Black-Eyed Pea Quesadillas for New Year’s Day Good Luck

by Dorothy Reinhold on December 28, 2020

Print This Post Print This Post Black-eyed Pea Quesadillas: Earthy black-eyed peas join with aged cheddar and warm spices in a New Year’s Day quesadilla designed to capture good luck for the coming year.

Earthy black-eyed peas join with aged cheddar and warm spices in New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Pea Quesadillas designed to capture good luck for the coming year.

One of the charming customs of the south is to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, for good luck in the coming year. Ever heard of Hoppin’ John?

While I don’t live in the Southern U.S. – Southern California is my home – I can borrow their culinary culture for today, and do a mash-up with Mexican food. I need all the luck I can get (don’t you?), so I am not leaving anything to chance!
Black-Eyed Pea Quesadillas cut in wedges on a colorful plate with the recipe title superimposedI’m going to have a relaxed meal with 5-ingredient, super simple, homey, tasty Black-Eyed Pea Quesadillas that are bound to amplify my luck.

How to make Black-Eyed Pea Quesadillas

These are simply tortillas layered with cheese and black-eyed peas, with a sprinkle of spices to amplify the flavor. If you’ve ever made a quesadilla with beans in it, you’ll know what to do.

Steamed Black-Eyed Peas package frontTo make things easy, I’m using shelled and steamed, ready-to-eat black-eyed peas. You just open the package and use them! I heat them up a little so the cooking time on the griddle is less, but you could just use them straight from the package if you like, without heating.

Or if you want, feel free to take the time to cook dried black-eye peas from scratch. You would buy them at the grocery store dried, in a bag like other beans, and cover with water or chicken broth in a pot, and cook until done, which may take an hour or more.

You could also use canned, cooked black-eyed peas; drain and rinse before using in your quesadilla. My motto is use what you have on hand, what’s available at your grocery outlet, and whichever variety you prefer.

What are black-eyed peas?

Black-eyed peas in a white bowlBlack-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas or black-eyed beans, are a legume that was domesticated in Africa. They’re usually pale, with a spot or eye that might be black, brown, red, pink or green. When they’re picked fresh they’re green, and they dry to a brown or beige color. They were widely cultivated in the Southern U.S.

How are black-eyed peas related to New Year’s Day? 

In the Southern U.S., eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is supposed to bring prosperity in the new year. The peas are cooked with a cut of pork for flavoring and salt (maybe bacon, maybe fatback, maybe hog jowl) and onion, and served with peppery vinegar and wilted greens — collard, turnip or mustard. 

  • The peas swell when cooked, so they stand for prosperity. Some people also say the beans symbolize coins.
  • The greens stand for money — green bills!
  • The pork is used because pigs root forward when foraging, representing positive motion.
  • Cornbread is served with the meal because it stands for gold, and also because it tastes darn good and it just belongs.

Now that we know the role they play in the south, let’s also remember an Irish blessing that seems to fit our wishes for the new year, as well:

“May good luck be your friend in whatever you do and may trouble be always a stranger to you.”

Happy New Year everyone!


Black-Eyed Pea Quesadillas

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 3-4

Black-Eyed Pea Quesadillas

Earthy black-eyed peas join with aged cheddar and warm spices in a New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Pea Quesadilla designed to capture good luck for the coming year.


  • 1 (11-ounce) package Ready-to-Eat Shelled & Steamed Black-eyed Peas (or use a can of cooked black-eyed peas, drained)
  • 1 (7- to 8-ounce) package aged or sharp/extra sharp shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground chile powder (or Hatch chile powder if you have it!)
  • 6 (8-inch soft taco-size) flour tortillas


  1. Place peas in a microwave-safe covered container and microcook for 3 minutes. Remove and set aside, with lid on.
  2. Heat a griddle on medium. Lay 3 tortillas onto the griddle, top with cheese, then peas, and sprinkle cumin and chile powder liberally over each. Put tortilla “lid” on each stack and cook, without disturbing, for 2-3 minutes, until cheese looks like it is melting/melted.
  3. Using 2 wide spatulas or pancake turners, carefully flip each quesadilla over to toast the other side. (Warning: if the cheese isn’t melted when you flip, the peas will fall out! The melted cheese acts as “glue.”) Allow to toast for another 1-2 minutes. It’s good to get the tortillas toasty, but not burned.
  4. Remove quesadillas to a cutting board, allow to rest for a minute, and then cut into wedges, using a large knife. Cut each quesadilla into 6ths. Serve immediately.
  5. Serves 3-4.


