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Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens Soup (Vegan)

This vegan Instant Pot black eyed peas and collard greens soup is a delicious and easy meatless version of the classic Southern New Year’s Day favorite. Made with dry unsoaked black eyed peas, it has a rich, savory flavor elevated by heartwarming spices like chili powder and smoked paprika.

This easy vegetarian soup recipe features simple ingredients, is naturally gluten free, soy free, plant based, low fat, and has an oil-free option. Instant Pot and Stovetop instructions included below.

New Year's black eyed peas and collard greens soup recipe

I’ve been following the Southern tradition of eating black eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day for many years.

In case you don’t know what this tradition is all about: in the American South, people believe that eating collards and black eyed peas on the first day of the year will bring you good fortune and prosperity in the coming year.

I’ve written about this custom in more detail in a post with my smoky vegan Instant Pot black-eyed peas recipe.

The idea is, black eyed peas symbolize coins, and collard greens stand for dollar bills. The more you load up on these foods on January 1st, the more prosperity and good luck will come your way in the new year!

I love my recipes for Instant Pot smoky vegan black-eyed peas and Southern-style slow cooker collard greens, but the truth is, I usually feel kind of lazy on New Year’s Day to cook a bunch of food.

This is why I came up with today’s vegan black eyed pea and collard greens soup recipe: it’s a one-pot wonder that’s not only delicious and filling – it’s also super easy to make in the Instant Pot!

Better yet, I’m using dry UNSOAKED black eyed peas, so there’s no need to plan ahead with pre-soaking the beans hours in advance.

If you want to make them with PRE-SOAKED beans, check out my pressure cooking tips here.

No pressure cooker? No problem: I’ve included stovetop directions over here.

See a web story for this recipe over here.

Ingredients of Vegan Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens Soup

Dry black eyed peas. I chose dry, unsoaked black eyed peas because they are the cheapest (compared to canned black eyed peas) and easiest (no need for pre-soaking!) to use.

If you decide to make this soup on stovetop, I do recommend pre-soaking the beans first – this will reduce cooking time quite a bit. See more info on pre-soaking vs. not soaking black eyed peas in this black-eyed pea soup below.

Chopped yellow onion, celery, and green bell pepper. This is the traditional “Holy Trinity” of vegetable aromatics in Southern (especially Louisiana-style) cooking. Sauté them first to build rich, complex flavors that’ll greatly enhance the broth.

Minced garlic. This sidekick to the “Holy Trinity” takes the flavor and aroma to the next level.

Canned fire roasted tomatoes. Any canned diced tomatoes will do, but the fire-roasted kind will add an extra flavor boost to the soup.

Vegetable broth or water. Use store-bought low-sodium vegetable broth, or make your own homemade veggie broth. If you don’t have any, feel free to use water.

If you’ve got some Better Than Bouillon Roasted Vegetable Base on hand AND if gluten isn’t a concern, try using it in this recipe. Just make sure to omit salt as Better Than Bouillon is quite salty on its own.

Regarding gluten: officially Better Than Bouillon doesn’t contain gluten. But according to its manufacturer, it’s made in a facility that processes other products with gluten, so there’s always a potential for cross-contamination.

So if you’re strict gluten-free, you’ll be better off skipping it.

Chopped collard greens. The king of Southern green vegetables. Collards cook pretty quickly, so you only need to add them in the last two minutes of cooking.

If you don’t like collard greens like my husband does, feel free to substitute them with kale. Both with kale and collards, you need to cut out the thick central stem first, and then chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

I love adding leafy greens like kale or spinach to my soups: check out my recipes for vegan Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana, vegan mushroom-barley soup with spinach (Instant Pot + stovetop), vegan minestrone soup with kale (stovetop), and vegan Instant Pot lentil spinach soup.

Cubed sweet potato (optional). I know that black eyed peas and collard green recipes don’t usually include sweet potatoes.

