Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Corn Bread Croutons

Watercress provides a peppery finish to this down-home combination of bacon, black-eyed peas, and corn bread. Look for corn bread muffins or loaves in the bakery section or frozen bread section of your supermarket, or use leftovers you've saved.

Yield: 6 servings
Recipe from Cooking Light

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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 333
  • Calories from fat: 18%
  • Fat: 6.8g
  • Saturated fat: 2.7g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.2g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9g
  • Protein: 17g
  • Carbohydrate: 51.9g
  • Fiber: 13.1g
  • Cholesterol: 10mg
  • Iron: 4.9mg
  • Sodium: 689mg
  • Calcium: 84mg


  • 1 cup (1-inch) cubed corn bread (about 3 1/2 ounces)
  • 4 applewood-smoked bacon slices, chopped
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups cooked black-eyed peas
  • 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup chopped trimmed watercress


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Arrange corn bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon to pan; cook 5 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Set bacon aside. Add onion and garlic to drippings; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas and next 5 ingredients (through pepper); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until beans are very tender.
  4. Place half of bean mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining bean mixture. Ladle about 1 1/3 cups soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with about 2 1/2 tablespoons watercress, 2 1/2 tablespoons croutons, and about 1 1/2 teaspoons bacon.
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