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Auspicious New Beginnings with Black-Eyed Pea Soup!

Photo by Ingrid Beckman

Ask any Southerner how to start the new year in the most auspicious way, and they won’t even blink before naming a bowl of Hoppin’ John or some other version of peas and greens—like this vegetarian Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Collards! Serving such a dish on New Year’s Day is thought to bring good luck because long ago black-eyed peas reminded someone of coins. The greens are said to bring prosperity because greens are associated with green cash. If you enjoy food history, you can read more about this legend at Southern Living  and Epicurious.

My Black-Eyed Pea Soup is filling because of the generous proportion of peas, and it is made even more satisfying by the addition of butternut squash, a favorite winter vegetable. If you serve this soup over rice, like a traditional Hoppin’ John, you will need little (if anything!) else at your New Year’s Day table.

How can you make your New Year’s Day even more auspicious? Let me say that, as much as I’m devoted to food, New Year’s Day always beckons me to go inside in contemplation, to be with my heart in stillness. At the beginning of the new year, my quietude takes on an eager anticipation. What do I want to create on the blank pages of my life during the year ahead? How can I be of most service? What spiritual practices and life activities will continue to expand my heart, helping me to embrace my soul’s purpose?

My husband, Tom, and I will start the year off by chanting and meditating with a group of fellow seekers, followed by a festive and abundant lunch—a joyful way to launch another year as we recall the many blessings in our lives.

Let me take this moment to wish each of you a very happy, fulfilling and healthy year ahead! My wish for the Sacred & Delicious community is for each of you to take some sacred time for yourselves as you begin the new year—and every day thereafter—whether it’s ten minutes or a few hours. Spend some time on your yoga mat or meditation cushion, in a church, temple, or mosque, or perhaps during a long hike in nature—whatever supports your ability to connect to the presence of the Divine in your life. And if you happen to be hosting or participating in a potluck with your extended family or community of friends on New Year’s Day, I invite you to take along this recipe for good fortune: Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Collards!





Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Collards

Preparation Time: About 1 hour, plus soaking time for peas
Serves 5 to 6

3 cups black-eyed peas
4 cups Easy Vegetable Soup Stock
3 cups water
1 fresh bay leaf
6 large or 10 small collard leaves, or other greens
1 large onion
3 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon ground coriander
1 small to medium butternut squash
1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary
1 handful chopped Italian parsley
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 teaspoons Grey Celtic Sea Salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Black pepper, to taste

1. Soak the black-eyed peas in cold water for two hours or longer. Strain and rinse the peas and place them in a pot with the stock, water, and bay leaf. (If you don’t have fresh stock, just use water and add ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric when you add the other ground spices in a later step.) Bring the pot to a boil; then reduce the heat to medium.

2. Clean the collard leaves (or other greens) and chop them into bite-sized pieces. You can chop the extended stems like celery. Add collards to the pot now. If using kale, you can add it after the beans have cooked 30 minutes, or add Swiss chard in the final 10 minutes of cooking time.

3. Chop the onion and sauté it in olive oil on medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions turn uniformly golden. Reduce the heat and continue to cook the onions slowly until they turn lightly brown and caramelized, about another 15 to 20 minutes. At that time add the ground cumin and coriander to the pan for about a minute, stir, and turn off the gas or set the pan aside.

4. Peel the squash and cut it into bite-sized cubes. Add the cubed squash to the pot after the black-eyed peas have cooked about 40 minutes. Once the peas and squash are tender (about 15 minutes more), add the onion mixture and all the other ingredients to the pot. Simmer for another 10 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle, and serve. For hoppin’ john, serve over rice

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