But when I was testing this recipe, sweet potatoes kept calling my name, so I decided to add them – and totally loved it!

Sweet potatoes add a delicious, slightly sweet flavor to the broth, plus they make the soup look truly festive. I highly recommend using them in this soup.

But if you decide to skip sweet potatoes: after you release the pressure and bring the soup back to a simmer, mix in the chopped collards, cook them for 2 minutes, and you’re all done.

Vegan collard greens and black eyed peas soup with sweet potatoes

Spices: dried thyme, oregano, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, dash cayenne pepper. I use these spices in various combinations in a lot of my soups.

In this particular case, smoked paprika and chili powder are the true stars of the show. They make a great meatless stand-in for the traditionally used ham hock or bacon, helping achieve that delicious, smoky depth of flavor without adding fat or cholesterol.

(No animals are harmed either!)

Liquid smoke (optional but recommended). In combination with smoked paprika, liquid smoke helps the smoky flavor of this soup develop even better. A little bit goes a long way – I use just 1/2 teaspoon for a large pot of this soup.

Salt, ground black pepper. Use these to taste. If you’re using Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base, omit the salt to avoid the soup becoming too salty.

High-heat oil OR more veggie broth/water, as needed for sautéing vegetables. To sauté the “Holy Trinity” vegetables in the beginning, I use high heat-tolerant avocado oil. If you avoid oil in your diet (for whole food plant-based diet), use water/veggie broth instead of oil.

Louisiana-style hot sauce OR lemon wedges (to serve at the table). I love the kick of heat from hot sauce like Tabasco or Chrystal in my bowl of these vegan black eyed peas and collards. In addition to the spiciness, Louisiana-style hot sauce adds a nice tanginess that brightens up the flavors of this soup.

However, my husband and daughter prefer a milder taste, so I squeeze some lemon juice into their bowls instead. Just as tangy without the added heat.

Watch me make this soup in this video on my YouTube channel:

Do I Need to Pre-soak Black Eyed Peas in This Recipe?

Nope! I actually recommend using dry, unsoaked black eyed peas straight out of the bag. The cooking times in the recipe card below reflect cooking unsoaked beans.

If you DO want to pre-soak your black eyed peas, you’ll need to cut down the pressure cooking time by a few minutes.

Be careful as pre-soaked black eyed peas cook very quickly, so they can get mushy quite easily.

Pressure Cooking Times for Black Eyed Peas

Cooking with unsoaked black eyed peas: 15 min high pressure + 10 min natural release

Cooking with pre-soaked black eyed peas: 4-5 min high pressure + 10 min natural release

If you choose to make this collard greens and black eyed pea recipe on stove top, I recommend pre-soaking them as it will help them cook mush quicker.

Keep in mind that the acidity of tomatoes will slow down the time it takes for the beans to soften. It doesn’t make a huge difference when pressure cooking, but it will most definitely affect the stovetop cooking time.

For this reason, I recommend adding diced tomatoes later in the cooking process when making this recipe on stovetop.

Instead of adding them at the same time as the beans and the spices, add them AFTER the black eyed peas have softened, and cook the soup for an additional 5 minutes before adding sweet potatoes.

Stovetop Cooking Times for Black Eyed Peas

Cooking with unsoaked black eyed peas: 25 min, then add tomatoes

Cooking with pre-soaked black eyed peas: 60-70 min, then add tomatoes

Vegan Instant Pot black eyed peas and collard greens soup

How to Add a Smoky Flavor to Meatless Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens

If you’re making a black eyed peas and collard green soup without meat, the easiest way to enhance them with traditional smoky, “meaty” flavor is by adding smoked paprika and liquid smoke.

How much of each to add? It depends on your flavor preferences.

Smoked paprika. I don’t believe it’s possible to ruin this soup by adding too much smoked paprika. The smoky flavor of paprika may seem strong, but it gets less pronounced as it’s mixed with the soup.

