Delicious and Easy Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

Welcome to my Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup Recipe! This recipe is a fiery and flavorful traditional soup from West Africa, made with some of my favorite ingredients like fresh cilantro, okra, green bell pepper, and dried black-eyed peas. In this recipe article, I will share with you my step-by-step instructions, tips, and recommendations to help you make the best version of this delicious soup.

As a chef, I have always been fascinated by the variety of cowpeas, beans, and legumes that are edible seeds found in pods. Black-eyed peas are one of my favorite ingredients to work with, and they are a staple in many regions of West Africa, especially in Liberia. This soup is one of the most traditional soups in Liberia, and it is often served during special occasions like weddings, birthdays, or New Year’s Day celebrations.

I believe that food is not only about satisfying our hunger, but it is also a way to connect with our culture and traditions. This recipe is not only delicious, but it also tells a story about the rich and diverse African cuisine, and the importance of using fresh and healthy ingredients to create flavorful and nutritious meals.

So, buckle up and get ready to experience the flavors of Liberia with this Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup Recipe. Whether you are a vegan, a meat lover, or a slow-cooker enthusiast, this soup recipe will satisfy your taste buds and warm your soul. Let’s get started!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup
Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup

Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup is a hearty and flavorful soup that will warm you up from the inside out. If you’re a fan of African cuisine, then this soup is a must-try. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also incredibly nutritious, packed with protein and fiber from the black-eyed peas and other wholesome ingredients.

One of the best things about this soup recipe is its versatility. It can be made vegetarian or with smoked turkey, ground beef, ham, or chicken. You can also add collard greens or okra for some extra greens, or corn kernels for a touch of sweetness. The recipe is easily customizable to your liking, making it a great recipe to add to your collection of soup recipes.

The combination of ingredients in this soup is nothing short of magical. The black-eyed peas are earthy and tender, while the diced tomatoes with juice add a tangy sweetness. The green bell pepper and celery give the soup a fresh crunch, and the dried thyme and ground allspice infuse the soup with warm and aromatic flavors. A pinch of cayenne adds a subtle kick that will wake up your taste buds.

This soup recipe is not only delicious, but it also has a rich history. Black-eyed peas are a variety of cowpea that is native to West Africa, and they have been a staple ingredient in African cuisine for centuries. In Liberia, black-eyed peas are a traditional ingredient in soups and stews, including this fiery Liberian bean soup. By making this soup, you are embracing the history and culture of West Africa’s cuisine.

In conclusion, this Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves African cuisine or is looking for a hearty and nutritious soup recipe. With its bold flavors, customizable ingredients, and rich history, this soup will quickly become a favorite in your recipe collection.

Ingredient List

 A warm bowl of comfort in every spoonful
A warm bowl of comfort in every spoonful

Here’s what you’ll need to cook up a hearty pot of Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup:


  • 1 cup of dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 cups of water, divided
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 cups of chopped onions
  • 1 cup of diced celery
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh okra, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of fresh corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon of dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped

Note: Black-eyed peas are a variety of cowpea and a staple in Southern American and West African cuisine. They are also known as black-eyed beans, cow peas, and southern peas. In this recipe, the earthy beans are soaked overnight in water and rinsed before being added to the soup pot.

For a vegetarian version of this soup, skip the smoked turkey and ground beef. Instead, you can add collard greens or other vegetables of your choice.

The Recipe How-To

Soak the Black-Eyed Peas
Before cooking, black-eyed peas should be soaked overnight in water. Rinse them in the morning and they are ready to use.

Sauté Onion and Garlic
In a soup pot, sauté chopped onions and peeled garlic cloves in olive oil for 2-3 minutes until they are transluscent.

Add Bell Pepper, Celery, and Spices
Add diced green bell pepper and diced celery to the pot and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Then, add dried thyme, ground allspice, and cayenne pepper.

Add Black-Eyed Peas, Tomatoes, and Water
Add the soaked black-eyed peas to the pot and stir well. Then add a can of diced tomatoes with juice and 6 cups of water divided into two parts.

Simmer and Add Okra and Corn
Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Let the soup simmer for about 45 minutes until the black-eyed peas are cooked through. Then, add fresh okra and fresh corn kernels and let the soup cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Garnish with Fresh Cilantro
Remove the pot from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro on top.

This delicious soup is a perfect vegetarian option that you can enjoy anytime. You can also add smoked turkey or ground beef if you prefer a meaty flavor, or collard greens for a more African touch. The slow cooker and instant pot are great tools for making this soup, too.

