Almost as soon as you turn twenty six everyone you know decides to get married.

And they do it without even a care in the world or an ounce of concern for your checking account.  All in one summer.

How rude!?


So while they are busy deciding whether lilies or tulips go better with their off-white tablecloths and where exactly their “something blue” is going to come from…

…you are busy figuring out how you’re going to obtain a disposable income large enough to accommodate five weddings – all out of state, mind you – without getting scurvy.


Pretty much as soon as December hit and I realized that we had received FIVE save-the-dates, I took some emergency actions. The first of which was to sign up for Rancho Gordo’s year of beans.

Because if there’s any protein source that gives you the ultimate bang for your buck, it’s the almighty legume. (And also…the thought of getting a package full of six pounds of beans every three months kind of makes me giddy.  Please tell me I’m not alone in this.)


Anyway, now that I have this steady supply of beans I am always looking for new ways to use them up, so when I was asked to review The Great Vegan Bean Book, a new cookbook by Kathy Hester and photographed by Renee Comet, AND to take part in their Great Vegan Bean Blog Tour…I was

The recipe I chose to make was for cajun-spiced black eyed peas served atop creamy dreamy vegan grit cakes. Yep, they are pretty much as delicious as they sound.  The beans have the perfect amount of spice to get your taste buds all excited but not so much that you’re crying into your bowl from the heat. And what is there not to love about grit cakes? Correct answer – nothing.

You’ll notice that I didn’t exactly use black-eyed peas, but I actually couldn’t find any that weren’t canned, so I just decided to use a bean variety that I had on hand – red nightfall beans.  I also added in some summer squash because, well, tis the season. Even with my modifications, this was a craveworthy dinner and I couldn’t wait to have the leftovers the next day!

If you’re looking to include more meatless meals in your life, The Great Vegan Bean Book is full of delicious options and I can’t wait to try out some of the other recipes in the book, including (but definitely not limited to) the crispy chickpea patties and cornbread waffles, margarita chili beans, and the pineapple rum beans over coconut lime sweet potatoes.


One year ago…Gingered Pea Tea Sandwiches with Ricotta
Three years ago..Roast Pork Loin with Grilled Peaches and Wildflower Honey Vinaigrette
Four years ago…Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Black Eyed Peas and Grit Cakes
Spicy Cajun beans are served atop a creamy grit cake.
Yield: Seves 4-6
  • ½ lb dried black-eyed peas (or other similar bean)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp Cajun spice blend (see recipe below)
  • a few drops of liquid smoke
  • chipotle chili powder to taste
  • smoked salt, jalapeno salt, or sea salt, to taste
  • 2 summer squash, quartered and sliced
For the Grit Cakes
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 veggie bouillon cube
  • 1 cup grits (not instant or quick cooking!)
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
For the Cajun spice blend
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp cloves
  1. Soak the beans overnight in room temperature water. The next morning, add the soaked beans, garlic, bay leaves, and water to a medium soup pot. Bring to a boil and then decrease the heat to medium low and cover. Cook until beans are tender. Drain and remove the bay leaves.
  2. In a large nonstick saucepan, heat a tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the summer squash along with the Cajun spice blend, liquid smoke, chipotle chili powder, and a pinch of salt. Saute until tender. Add in the beans to heat through and season to taste. Set aside.
  3. For the grit cakes, preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper.
  4. Add the milk, water, and bouillon to a heavy saucepan. Bring it almost to a boil and then decrease to a simmer. Slowly stir in the grits. Stir every five minutes for 30-40 minutes or until you taste the grits and they are no longer hard. Add in a pinch of salt, to taste.
  5. Remove the grits from the heat and spread onto the parchment lined sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Cut into squares and served topped with the beans, and hot sauce on the side.
  6. To make the Cajun spice blend, grind all of the ingredients together in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or small food processor for about 10 minutes or until the whole bay leaf gets ground up.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅙th of recipe


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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73 Responses to Black Eyed Peas and Grit Cakes

  1. Foodycat says:

    5 weddings! I hope you can wear the same dress to all of them!