If in doubt, start with 1 tablespoon, taste the soup, and add more if you like.

Liquid smoke. Unlike smoked paprika, it is very much possible to ruin this recipe by adding too much liquid smoke.

The smoky flavor is very concentrated, and if too much liquid smoke is added, it can really overpower the taste of the soup.

I rarely recommend using more than 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke per recipe.

How to Make Vegan Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens IN THE INSTANT POT (Pre-Soaked OR Unsoaked Beans)

(Find ingredient amounts in the printable recipe card below.)

Press SAUTE button on your Instant Pot. Add 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil (or 2-3 Tbsp veggie broth/water for oil-free).

Once hot, sauté chopped onions, green bell pepper, celery, and garlic until fragrant and soft, about 3 min.

While the vegetables are cooking, rinse dry black-eyed peas with cold water, and pick out debris, misshapen beans, etc.

Add them to the Instant Pot along with all the spices (dried thyme, oregano, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper), salt, pepper, fire-roasted tomatoes, and 4 cups of vegetable stock / water.

Press CANCEL button on your Instant Pot. Lock the lid in place, making sure that the vent lever is set to pressure.

Press the PRESSURE COOK button (or MANUAL on some pressure cooker models), and set the timer – 15 min for unsoaked beans, 4 minutes for pre-soaked. It will take 10-12 min for your Instant Pot to reach high pressure.

While you’re waiting, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Rinse collard greens, remove tough stems, and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Peel and chop the sweet potato (if using).

Once the pressure cooking time is up and your Instant Pot beeps, follow 10-minute natural pressure release opening method: let the timer reach 10 minutes, then press CANCEL and carefully release the steam (depending on your Instant Pot model, you’ll either need to turn the pressure knob into venting position, or press the button next to the vent).

Open the lid and stir the soup.

Add 3 more cups of veggie broth/water. Press SAUTE button and bring the soup to a simmer.

If making the soup with a sweet potato: add the cubed sweet potato into the soup, and simmer for 5-7 min, or until the potato cubes are fork-tender but still hold their shape. Stir in chopped collard greens, simmer for 1-2 min.

IF NOT using a sweet potato: once the soup starts simmering, stir in the collard greens, and cook for 1-2 min.

Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning (I added more smoked paprika and salt). If using liquid smoke, stir it in at this time.

Press CANCEL. Let the soup rest for 10-15 min, then serve with Louisiana-style hot sauce and/or lemon wedges at the table.

New Years black eyed peas and collard greens soup

How to Make Vegan Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens Soup ON STOVETOP (Pre-Soaked OR Unsoaked Beans)

(Please note that the cooking steps of the stovetop version slightly differ from the Instant Pot version. See full ingredients list + ingredient amounts in the recipe card below.)

If making the soup with PRE-SOAKED black eyed peas: soak dry black eyed peas in cold fresh water overnight, or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse before adding to the soup.

In a large heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté chopped onions, green bell pepper, celery, and garlic until fragrant and soft, about 3 min.

Rinse black-eyed peas with cold water, and pick out debris, misshapen beans, etc. Add them to the pot along with all the spices (dried thyme, oregano, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper), salt*, pepper, and 7 cups of vegetable stock* / water.

Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 25 min for pre-soaked black eyed peas, 60-70 min for unsoaked.

In the meantime, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Rinse collard greens, remove tough stems, and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Peel and chop the sweet potato (if using).

Once the beans soften, add in fire roasted diced tomatoes and more water / vegetable broth if the soup looks too thick. Bring back to a simmer.

If making the soup with a sweet potato: add the cubed sweet potato, and simmer for 6-8 min, or until the potato cubes are fork-tender but still hold their shape. Stir in chopped collard greens, simmer for 1-2 min.

IF NOT using a sweet potato: once the soup starts simmering, stir in the collard greens, and cook for 1-2 min.

Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. If using liquid smoke, stir it in at this time. Let the soup rest for 10-15 min, then serve with Louisiana-style hot sauce and/or lemon wedges at the table.

Vegan black eyed peas and collard greens soup Instant Pot or stovetop

More Southern-style Comfort Foods from the Blog

Vegan Instant Pot Jambalaya (Pressure Cooker or Stovetop)

Easy Vegan Fried Green Tomatoes (Stovetop or Air Fryer)

Easy Vegan Baked BBQ Tofu Sandwich

Vegan Collard Wraps with Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes

BBQ Seitan + Homemade BBQ Sauce

Yield: 10 servings

Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens Soup (Vegan)

Instant Pot black eyed peas and collard greens soup whole food plant based recipe

This heartwarming vegan black eyed peas and collard greens soup in the Instant Pot makes a perfect one-pot meal to enjoy on New Year's Day or any other day of the year. Can be made with unsoaked or pre-soaked black eyed peas. Instant Pot cooking instructions listed below; stovetop instructions can be found in the blog post above. Gluten free, soy free, plant based, low fat recipe, with oil-free option.

Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Additional Time 11 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup dry black eyed peas, unsoaked
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder (mild or medium)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Salt, black pepper to taste
  • 1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 7 cups water / vegetable stock (comes out great with Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base*)
  • Large bunch collard greens, rinsed, stems removed
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed into 1-inch pieces (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • Avocado oil/additional veggie broth or water, as needed for cooking
  • Louisiana-style hot sauce OR lemon wedges, to serve

Instructions

    1. Press SAUTE button on your Instant Pot. Add 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil (or 2-3 Tbsp veggie broth/water for oil-free). Once hot, sauté chopped onions, green bell pepper, celery, and garlic until soft, about 3 min.
    2. While the vegetables are cooking, rinse dry black-eyed peas with cold water, and pick out debris, misshapen beans, etc. Add them to the Instant Pot along with dried thyme, oregano, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt*, pepper, fire-roasted tomatoes, and 4 cups of vegetable stock* / water.
    3. Press CANCEL. Lock the lid in place, making sure that the vent lever is set to pressure. Press the PRESSURE COOK button (or MANUAL on some pressure cooker models), and set the timer** for 15 min. It will take 10-12 min for your Instant Pot to reach high pressure.
    4. While you're waiting, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Rinse collard greens, remove tough stems, and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Peel and chop the sweet potato (if using).
    5. Once the pressure cooking time is up and your Instant Pot beeps, follow 10-minute natural pressure release opening method: let the timer reach 10 minutes, then press CANCEL and carefully release the steam (depending on your Instant Pot model, you'll either need to turn the pressure knob into venting position, or press the button next to the vent). Open the lid and stir the soup.
    6. Add 3 more cups of veggie broth/water. Press SAUTE button and bring the soup to a simmer.
    7. IF MAKING THE SOUP WITH A SWEET POTATO: add the cubed sweet potato into the soup, and simmer for 5-7 min, or until the potato cubes are fork-tender but still hold their shape. Stir in chopped collard greens, simmer for 1-2 min.
    8. IF NOT USING A SWEET POTATO: once the soup starts simmering, stir in the collard greens, and cook for 1-2 min.
    9. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning (I usually add more smoked paprika and salt). If using liquid smoke, stir it in at this time. Press CANCEL. Let the soup rest for 10-15 min, then serve with Louisiana-style hot sauce and/or lemon wedges at the table.

    Notes

    *If using veggie stock made with Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base, skip adding salt to avoid making the soup too salty.

    **If making this recipe with soaked black-eyed peas: set the timer to 4 minutes, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

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    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    10

    Serving Size:

    1 bowl

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 157Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 1mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 9g

    Please note that the provided nutritional information data is approximate.

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    author avatar
    Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats
    Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Eventually she embraced veganism as a way to be kinder to fellow living beings and the environment. Alina hopes that this blog helps its readers on their path to becoming vegan and making this world a better place.

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