Persian Black-eyed Peas

Consider foods such as this Persian Black-Eyed Peas recipe which are regenerative and help improve your health, not just sustain life.

Most folks, including myself, make, break and mutate New Year’s resolutions by mid-January. You probably have either fallen off the wagon, gotten run over by it, or for those who set realistic goals, found ways to make it stick. My hat’s off to the latter group.

Whether your New Year’s pledge was to lose weight, get toned, or to simply learn to love yourself, the hard work starts within.

With so much hype this time of year regarding which self-help book to read, which diet plan to follow, or the latest too-good-to-be-true product on the market, it can be overwhelming to narrow down what will work for us and allow us to live our lives, not consumed by our choice but liberated by simplicity.

While taking a course on nutrition from Cornell University, I was challenged to research some of the latest nutritional claims from leading publications and new product claims. I learned you really do have to do your homework, look at who is paying for the research and who stands to gain from the findings. It’s like the famous line from the movie “Jerry Maguire,” “Show me the money!”

Questioning the funding of a study or who stands to gain from its findings is a good place to start. The system is not set up to support consumer health, because industry and media tend to focus on what is marketable. Many tend to focus on singular nutrients and narrow studies. We find ourselves buying into a reductionist science with the ultimate goal to sell products and drugs, all of which are profitable for industry.

The foods we choose and the products we buy should do more than just sustain us, they should be regenerative. In other words, they should improve our health beyond maybe shedding a few pounds, restoring systems right down to the molecular level to improve health. When it comes to resolutions, isn’t that the bottom line – to make us the best version of what we can be.

I’ve been working on recipes that do just that — restore, repair and revitalize, not just my outward appearance but help me achieve optimum health. A recipe that quickly has become a favorite in this new year, and one I made for New Year’s Day is Persian Black-Eyed Peas.

Black-eyed peas not only are full of protein, they contain hunger-­squash­ing fiber. When you add heart-­healthy tomatoes, calcium-rich kale and the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, you’ve got a sure winner. Not to mention it is easy to prepare and delicious.

By focusing on whole foods, less processed convenience items, and fueling our bodies with all the nutrients for a healthy and happy self, we can begin to make some new resolutions like go on more adventures, buy less stuff, be more environmentally aware, or perhaps, do something that scares us just a little.

Persian Black-Eyed Peas

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 15-ounce cans black eyed peas

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon turmeric

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup chopped fresh kale or fresh spinach

1½ cups cooked brown rice

Heat olive oil on a large skillet. Sauté onions until tender and add black-eyed peas and tomatoes then turmeric, salt and pepper. Let simmer for approximately 15 minutes on low heat. Add the chopped kale or spinach and cook until wilted and tender.

Serve over brown rice.

Kathy Nicarry is the former chef at Bernheim’s Isaac’s Cafe. Her healthy cooking style unites her passion for cooking with love of the natural world. She can be reached at

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