Substitutions and Variations

 The perfect soup for a cold winter day
The perfect soup for a cold winter day

One of the best things about this Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup recipe is its flexibility. You can make substitutions and variations to suit your taste and dietary preferences. Here are some ideas:

– Instead of dried black-eyed peas, try using other types of beans, legumes, or edible seeds. Pigeon peas, cowpeas, or split peas are excellent alternatives. You can also use canned beans if you’re short on time.

– If you don’t have fresh corn kernels or okra, feel free to skip them or add other veggies you like such as carrots or zucchini.

– For a meatier version, you can add smoked turkey, ground beef, or ham hock to the soup. These will infuse the soup with a smoky, savory flavor that pairs perfectly with the earthy black-eyed peas.

– For a vegan version, omit the meat and use vegetable broth instead of water. You can add more veggies or tofu for extra protein.

– If you prefer a spicier soup, increase the amount of cayenne pepper or add a diced jalapeno to the pot.

– If you like collard greens, add them to the soup about 15 minutes before it’s done. This will add some extra nutrition and texture to the dish.

– If you’re cooking for a slow-cooker or Instant Pot, you can adjust the cooking time and liquid accordingly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

– For a refreshing twist, add some fresh cilantro or lime juice to the soup before serving. This will brighten up the flavors and make the soup even more delicious.

Remember, cooking is all about experimenting and having fun in the kitchen. Use your favorite ingredients and techniques to make this soup your own.

Serving and Pairing

Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup is a hearty and satisfying dish that can be served as a main meal or a side dish. This soup is versatile enough to be paired with a wide range of dishes, making it an excellent addition to any meal plan. Here are some serving and pairing suggestions to help you enjoy this soup to the fullest.

When serving Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup, I love to top it with a generous sprinkle of fresh cilantro. This herb adds a bright and fresh flavor that balances the richness of the soup. You can also add a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt for a creamy finish that complements the soup’s spiciness.

For a complete meal, pair this soup with a side of crusty bread, such as baguette or sourdough. The bread is perfect for sopping up the soup and adding an extra layer of texture to the meal. You can also serve it with a simple green salad or roasted vegetables for a healthy and balanced meal.

If you want to make this soup the star of the show, serve it with a dish that can stand up to its bold flavors. For example, try pairing it with a spicy ground beef or smoked turkey dish. The richness of these meats complements the soup’s earthy flavors, while the spiciness adds a nice kick to the meal.

Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup also pairs well with African-inspired dishes, such as collard greens or slow-cooked ham hock. These dishes share similar flavor profiles and ingredients, making them a perfect match for the soup.

In conclusion, Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup is a delicious and versatile dish that can be served in many ways. Whether you’re looking for a hearty main meal or a nutritious side dish, this soup is an excellent choice. So, get creative with your serving and pairing options, and enjoy this fiery and flavorful soup with your loved ones.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

This Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup recipe is a great make-ahead dish that tastes even better when reheated, making it perfect for meal prep or leftovers. One of the great things about this soup is that the flavors deepen as the soup sits, so it’s perfect for making ahead of time and storing in the fridge or freezer.

To make this soup ahead of time, simply follow the recipe as written and let it cool to room temperature before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. If you are storing it in the fridge, it will last for up to 3-4 days, and in the freezer, it will last for up to 3 months.

When reheating, you can do so on the stove or in the microwave. To reheat on the stove, simply transfer the soup to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until it’s hot all the way through, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a splash of water or broth to thin it out if it’s too thick.

If you are reheating in the microwave, transfer the soup to a microwave-safe container and heat on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until it’s heated through.

If you find that the soup has thickened too much after storing it, you can thin it out with a bit of water or broth before reheating. And if you want to make the soup even heartier, you can add in some cooked ground beef or shredded smoked turkey before reheating.

Overall, this Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup is a great recipe for meal prep or leftovers, and it’s a soup that only gets better with time. So go ahead and make a big batch, store it away, and enjoy it throughout the week or freeze it for later!

Tips for Perfect Results

As a chef, I know that following a recipe is important, but sometimes it’s the little tips and tricks that make all the difference in the end result. Here are some tips to help you make the best Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup:

Firstly, when it comes to cooking dried black-eyed peas, soaking is key. Soak the black-eyed peas in water overnight or for at least 6 hours. This will help them cook more evenly and reduce the overall cooking time. Also, don’t forget to rinse them thoroughly before cooking.

To add some smoky flavor to the soup, you can use smoked turkey instead of ground beef or ham. It adds a unique flavor that compliments the earthy black-eyed peas. Also, if you’re making a vegan version, you can use smoked paprika to achieve a similar smoky flavor.

For a spicy kick, adjust the amount of cayenne pepper based on your preference. You can also add some hot sauce or diced jalapeños for an extra fiery kick.