    This looks lovely, and I am so pleased you didn’t use black eyed peas – for some reason they are pretty much the only pulse I don’t care for.

  2. 5 Weddings! I agree with Foodycat- if you can wear the same dress to all of them – then do it!

    This is an interesting dish for me to try – since we love spicy beans – this sounds delish Girl!

  3. Simply Life says:

    Wow! That is a lot of weddings in one year, and yes- it is just crazy how quickly the price can add up!

  4. I have to be honest–I feel the same way about spending lots of money to go to someone else’s wedding the way I do about beans!

  5. Kevin Lynch says:

    That is a lot weddings and travel for one year! I like the use of the squash in the beans!

  6. Barbara says:

    Summer months are wedding months, for sure. Take heart though, they seem to bunch up according to age bracket. You’ll have a lot now, when friends and siblings marry, then not again until their kids get married. It does get pricey though.
    Nice the combo in this dish.

  7. Lynn says:

    My niece ended up having to take a second job, when she was about your age, because of all the weddings (and she was a bridesmaid in some of them.)

    Those beans look good. 🙂

  8. I feel very southern just reading this post. Also, that is a LOT of weddings!

  9. I love the spicy /herby bean blend here and the grits made with almond milk sounds really delicious.

    Good luck with those five weddings. Whoa expensive! But maybe perfect time to go on short vacays too.

  10. SallyBR says:

    That IS a lot of weddings… I have two but they are going to be major events, as my two stepsons will be getting married, September and April 2014. Hard to believe…

    well, is there a partner-face associated with black-eyed-peas? I know my beloved would have a very worried look on his face if I bring a bag home 😉

  11. This looks like the perfect meal whether you are trying to save money or not!

  12. Sarah says:

    yup, mid20s & weddings go together. at least you have a lot of friends, haha! that’s what i tell myself. these grit cakes look amazing!

  13. I always cook black-eyed peas on New Year’s day for good luck. This sounds luck a terrific recipe for that special day.

  14. No weddings for me til fall! Thank goodness, I don’t have the money for it. My usual picnic basket full of goodies seems to be under fire (have you seen that terrible text exchange from the guy who gave a picnic basket and the brides flipped a shit at him?) so I am hesitant to use that anymore. Oh well.

    Grit cakes… sounds delish! As do the beans, though “year of beans” makes me giggle. It’s a little gassy, isn’t it?

  15. I could eat beans everyday I love them and those grit cakes sound great!

  16. Dixya says:

    beans and grits a fabulous combo. I have three weddings I have to go and its a tough decision since its back to back 🙁 i feel your pain sister

  17. Abby says:

    Legumes are the answer! That should be a bumper sticker 😉 Giiirrrrl I feel your pain, except we’re 30 and this is the second round…everyone who didn’t get married at 26 gets married at 30 so it’s a ramen summer for us too 🙂

  18. Grits and black eyed peas? Are you secretly living in the south and just faking a NYC life?!

  19. Delicious and practical! We will have to give this a try in an effort to help soften the hit incurred from our own “Save the Date” occurring in October. Great idea with great ingredients, thanks for another wonderful post!

  20. Such a scrumptious Southern dish! Love this, Joanne!

  21. Natalie G says:

    Obsessed with black eyed peas so this sounds fantastic to me! Never tried grit cakes though!

  22. sandra says:

    this cookbook sounds great. I need a good collection of bean recipes – I am not that adept at making them form scratch.

  23. Good luck saving for the weddings, friend! I love adding beans in my diet whether I’m a starving student or living the high life (HAHAHA that’s definitely never happened). ANYWAY, this looks lovely!

  24. @700words says:

    that’s an unusual but entirely rational purchase in the face of so many save the dates. Loving beans (although never had a grit cake). We are in a run of six weddings in twelve months and have just discovered two on the same day – do you have a recipe to cope with that?!

  25. Woah. I thought my summer was packed but you have FIVE weddings to go to?? I salute you.

    Also, me. I am with you in the excited-for-bulk-purchasing-of-pantry-staples camp. Looks like you are doing amazing things with your bean shipments!

