Black Eyed Pea Hummus

I wanted to run today. I wanted to run so badly. Run in sneakers. Not my usual bi-seasonal existential crisis sort of run. I mean, like, jogging. Pavement pounding, lung burning run. I wanted to listen to arguably lousy, inspirational pop music. And run. I wanted to run off my anxiety. Run off my fear. I wanted to feel strong. I wanted to build the fibers that my feeble frame is stitched of. I felt, sitting at that stop light, so determined. So fragile and invincible at the same time. I was jangling. And then it hit me I want to run off my…anger?! This came as a surprise. I’m not usually any more of an angry person than I am a runner. I see anger, as a general rule, as a middle man emotion. Might as well just skip to being hurt & afraid and get on with it. Anger always seemed a little cowardly to me—but maybe that’s because I’m a coward and anger scares me. Either way, I have a strong distaste for the stuff. But every now and then in my life I’ve found it very cathartic, dare I say healthy, to just get angry. Usually that’s when there’s no recourse, when it’s a situation where talking it out isn’t an option. Like if the person has passed away, or you’re completely estranged. Sometimes to say, if in front of no one other than myself or a trusted friend, this is not ok & they can seriously…insert various wildly creative expletives here is the first step to wanting to want to forgive.

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

So, in a fit of fierceness & fed-upness, I thought I’d take up running. But in the end I made you not-hummus-hummus instead. Bean dip. Not so fierce. And bean dip doesn’t sound very nice does it? Can we make up a word for the southern equivalent of hummus? Something exotic. I got nothing, guys. Nothing. But maybe tomorrow I’ll run. After my big plans at least, which involve making two different red velvet cakes, basically the antithesis of running. Well, considering so many of my meditations, my prayers, involve wanting to want and willing to will…finding the desire inside me was more than half the battle. Wanting to want health & healing is, interestingly, so often the hard part. Once you want it, you just run with it. Inspirational pun intended. Sorry.

Also, this isn’t hummus. I know. Words mean things. And hummus means, at the very least, that it involves garbanzo beans & tahini. This black-eyed pea dip decidedly does not. This is hummus inspired, a Tennesseean translation. Or bastardization. What have you. Tangy and smoky thanks to a hit of apple cider vinegar and sweet smoked paprika, it gets its sweet, earthy complexity from fresh ground peanuts (a nod to the tahini), a glug of good olive oil, and a drizzle of local, raw honey. Being a purist, I would have, if I had a stove (which I still do not…), cooked dried black-eyed peas with some mirepoix, a bouquet garni, and ham hock. I imagine properly simmered beans would make this recipe even better. That said, I used canned beans, and it was fantastic.  Initially there was no honey, and while perfectly serviceable and delicious without it, it seemed flat.

Which brings me to one of my favorite points to make about seasoning: salt isn’t the end all be all. I use a holy trinity of flavors in almost everything I make: salty, acidic, and sweet. The medium for these flavors varies. Sometimes I use fish sauce instead of salt. Sometimes I use sugar others honey others agave. For acid, it ranges from citrus to various vinegars. When I cook I imagine every dish has these three knobs. And I tweak them ever so slightly. I don’t necessarily want my savory dishes to taste sweet—I just want that baseline of warmth that a subtle dash of sugar can provide, to bring out the earthy sweetness in the black-eyed peas, paprika, and peanuts in this instance. That is what I mean when I say “to taste”. Slowly but surely turning the volume up on this that or the other so that everything tastes more like what it is. When you reach perfect pitch, you’ll know. Because you’ll go from like to love. That’s one of the backbones of how I cook. Taste and tune. Balance

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

If I’d had that oven I keep lamenting not having yet, I would have made you some homemade pita to go along with this. But as it stood all I had around was a bedraggled bulb of fennel. Which, as it turns out, made for excellent dipping. I plan to serve this with seed flat bread and pickled fennel & celery root at an event that I’m helping put on with Ruthie Lindsey and Christian of 1924 & Travis of Manready MercantileAn Evening With Kindreds, later this month. It’s just gonna be a bunch of what it sounds like, kindred spirits, makers & artists getting together to be together in Nashville, TN. And there will be a lot of southern fare from scratch if I have anything to say about it. Which I happily do! So this was recipe test number one for the event, and I’m so pleased with it—I get immense inspiration from translating global dishes into regional ingredients. The peanut butter and black eyed peas and apple cider vinegar…it almost sounds illogical. Yet it makes so much sense.

