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Dr Leah Romay DDS

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This recipe is decidedly summer and particularly easy. At my local farmer’s market, there’s one stand that sells fresh shucked beans come mid-August. They are incredible. The farmer has huge coolers of different beans, sold by the pound. At different times there will be cranberry, lima, black, butterbean, cow peas, and black eyed peas. Probably there’s others I’m missing. But the beans are just beautiful and people line up, so you definitely have to get to the market early in order to snag a pound or two. 

Before encountering these fresh shelled beans at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market and Bazaar, I never saw anyone selling fresh beans like these. So I definitely didn’t know how to cook them either!  

ingredients to make pasta with black eyed peas and kale

For this recipe, I like to pick out really ripe and red heirloom tomatoes. The one in the picture is a Brandywine. You can use whatever tomatoes you have, but heirlooms are much tastier, despite their often cracked and strange exteriors. Cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes would also be good!

How to cook fresh black eyed peas

It turns out that fresh beans are easier to cook than dried beans. I also think the texture is more tender than dried or canned beans. You also do not need to soak them since they are fresh.

To start, rinse and sort the beans well as there will be debris and pieces of the pods mixed in. Place the beans in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then drop to a low simmer. Set the timer for 25 minutes. After the 25 minutes are up, try one to check the texture. If they are still a little firm, then simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Hot to cook dried black eyed peas

Start with 1/3 cup of dried black eyed peas and place in a bowl. Cover completely with filtered water plus about 2 inches. Allow to sit overnight or about 8 hours. Drain off the soaking liquid. Place the beans in a pot and add water until they are completely covered, plus a little extra. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 45-55 minutes, or until they are tender. Always test a bean or two when the cooking time is close to being done to check on their consistency so they don’t overcook. Also keep an eye on the water level as they are cooking and add more if necessary. 

How to make vegan brown rice pasta with black eyed peas and kale

The method to make this vegan pasta dish is very simple and the trick to making this dish come together in about 15 minutes is the timing. Here’s how I do it: I begin by bringing my pasta water to a boil. While my water is heating up, I chop the garlic, tomatoes and kale. Once all the veggies are prepped, I heat the olive oil in my biggest skillet (12″) and add the garlic. While the garlic is just starting to cook, I put the spaghetti in the water. I use a wild rice pasta (this one here) which takes about 7-10 minutes to cook. I really like this pasta because it has a great nutty flavor and for me, rice is easier to digest than whole wheat. But you can use any type of spaghetti you prefer! Make sure to check the cooking time on your pasta so you can time it out. The sauce will take about 10 minutes to cook.  

So now my pasta is boiling and the garlic has been cooking for about a minute. I add in the tomatoes, keeping the heat medium-low to prevent the degradation of the olive oil. The tomatoes start to break down and make a bright sauce. I let it simmer for about 5 minutes, then add in the kale and pre-cooked black eyed peas along with a splash of bean cooking water and a cup of the pasta cooking water. I let that simmer again for another 4 minutes. By now, the spaghetti timer is close to going off. I double check the doneness of a noodle. If it’s al dente, that’s perfect. I grab the spaghetti from the pot with tongs and throw it into the skillet with the sauce. I like to add some nutritional yeast and stir it all together. If the sauce is too thick, I add a little more pasta water. That is all! Done and ready in about 15 minutes.


I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as Andrey and I do. Andrey says it’s one of his favorites! I love that it features fresh summer produce and comes together quickly for an easy dinner that’s low in effort but high in flavor. Enjoy!!



Dr. Romay

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Black Eyed Pea and Kale Pasta

Makes 2 large servings

Featuring summertime staples of blacked eye peas, kale, and heirloom tomatoes, this gluten-free, plant-based pasta dish comes together in about 15 minutes and uses only a few simple ingredients! 

Author: Leah Romay


  • Brown rice spaghetti
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 c black eyed peas (canned or cooked from dried beans) with 2 T of cooking liquid reserved
  • 2 medium-sized heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cups loosely packed chopped kale
  • 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
  • 2 T nutritional yeast (optional)
  • ½ t salt
  • Basil, to garnish


  1. Heat covered pot of salted water to cook spaghetti over high heat. While water is heating up, chop the garlic, tomato and kale. Once the water is boiling, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 T olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. 
  2. While garlic is cooking, quickly add the pasta to the boiling water and stir to prevent sticking. 
  3. Add the tomatoes to the sautéed garlic and stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes. 
  4. Add black eyed peas and reserved cooking liquid, kale, pasta water, and salt. Gently stir until kale is wilted and sauce is thickened, about 4 min.
  5. By now, the spaghetti should be done cooking. Add it directly to the skillet. Add the nutritional yeast. Fold the sauce into the spaghetti to combine and cook for another 1-2 minutes. 
  6. Remove from heat and serve garnished with fresh basil. 


  • Nutritional yeast can be left out, but it lends a slightly cheesy flavor (as well as B12) to the dish
  • Black eyed peas can be canned, cooked from fresh shucked peas, or from dried peas. See cooking instructions in blog post.
  • Brown rice pasta is available at most grocery stores – it could be in the gluten-free section. It tastes great and is a delicious alternative to wheat pasta to switch things up!

Dr. Leah Romay is a dentist passionate about health and wellness and believes that health is possible for everyone. She’s been in the kitchen cooking from scratch for most of her life and greatly enjoys creating healthy and delicious recipes. In addition to practicing dentistry full time, she spends her free time developing recipes, reading scientific studies, and helping others live their healthiest lives through evidence-based lifestyle and diet. Read more about Dr. Romay and her story here.

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