  26. Eileen says:

    I remember my year of weddings–which included my own! That was a serious amount of travel. At first I thought you were making bean and grit cakes–which also sound good–but I think a tasty cake with beautiful saucy beans over the top may be even better. 🙂

  27. grace says:

    this is some down-home goodness if ever i’ve seen it. 🙂

  28. Jessie says:

    You are not alone! I, too, worship at the altar of Rancho Gordo and beanz in general. This recipe looks fantastic and super source of protein. And Peter would be all over those grit cakes.

    For us, that summer of weddings was four years ago and it was nuts. Travel and gifts and time off – oh, my. Now I’m just waiting for the flood of babies.

  29. Amy says:

    Substitute baby shower for weddings and that was my summer LAST year. Seemed like every weekend for months I was buying pink or blue wrapping paper and draining my bank account dry. The nerve of people to reproduce! Lol. Love me some black eyed peas. The musical group and the food 😉

  30. Chris says:

    Bay leaf in Cajun seasoning, I have got to try that. The grit cake rocks of course, because we love thick stone ground grits.

  31. Honey says:

    Girl.. weddings get freakin expensive even if they aren’t your own. I think the whole bridesmaids thing is getting ridiculously out of hand. I once went to a bachlorette party and $3000 was the pool bar tab for 8 hours of fun amongst 11 people. HOW??? Crazy!
    You sure need some protein for all that craziness. 🙂

  32. That’s pretty scary that so many friends your age are tying the knot. 26 is only a few years older than me and I’m nowhere near that stage yet!
    I’ve been following the blog tour for this cookbook and it’s enticing me all the more every post I see.
    I’ve never had grits but I think I’m right in that they’re pretty much like polenta/coarse cornmeal?

  33. cindspectus says:

    As a fellow 26-yo, I’m so happy most of my friends are either single or have the “eh, what’s the rush to get married” mentality. I’m sure I’ll be running into this problem in a few years though.

    That Rancho Gordo thing sounds awesome, I just don’t know if I could justify spending that much money on beans at a time! I loved dried beans though, so I stick with my little bags here and there.

  34. Rancho Gordo are the best beans ever!!!

  35. Guru Uru says:

    I am not one for beans until now!
    And 5 weddings? Season much 😉 – hectic but what a romantic time!


  36. Gloria Baker says:

    Look absolutely delicious Joanne, and yes 5 weedings is really a lot LOL OMY!

  37. P says:

    5 weddings?! Wow…at least there are five cakes to look forward to :)! And that’s something I’ve noticed too, about 26 being the age most people end up getting married :P!

  38. Hannah says:

    Wow, now that’s a wedding season like I’ve never heard of before! Crazy, but congrats to all the happy couples.

    As a huge fan of all things beans, I can’t believe I’ve still never ordered from Rancho Gordo. If nothing else, those things are going on my holiday wishlist! I can gladly wait for something so special.

  39. I’m glad I’m older and don’t have to do the wedding scene too much. I know go to many our friend’s kids 🙂 Yeah, I’m so showing my age…lol!! This dish sounds divine girl!! And something to be married for 😀

  40. Such a flavorful meal! And yes five weddings is a lot. Enjoy your 4th Joanne!

  41. Hotly Spiced says:

    It sounds like a really expensive summer. I remember those days! My bank account was always hitting ‘nil balance’. Good luck with your budgeting. At least you can cut meat out of your expenses! xx

  42. daphne says:

    Wait till the baby invites come along! LOL I am sure we will be expecting plenty of creative meals from you!!!

    and who knows- maybe you will be your 6th wedding! 😉

  43. Oh yum, Joanne. Yay for the Year of the Beans! Trust me, one of the first things I bought online once I had internet access in the US were Rancho Gordo beans!! Can’t wait it replenish my stock and then try this out. This cookbook looks great, no? 🙂

  44. I love the name of these beans! Why not print a recipe book from your blog as a wedding gift?

  45. 5 weddings to attend? oh..Good Luck, Joanne.
    The black eyed peas with grit cakes looks fabulous!