Recipe source: Dorothy Reinhold | Shockingly Delicious

pin this please!Pin the image below for Black-Eyed Pea Quesadillas to your Pinterest board to save this recipe Collage of 2 blackeyed-pea-quesadillas pictures

More recipes with Black-Eyed Peas:

Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Pea Taco Soup in a white bowl on a white plate against a brown and yellow napkinSlow Cooker Black-Eyed Pea Taco Soup

Black-Eyed Pea Cowboy Caviar on a corn chip against a Mexican fabric backgroundBlack-Eyed Pea Cowboy Caviar

Black-Eyed Pea Hummus (Hoppin' John Hummus) in a white bowl on a white plateBlack-Eyed Pea Hummus

Sweet Potato, Black-Eyed Peas and onion in a white bowlSweet Potato, Black-Eyed Pea and Broccoli Bowl

New Year's Hoppin' John Potato Salad in a white bowl against a burlap backgroundHoppin’ John Potato Salad

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This post was originally published Jan. 1, 2014 and Dec. 28, 2016 and has been refreshed and republished today.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Elena Reinisch December 30, 2016 at 5:06 pm

These look delicious! Happy New Years!


2pots2cook December 30, 2016 at 1:15 am

Oh yes ! It looks delicious ! Thank you and have the best of all in 2017 !


Megan @ MegUnprocessed December 29, 2016 at 8:06 pm

Black eyed peas for good luck. That sounds amazing!


Lauren December 29, 2016 at 4:54 pm

What a great idea, thanks for sharing!


carrie @ frugal foodie mama December 29, 2016 at 5:26 am

This is such a clever way to sneak in those black eyed peas for good luck in the New Year! 🙂


Katerina @ diethood .com December 29, 2016 at 12:20 am

YUM! We love quesadillas at our house!! And these are a must try!!


Cathy | Lemon Tree Dwelling December 28, 2016 at 10:18 pm

I love the whole black eyed peas on New Years thing….it’s not something I had ever heard of until blogging!


Amanda | The Chunky Chef December 28, 2016 at 7:45 pm

I can bet these are packed with flavor!


Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet December 28, 2016 at 5:01 pm

I’ve always loved black-eyed peas and this is such a great idea!


Angie | Big Bear's Wife December 28, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Perfect dinner for New Years Eve!! Great quesadillas with black eyed peas


Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons December 28, 2016 at 2:31 pm

These look delicious. And lucky!


Liz December 28, 2016 at 2:16 pm

I have a feeling these would go over well at my house!!! Great for munching on while watching the New Year’s football games.


sippitysup January 2, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Happy New Year. XOGREG


Karen (Back Road Journal) January 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Originally being from Texas, black-eyed peas are a must on New Years. My husband isn’t crazy about them but I think he would like the quesadillas.


takeabiteblog January 2, 2014 at 7:38 am

I wanted to make something with black eyed peas to celebrate the new year, but couldn’t figure out what… Thanks for the idea!


Bea January 1, 2014 at 11:56 am

Happy happ New Year to ou and yours, Dorothy! Yes, I certainly can use all the luck available as well and therefore this Southern German girl is serving Hoppin John. I love this recipe for yup these deliciously easy black eyed pea quesadilla. Perfect!


Family Foodie January 1, 2014 at 8:20 am

Perfect Recipe to Start the New Year! Happy New Year Dorothy. Many, many blessings to you and your family in 2014!


Dorothy Reinhold January 1, 2014 at 10:04 am

Family Foodie and Renee,
Thank you, Isabel and Renee!


Renee January 1, 2014 at 4:49 am

Good-bye black bean quesadillas and hello lucky black-eyed pea quesadillas! Great way to start the new year.


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