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Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Soup To Start Your New Year Right

Preview: This Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Soup with ground beef makes a filling soup that’s perfect for New Year’s Day.

Do you have New Year’s traditions? When I was a kid, we always walked to Grandma’s house to watch the Rose Bowl parade (no TV at our house). My sister remembers our dad usually worked on taxes that day. I guess procrastinating until later in the spring is not a good idea for a farmer.

How about New Year’s food traditions? As an adult living in Texas, we eat black-eyed peas on every New Year’s Day. I hear it’s a Southern thing.

a bowl of Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Soup

Fortunately, our friends Steve and Joan taught us how to make eating black-eyed peas more fun. They introduced us to the custom of putting a dime in the pot.

Supposedly, the person who finds the submerged dime will have a good year. I used to worry about accidentally chomping down on it, but now, the grandkids dig it out before the adults have a chance.

Oh well. It’s just for fun. Personally, I find prayer infinitely more effective if you are looking for a good year.

Recipe Inspiration

Although Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Soup (also known as Texas Two-Bean Soup) is not uncommon in these parts, I wasn’t a fan until I tasted my friend Joan’s version. She adds ground beef. For me, it made all the difference.

If you try it, you are in for a spicy treat. I add a whole fresh jalapeño to start with, but you could substitute pickled jalapeños or green chilis. In addition, a good dose of cumin powder and garlic, along with thyme and oregano give this soup a southwestern flavor profile.

This soup is easy to prepare in my Instant Pot. As a result, I now fix this soup even on days other than New Year’s Day.

What if I don’t have an instant pot?

No worries if you don’t have an Instant Pot . See the notes after the recipe.

Ingredients and substitutions:

GROUND BEEF: Ground turkey is a good substitute

ONION: Yellow or white onions–either is fine.

PEPPERS: Green peppers add a certain slightly bitter taste that works with jalapeños. If you don’t have red peppers, use yellow or orange.

FRESH JALAPEÑO PEPPER: Fresh peppers are milder than the pickled type in a jar. I keep them in my freezer at all times. They thaw quickly when you’re ready to use them. Pickled jalapeńos can be substituted but taste as you go to make sure you don’t overdo it.

FRESH GARLIC CLOVES: Garlic powder can be substituted.

DICED TOMATOES: Some people prefer to use whole tomatoes (for better flavor) and squeeze them through their hands or chop them to make smaller pieces.

PINTO BEANS: Substitute black beans or kidney beans if you like.

CANNED BLACK-EYED PEAS: They’re more trouble but fresh or dried black-eyed peas will take the place of canned peas. Both need to be cooked before adding to the soup.

BARBECUE SAUCE: The sweet spiciness of barbecue makes this soup.

What should I serve with this soup?

Serve with chips, cheese, sour cream, saltines, cilantro and/or cornbread. Pretty soon, you won’t even notice you’re eating black-eyed peas.

How to make Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Soup in an Instant Pot:

Using Sauté setting, fry ground beef in Instant Pot.
Stir in onions, celery, and peppers.
Add drained pinto beans and black-eyed peas.
Stir spices into the mixture.
Finally, add barbecue sauce. Stir. Set Instant Pot to High Pressure for 10 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally.

 Black-Eyed Pea Soup in a bowl with spoon
Black-Eyed Pea Soup

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Yield: 8 servings

Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Soup Recipe with Ground Beef

Texas Black-Eyed Pea Soup--in a bowl

A spicy vegetable-beef mixture made heartier with the addition of two types of beans. I use pinto beans and black-eyed peas.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (if needed)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small fresh jalapeño pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15 1/2 ounce) can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 (15 1/2 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce


  1. Season ground beef with salt and pepper. Using the sauté function on your Instant Pot, brown ground beef.
  2. Push beef to the side and add 1 tablespoon of avocado oil if the pot is dry. Add onions, celery, peppers, and jalapeño pepper. Cook until vegetables begin to soften.
  3. Add garlic and cook two more minutes.
  4. Add spices and stir, cooking another minute.
  5. Add beans, tomatoes and water. Finally, add barbecue sauce.
  6. Seal Instant Pot and cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally.
  7. Serve with sour cream and/or shredded cheddar cheese.


Instructions For Making on the Stove:

  1. Sauté the ground beef in a large pot over medium heat. 
  2. Add the onions, celery, and peppers to the pot and cook until veggies begin to soften.
  3. Add garlic and cook two more minutes.
  4. Stir in drained beans, undrained tomatoes and water, then barbecue sauce.
  5. Simmer for 30 minutes.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 158Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 358mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 10g

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