  46. I hear ya. We were invited to 9 weddings between when we got engaged and when we got married. Tough planning a wedding and figuring out how to go to the rest of them! Happy 4th!

  47. I’m a firm believer that grits make everything better 🙂

  48. A year of beans sounds like something I need to sign up for! This dish looks like it would shake up the dinner routine like nothing else.

  49. This is unusual, but it sounds remarkably good. Have a great holiday. Blessings…Mary

  50. Nessa says:

    Sounds and looks delicious!

  51. Claudia says:

    The obvious, yet delicious answer to lean times. Those thoughtless people with all their weddings. I am surprised though that Rancho Gordo didn’t have black-eyed peas.

  52. I have not made beans like this in for ever, from scratch. I will pin this recipe for the fall 🙂

  53. Cathleen says:

    Oh wow yum! I have never tried grits, but this looks too good to pass up!

  54. I’m still a couple years before the marriage surge…but it’s slowly starting to happen. Crazy! Never heard of the year of beans program. Looking into this now! Beans are definitely a staple in my kitchen, as I assume of most young, healthy 20-somethings on a budget.

  55. Bah to weddings!! But, hooray for this delicious looking recipe!

  56. Thanks for sharing the recipe…it looks superyumful! Must try this as a tortilla or lettuce wrap. 🙂

  57. cquek says:

    Can i order a take away for lunch today

  58. that is alot of weddings!! definitely remembering that year of beans, totally happening next year 🙂

  59. Melissa says:

    Do you deliver? That’s a perfect meal for me!

  60. Dining Alone says:

    I already have way too many cookbooks but I am going to check this one out. I need to use more beans in my cooking and I need to try to convince my husband they are not horrible. 🙂

  61. Maria G. says:

    I’m not really ready to live the meatless life yet but I am little by little starting to be healthy with what I eat. I am not much of a bean fanatic but I agree that they are really great sources of protein even if you don’t eat meat so this dish is worth a try.

  62. Reeni Pisano says:

    I’m all over those grit cakes and love that you added squash! The cookbook sounds great! 5 weddings IS a lot – especially for traveling out of town!

  63. That Girl says:

    I had the everyone gets married in the same summer when I was 23. And super broke-er.

  64. Kari says:

    At 29, I seem to be coming out the other side of the constant wedding situation – something I can’t say I’m sorry to see happen! However, I still love legumes, and I know I’d love this. Gorgeous.

  65. Johanna GGG says:

    interesting to see you grit cakes because grits are a mystery to me but they sound good and I am up for lots of yummy bean dishes if that is your idea of budgeting! Funny though that you couldn’t find any dried black eyed beans – I only ever seem to see them dried – but maybe it is at the middle eastern shops near me

  66. Ashley says:

    Grit cakes… I like the sound of that! And beans are such a great way to have a hearty vegetarian or vegan meal. Yummmy!

  67. tigerfish says:

    You just reminded me – I won some bean giveaway some time ago…pounds of beans but have not used any of them yet! :O

  68. HA! Okay, I was looking at your pictures and thinking, “What kind of black-eyed peas are those?” Then I finished reading your post. Okay! Good job, though! This Southern girl approves of the combination.

  69. YAY JOANNE, I’ve been anticipating for your new site layout! It looks lovely and suits your content well. And as usual, I feel like I’ve missed a whole year’s worth of recipes since I’ve been taking a break from blogging whilst in Thailand… this one caught my eye, though—makes me miss the good ol’ South. And now I’m back, so there’s no excuse to not indulge! 🙂

  70. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Attending weddings can be stressful :/ Good Luck! This dish looks wonderful 🙂 I can’t wait to try it out myself!

  71. […] Bruno of  Joanne Eats Well with Others  joins the blog tour and ends the week with the recipe for Black Eyed Peas and Grit Cakes. She […]

  72. i love these flavors! what a great recipes!

  73. First, no you are not alone. Second I am jealous. Third I am pinning this. YUM.

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