When it comes to the vegetables, make sure to chop them into small, uniform pieces. This will ensure that they cook evenly and don’t overwhelm the soup. In particular, the okra can become slimy if it’s cut too big, so make sure to slice it thinly.

Don’t be afraid to add more water if the soup seems too thick. It’s better to have a slightly thinner soup than one that’s too thick and stodgy.

Finally, don’t forget to garnish the soup with fresh cilantro before serving. It adds a burst of freshness and color that enhances the overall presentation and flavor.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to make a delicious and authentic Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup that is sure to impress.


Now that you know how to prepare Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup, it’s time to address some frequently asked questions to help you achieve the best results. Here are some of the most common questions that people have about this soup recipe.

What are black-eyed peas called in Africa?

Black-eyed peas, also known as niébé in some parts of the Sahel, are highly nutritious and can thrive in tough conditions, which has earned them the nickname “miracle peas” in some regions. They are also commonly referred to as the “poor man’s meat” in many sub-Saharan African countries due to their affordability and high nutritional value. It’s no wonder these peas have become such an important staple in African cuisine.

Do black-eyed peas need to be soaked before cooking?

If you’re short on time and need to cook some dried black-eyed peas, you can skip the soaking step. However, taking the time to soak them will save you about 30 minutes of cooking time, regardless of the method you use. This is a handy tip to keep in mind when you’re in a rush but still want to enjoy a delicious meal.

What is the difference between cowpeas and black-eyed peas?

Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, belong to the legume family which includes beans and peas. Despite their name, they are actually a type of bean rather than a true pea. Legumes like black-eyed peas are characterized by their edible seeds and pods.

Are black eyed beans the same as black-eyed peas?

Black eyed peas, also known as black eyed beans, belong to the cowpea family. Despite the common interchangeable use of the terms beans and peas, both are classified as legumes and share similar characteristics such as edible seeds and pods.

Bottom Line

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In conclusion, this Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup Recipe is a delicious and nutritious addition to your soup recipe collection. Not only is it a traditional soup recipe from West Africa, but it also incorporates a variety of legumes, vegetables, and spices that are not only healthy but also flavorful. The combination of black-eyed peas, okra, diced tomatoes with juice, celery, onions, and green bell pepper creates a robust and hearty soup that will satisfy your palate and soul.

Whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, or meat lover, this recipe can be adapted to your preference by substituting or adding your favorite ingredient. Additionally, it can be served as a main dish or as a side dish to complement your favorite meat or fish.

Lastly, this recipe is easy to make, and you can prepare it ahead of time and store it for later. You can also freeze it for future use or reheat it for a quick and satisfying meal.

In summary, this Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup Recipe is a must-try recipe for soup lovers who want to explore new flavors and ingredients. So, don’t hesitate to try it today and share it with your family and friends. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

Black-eyed peas are a favorite ingredient in all of the regions of West Africa. There, traditional soups are rather plain, so to add cornmon greens, and/or okra to this soup would be considered quite "fancy" by most West Africans. And if you add the quantity of cayenne that most West Africans would, this soup would be considered insanely fiery by the majority of North Americans! Try varying the combination of vegetables a bit, playing with the quantities of the optional ingredients, or doubling the amount of greens. Reduce the water and you’ll have a stew, delicious served on polenta or grits.

Top each bowl with chopped scallions or more chopped cilantro.

  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled )
  • 6 cups water, divided
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 pinch cayenne (more to taste )
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
  • 1 green bell pepper (or red, seeded and chopped )
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen) (optional)
  • 1 cup sliced okra (fresh or frozen )
  • 2 cups chopped fresh collard greens (or kale or chard or spinach) (optional)
  • 3 cups diced tomatoes with juice (28-ounce can)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional, up to 2 )
  • salt & fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  1. In a covered saucepan, bring the black-eyed peas, garlic cloves, and 4 cups of the water to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a nonreactive soup pot, sauté the onions and celery in the 2 tablespoons water on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  4. Stir in the cayenne, allspice, and thyme and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the bell peppers, stir well, cover, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Stir in the corn, okra, tomatoes, and the remaining 2 cups of water.
  7. Cover and bring just to a boil; then add the greens, gently simmer until tender, and remove from the heat until the black- eyed peas are ready.
  8. When the black-eyed peas are tender, remove the garlic cloves or mash them with a fork against the side of the pan.
  9. Add the black-eyed peas and their cooking liquid to the soup pot.
  10. Stir in the cilantro, if using, and add salt and black pepper to taste.
Main Course
< 4 Hours, African, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, Low Protein, Vegetable

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