med-high heat depending on stove
  • 2. Add onions, celery, bell pepper, and cook until softened (about 5 minutes)
  • 3. Add garlic, sausage, and saute for another 3-5 minutes (watch that garlic doesn’t burn)
  • 4. Add chicken stock, water, bay leaves, then bring to a boil
  • 5. Add soaked and drained peas to pot, bring back up to a simmer
  • 6. Cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours (stirring occasionally)
  • 7. Uncover and simmer for another 1/2 hour (this helps release steam and thicken soup)
  • 8. Peas should be soft, and soup will continue to thicken as it cools
  • 9. Enjoy!