Sunday Dinner: Black-eyed peas and walnut lettuce wraps

Jan 1, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. ET

Ready for a prosperous year ahead? Don't take chances and break from tradition. Serve black-eyed peas and walnut lettuce wraps for a fun, festive and healthy holiday dish!

Bowl of black eyed peas

In case you didn't know, serving black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is a tradition that is said to help usher in luck and prosperity in the year ahead. This is a Southern tradition, but one that has spread far and wide. Often served with greens and cornbread, black-eyed peas are tasty served just about any way you'd like!

Take this time to sit and enjoy dinner with family and friends. This could be a great way to start the New Year off right -- family dinner time! Earlier this year, Anderson Cooper started the "Anderson" Family Dinner Challenge where he committed to spending at least one dinner a week, cooking and eating with family and friends. He encouraged families around the country to participate, too. The ground rules:

  1. No one can be late
  2. No TV or cell phones
  3. Everyone has to try everything served
  4. Every night during dinner, play one game

Why not give it a try with your family, too. Whether or not you follow Anderson Cooper's rules, the idea is simply to spend time together over dinner.

This black-eyed pea recipe is a healthy, traditional option for a New Year's Day meal, and a good start to a few resolutions for the year ahead!

Black-eyed peas and walnut lettuce wraps recipe

Recipe adapted from California Walnuts.

Serves 6-8


  • 2 cups frozen black-eyed peas
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 an orange or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 6 ounces butternut squash, cut in 1/2-inch dices (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons prepared hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 leaves iceberg lettuce or butter lettuce


  1. Use a medium-sized saucepan and add the black-eyed peas and water, bringing it to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat and simmer it for about 30 minutes. Leave the cover on the pan. Cook until the black-eyed peas are tender. Drain the black-eyed peas of any leftover water and then transfer them to a large bowl and set them aside.
  2. Add the olive oil to a skillet. Once hot (over medium-high heat), add the onion, bell pepper, butternut squash and saute the mixture for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic toward the end of your cooking time. Stir the mixture often while cooking. Reduce the heat to a low temperature. Keep the skillet covered and cook for approximately another 5 minutes. Add the walnuts to the mixture.
  3. Add the black-eyed peas mixture along with the vinegar, hot sauce and cilantro. Toss everything well to combine. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When you're ready to serve, add the mixture to individual lettuce leaves. Fold the leaves in half and eat them like you would a taco.

Start the year off on the right foot! Here's to good food, good times and a good year ahead!

More Sunday dinner recipes to try

Back to basics with meatballs and pasta
Creamy chicken and wild rice casserole
Shrimp po' boy sandwiches
Orange-glazed tilapia