Vegan Dirty Rice & Black-Eyed Peas
4.53 from 19 votes
Vegan Dirty Rice & Black-Eyed Peas | The Full Helping

Black-eyed peas are thought to be a lucky new year food in the South, and I’ve always enjoyed cooking with them at this time of year, as late December gives way to January. In the past few years, though, I’ve branched out and started to rely on them as an everyday staple legume. I love their subtly nutty flavor and aroma (I especially love using them in this dish, which includes the slightly surprising addition of peanut butter).

This easy side dish of vegan dirty rice & black-eyed peas happens to have come together right before New Year’s Eve, but I have a feeling I’ll be making it year round. It’s a flavorful, fast, and versatile base for simple dinners, burritos, and more. When I made it a few days ago, I served it with steamed collards, which are another good luck food in the Southern tradition. But I’m keen to try it with other greens, steamed or braised, and tonight I plan to top the leftovers with some of my vegan chick’n style soy curls.

Traditional dirty rice, from what I understand, usually starts with bacon or pork and includes celery, onion, green pepper, and cajun spices (paprika, thyme, pepper). I’m not sure how authentic this version is, but I tried to channel all of those flavors, and I used vegan bacon to add smoky flavor and flecks of texture throughout the rice. My favorite vegan bacon right now is Sweet Earth’s, but you could use a homemade tempeh bacon, eggplant bacon, coconut bacon, or a brand name that you love.

White rice is standard in the dish, but either white or brown long grain rice will work nicely in the dish. You’ll simply need to set aside a bit of extra cooking time if you choose brown instead of white. Vegan chicken style bouillon is a nice addition for saltiness, and I keep cubes in my pantry for when I don’t have stock on hand (also, to make those chick’n style soy curls). If you don’t have it, simply omit it from the recipe, adding salt in its place: the other seasonings add plenty of flavor as it is.

Vegan Dirty Rice & Black-Eyed Peas | The Full Helping

4.53 from 19 votes

Vegan Dirty Rice & Black-Eyed Peas

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 batch crispy tempeh bacon (substitute 4-6 slices store-bought vegan bacon of choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced minced
  • 1 cup long-grain white or brown rice (180g)
  • 2 3/4 cups water (650ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (240g, or one 15-ounce / 425g can, drained and rinsed)
  • Optional: steamed collard green ribbons, broccoli florets, or another cooked leafy green vegetable, as an accompaniment for the rice


  • Chop the tempeh bacon (or your favorite store-bought vegan bacon) into small pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, and bacon. Sauté for 7-8 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring often, or until the garlic is fragrant. If the mixture starts to stick, add a few tablespoons of water along the way.
  • Add the rice, water, both paprikas, thyme, salt, and both types of pepper to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes for white rice or 35-40 minutes for brown rice, until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Remove the rice from heat and allow it to sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the black-eyed peas, then taste the rice and adjust the salt and pepper as desired. Serve with steamed greens and other accompaniments of choice.


*You can use water to sauté the vegetables if you prefer a no-oil option.
Vegan Dirty Rice & Black-Eyed Peas | The Full Helping

Yum—I love all of the smoky flavor here! If you’re near the end of a batch of leftovers, you could try using the last of the rice and peas in a stir fry, adding whatever vegetables you’re keen to use up as well. That’s likely what I’ll be up to tomorrow and on Sunday, as 2018 rolls in.

I’ll be back around in a couple of days for weekend reading, but if I don’t catch you then, I’m sending out warm and loving wishes now for a fulfilling, healthful, and peaceful new year. See you soon.


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Categories: Recipes, Grains, Greens, and Beans
Method: One Pot, One Skillet, Stovetop
Ingredients: Rice
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, No Oil, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    I have made this both with rice and with cauliflower rice and it is delicious both ways. It tastes like comfort food even though it’s healthy. I do add extra cajun seasoning because we like it spicier.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this with sweet Earths bacon…added seasoned salt, adobo and liquid smoke. My family ate the whole pot! I served with vegan cornbread 🙂 tasty

  3. 3 stars
    Very nice one ..I liked it ! This is very good combination and looks very delicious and light.. thankyou for sharing this.

  4. Dear Gena, thank you for sharing this recipe. I made it tonight and it was really delicious. I used spring greens (I’m in the UK and can never seem to find collard greens, but I think the two are close cousins at least!). Thank you again.

    • So glad you enjoyed, Pippa! And many types of greens could certainly work here, so it’s great that you used what was available locally 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    This sounds delicious and easy. I just need to calculate the sodium amount in it. I may have to cut back on some stuff, but I’m used to it!

  6. This looks healthy and yummy 😛
    For the rice, is it okay if I used the cooked rice then add the seasonings?
    It’s like I often have rice after every meal, I want to use them to do something in a quick way, normally fried-rice.

  7. 5 stars
    I was just looking for a rice and bean recipe and woilah!
    Making me some Mexican type pulled seitan, this with some roast veg will work a treat.
    Thank you.

  8. 3 stars
    Very nice, I love dirty rice! Have you tried it as just a side or main course? Also, are you a fan of vegan meat? If so, have you ever tried adding it to the dish?

    • With a vegetable side, it’s a great main course, but it can be a side, too. I love vegan meats, but I haven’t tried adding them. I bet they’d be a lovely addition.

  9. 5 stars
    Made this to celebrate the new year. I omitted the vegan bacon and green pepper but otherwise followed the recipe. It was so delicious and I would definitely make it again. I ate it with collard greens!

  10. 5 stars
    yep, love these legumes too, have been on a slow carb thing that requires legumes and quickly realized that my old black bean go to is just not as good as I thought so I’ve branched out into pintos and these too, and yes why not wrap in some good luck with the nutritional value, so thank you for this and really like the greens too, another of the three types of slow carb foods, bacon rounds it out nicely as a third component, nice recipe!

  11. I absolutely LOVE this idea of using black-eyed peas in dirty rice. This looks unbelievably delicious and good for you! Thank you for sharing. It’s going on our menu plan ASAP!