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Black Eyed "Hummus"

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1.5 cups dip

This is an incredibly simple recipe. It's best, however, if you cook the beans the old fashioned way, dried beans simmered in water with mirepoix, bouquet garni, a hearty pinch of salt or two, and some ham hock. A dash of hot sauce in the water never hurt anything.


  • 15 oz cooked black eyed peas (rinsed & drained if canned)
  • 2 T fresh ground peanut butter
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp raw local honey
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 1/2-1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 lemon's worth of juice
  • 2-3 tsp apple cider vinegar to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons minced chives


  1. Mix everything in a food processor (I use my mini). You can use a blender but that takes a little more tenacity to get it completely smooth. At least in my lousy blender. Start on the lower end with 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp honey, and 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar. Whir until completely smooth. Taste. Adjust acid, sweetness, and salt as desired. Stir in any additions if you like. Whir one more time. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of smoked paprika, and minced chives. Enjoy with everything from pickled veg to crudité to flat bread to homemade pita chips. I love it with raw fennel!


If you're cooking the bean, which I recommend, it takes about an hour.

46 Responses to Black Eyed Pea “Hummus”

  1. Kezia says:

    I sometimes have to urge to run, but I always forget that actually I can’t run for more than a few minutes without feeling painfully out of breath! I love the passage you wrote about how you season food – the more I cook and learn about cooking the more I realise how crucial it is to get all those elements in harmony. The “hummus” looks delicious – just the kind of thing to serve at a party or buffet as an alternative to normal hummus!

  2. This is such an awesome recipe, Beth! Making “hummus” out of beans totally makes sense. I’m sure your hummus would be incredible served with homemade pita! I, however, would totally enjoy it with my homemade seed crispbread as I still have some sitting on my countertop :)

  3. Jenny says:

    This looks totally wonderful and your WORDS are delicious! The balance between salty/acidic/sweet makes perfect sense. I will have to make this ‘hummus’. Also, I like to run…but, lately it takes every bit of energy to simply walk(slip slide navigate) thru the snow to the barn where critters are waiting. Happy weekend!

  4. Vicky says:

    OH! this recipe is wonderful! the photography lovely like always! have a nice weekend!

  5. Looks and sounds delicious! Enjoy your weekend

  6. I honestly don’t think there are many fancy words for hummus. “Dip” sounds so horrible. When I was studying in the UK, even the least fancy words were turned exotic and beautiful with my friends’ British accents haha. On the recipe front, I love how you added peanut butter, I was curious how you would get the nuttiness you get from tahini and chickpea from an actual hummus. Most white bean dips lack that and it becomes too simple in my opinion. Thanks for sharing!

    • beth says:

      Dip is, agreed, the worst. It just reminds me of chewing tobacco. It’s true though, a fine accent can turn just about anything around. And the peanut butter (just fresh ground peanuts, not the processed kind with hellah sugar) really does give it that complexity. I’d still like to try this recipe with tahini though. Tahini is soo good.

  7. Suzanne says:

    You described that wanting to run, feeling so well. I did run for about 3 years, until my poor feet started to suffer. It helped with anger, sadness and depression.
    Thanks for you lovely thought, feeling and recipes. Phew hit me good!

  8. Margherita says:

    When someone put together the sentence ” I want to run” my mind immediately goes to the movie “Forrest Gump”. He never stopped to prepare an hummus. I love your Tennesseean translation or bastardization of the hummus… a good reason to do not run.
    There’s a time for everything.

  9. Rona Roberts says:

    Peamus or Peammus? Running Jenny? Tennepea Dipper? Lovely in any case, and artful stand for good food without a stove.

    • beth says:

      Hmmmm….jury’s out on those! Hahaha. I’m *still* stoveless…so I’m thinking a farm cheesecake in a pecan meal and biscoff crust tart is up next. No bake! Lord I miss my stove…any chance you’ll be at the southern food writer’s conference in Knoxville this May?

  10. Love your twist on this classic – peanut butter, in hummus!? That’s just kind of awesome.
    Always a distant admirer of your work, words and photos, but thought I would just comment on how lovely your new setup looks, super gorgeous!

