Hearty and lush, this barley with black eyed peas dish is a great dinner option for when you want something filling and flavorful, but don't want to spend all night cooking. In less than an hour, you can have this colorful and nutty entrée, flavored with delicate notes of saffron. Make sure to garnish with plenty of ground black pepper!

Saffron Barley With Black-Eyed Peas [Vegan]


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger, optional
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup pearl, hull-less or hulled barley
  • 3-5 cups vegetable broth, or more
  • A pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 2 tablespoons of hot water for 10 minutes
  • 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or saucepan over medium heat.
  2. When oil is hot, add onions and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally until onions start to soften, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add bell pepper, smoked paprika, and ginger, and season with salt. Cook for another minute or so.
  4. Add barley and stock. Add up to 5 cups or more of stock if you prefer a saucier stew.
  5. Bring to a boil, then cover, lower heat and simmer gently, stirring often for about 30-45 minutes.
  6. Halfway through, stir in saffron solution, and continue cooking until liquid is absorbed and the barley is soft yet chewy.
  7. Add black-eyed peas, toss with barley, and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes until beans are warmed through.
  8. Check seasoning and adjust if needed.
  9. Serve with lots of ground black pepper.


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