  11. Hellyweg says:

    How about Black Eyed Ganoush? Also, I’ve never heard of chickpeas called ‘garbanzo beans’ in my life. The things you learn on the internet.

  12. Gorgeous photos, and beautiful recipe. As always.

  13. Vee says:

    A delicious recipe with great combo flavours going along with a beautiful story! Thank u for sharing!

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  15. Rebecca says:

    This Southern “hummus” sounds so lovely!
    I started running as an outlet for anger many years ago in my teenage years, and haven’t stopped since (I ran out of anger a while back though). If you do take it up, watch out, it can be addicting! :)

  16. cheri says:

    Beautiful pics and story! Love your site!

  17. Trisha says:

    I just found your blog through Top with Cinnamon. SO beautiful. really lovely photos. Makes hummus look really easy, might consider actually trying it now x

  18. SolitaryRollmop says:

    I’m very angry today but have no time to soothe myself with cooking.

    Do you have any suggestions about other possible additions besides peanut butter? Sadly I can’t eat nuts.

  19. Your writing is so inspiring that now I want to go for a run. You are so talented…recipe development, photography, and writing. Thank you for brightening my day. I hope to find a book from you soon.

  20. Fantastic all around. As a transplant to the south I am always looking for ways to use “peas” other than sautéed in bacon. Gorgeous as always! Cheers!

  21. susan says:

    I am going to try making this! I am a beginner beginner when it comes to cooking… but I do know how to run. : )

    If I may, one thing you might try with running, is to focus on how you feel when you are actually doing it. Step by step. Often, people think about their goal – how they want to get in shape, or how far and where they want to end up. This grand vision. Without realizing it, every time I tried or thought of running, that was what I was constructing.

    Then it occurred to simply think about my body, or nothing at all while I was running. Just be in motion. Do what my body was designed for. Distance or accomplishment or a grand vision of an amazing physique kind of faded, and I was left, just, well, running. It was good!

    Now, strangely, it’s actually a treat to run.

  22. Nuno Lobato says:

    this recipe sounds so good!!
    I think will be nice as tapas for dinner and I never tried black eyed peas like this.
    must do it as soon as possible :)

  23. Emma says:

    Smashing recipe and absolutely stunning photography. I think I might be in love with your blog.

  24. Tayler says:

    Hi Beth,
    I absolutely love reading your posts, and your photos are stunning. Quite the inspiration. Thank you!

  25. Oooo this sounds and looks delicious!!

  26. Karen K says:

    How about Smokey Beans à Tartiner (French for spread, as in fromage à tartiner)? Heck for that matter, it could be légume à tartiner. This recipe sounds amazing. Sounds like a really good excuse to try Black Eyed Peas for the first time. (Yes, I was first a Midwestern girl, now a Northern girl. But I did once write a story in grade school about a mouse who was allergic to black-eyed peas. Not sure where that came from.)

  27. […] Black-eyed pea hummus. (via The Kitchn) […]

  28. UM YUM! This looks superb..I can’t wait to try.

    xo Elizabeth

  29. […] Source: […]

  30. Very very tasty and healthy recipe.I Will definitely made it again and use it for special occasions.

  31. Shannon says:

    Oh you are a girl after my own heart! I looked up a billion (well, 3) black-eyed pea hummus recipes and they all used tahini. Don’t get me wrong, I love tahini, but I thought, no, peanut butter is what we want for our BEP hummus. Thanks for your recipe and may your 2015 be amazing!

  32. Laurie says:

    Hi Beth,
    I found you through Lady and Pups. Love your musings and recipes. I’m currently estranged from my sister. I just finished a typed twelve page letter to her. Talk about anger! !
    I believe that may be why I cook. It soothes me and gets my mind off of the hamster wheel.
    Thanks – will be cooking tonight.

  33. […] Dipping Sauce – at Ambitious Kitchen Baked White Cheddar + Leek Dip – at Simply Scratch Buffalo Chicken Dip – at Damn Delicious Caponata – at Italian Chef Caramelized Onion Dip – at A Spicy […]

  34. Betsy says:

    I have been making this hummus for myself for lunch for months now and don’t seem to tire of it! I enjoy your beautiful words and photos so much. Thank you.

  35. Courtney says:


    Curious, when making the peas with the mirepoix, do you blend those as well? Seeems like it would be tough to separate the carrots, onion, and celery out.

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