What are Whippoorwill Peas? Everything You Need to Know

What Are Whippoorwill Peas
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If you’re a fan of southern cuisine or a food enthusiast, you might have come across the name “Whippoorwill Peas” and wondered what they are. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. It’s common to hear the name but not know what they are or how to use them in your recipes.

In this informative article, I’ll give you an overview of what whippoorwill peas are, their nutritional value, culinary uses, where to find them, and why you should incorporate them into your diet. It’s essential to know what you’re eating to make informed choices when it comes to your health and well-being.

So, let’s dive in and discover what whippoorwill peas are and their benefits to our health.

What are Whippoorwill Peas?

A bag of dried whippoorwill peas ready to be soaked and cooked into a delicious and nutritious dish.
A bag of dried whippoorwill peas ready to be soaked and cooked into a delicious and nutritious dish.

Definition and Description of Whippoorwill Peas

Whippoorwill Peas, also known as “cow peas,” are legumes with a small, creamy texture that can range from light brown to dark brown. They are a type of southern pea, grown in the southern United States, especially in Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama, where they are considered a staple food item. They are also popular in other parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.

Whippoorwill peas have a unique flavor, nutty and earthy, and are versatile in cooking. They can be boiled, fried, or baked and are often used in stews, soups, salads, and casseroles. They are also a great source of protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Origin and History of Whippoorwill Peas

Whippoorwill peas have been a part of the Southern diet for centuries, and their origins can be traced back to Africa, where they were brought to the United States during the slave trade. They were initially grown as a food source for livestock, but soon people realized their nutritional value and started incorporating them into their diets.

During the Civil War, whippoorwill peas were an important source of food for Confederate soldiers, and they continued to be a staple food item in the South after the war. Today, they are still an essential ingredient in many Southern dishes and are becoming increasingly popular in other parts of the world.

Nutritional Value of Whippoorwill Peas

A warm bowl of whippoorwill pea soup, perfect for a chilly evening and packed with health benefits.
A warm bowl of whippoorwill pea soup, perfect for a chilly evening and packed with health benefits.

Whippoorwill peas are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients that offer numerous health benefits. Here are some of the health benefits of whippoorwill peas:

Health Benefits of Whippoorwill Peas

  1. Rich in protein: Whippoorwill peas are an excellent source of plant-based protein, making them a great option for vegetarians and vegans. One cup of cooked whippoorwill peas contains about 16 grams of protein.

  2. High in fiber: Whippoorwill peas are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which plays a crucial role in keeping our digestive system healthy. A cup of cooked whippoorwill peas contains about 11 grams of fiber.

  3. Low in fat: Whippoorwill peas are low in fat, making them an ideal food for people looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

  4. Good source of essential vitamins and minerals: Whippoorwill peas contain essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate, which are vital for maintaining good health.

Nutritional Content of Whippoorwill Peas

Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional content of whippoorwill peas per one cup of cooked peas:

  • Calories: 198
  • Protein: 16g
  • Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 11g
  • Iron: 4mg
  • Magnesium: 60mg
  • Potassium: 700mg
  • Folate: 125mcg

Incorporating whippoorwill peas into your diet can provide you with numerous health benefits. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, or improve your overall health, whippoorwill peas can be an excellent addition to your meals.

Culinary Uses of Whippoorwill Peas

Freshly picked whippoorwill peas, waiting to be cooked and savored.
Freshly picked whippoorwill peas, waiting to be cooked and savored.

Whippoorwill peas are versatile and can be used in various dishes. They have a nutty and earthy taste, which pairs well with different spices and herbs. Here are some ways to cook and prepare whippoorwill peas:

Ways to Cook and Prepare Whippoorwill Peas

  • Soaking: Before cooking, it’s essential to soak the peas for at least four hours or overnight to reduce cooking time and make them easier to digest.
  • Boiling: Add the soaked peas to a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let them simmer for 30-40 minutes or until tender.
  • Pressure cooking: If you’re short on time, you can use a pressure cooker to cook the peas. Add the soaked peas and enough water to cover them, then cook on high pressure for 10-15 minutes.
  • Roasting: Toss the cooked peas with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in the oven until crispy.

Popular Dishes that Feature Whippoorwill Peas

  • Hoppin’ John: A traditional southern dish made with whippoorwill peas, rice, and smoked ham hock or bacon.
  • Pea salad: A refreshing summer salad made with boiled whippoorwill peas, chopped vegetables, bacon, and a tangy dressing.
  • Pea soup: A hearty and comforting soup made with whippoorwill peas, broth, and vegetables.
  • Pea hummus: A delicious and healthy dip made with whippoorwill peas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.

These are just a few examples of how you can use whippoorwill peas in your cooking. Get creative and experiment with different flavors and ingredients to find your favorite way to enjoy them.

Where to Find Whippoorwill Peas

Whippoorwill peas are commonly available in the Southern United States, where they are a staple in many households. They are also grown in other regions, such as the Midwest, but with less frequency.

If you’re wondering where to buy whippoorwill peas, you can check your local farmer’s market or specialty grocery store. You can also find them online through various retailers who sell dried beans and peas.

When buying whippoorwill peas, look for high-quality beans that are free from any damage or discoloration. It’s best to purchase them in smaller quantities to ensure freshness and optimal flavor.

Some popular online retailers to buy whippoorwill peas include Amazon, Walmart, and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. You can also find them at specialized websites that sell heirloom varieties of beans and peas.

In conclusion, finding whippoorwill peas can be easy if you know where to look. Check your local markets, specialty stores, and online retailers to get your hands on these nutritious and delicious peas.


In conclusion, if you’re looking to add variety to your diet or want to try something new, whippoorwill peas are an excellent option. Not only are they tasty, but they also offer numerous health benefits.

In this article, we’ve explored what whippoorwill peas are, their nutritional value, culinary uses, and where to find them. Now that you know what they are and how to use them, it’s time to incorporate them into your diet and reap the benefits.

Remember, peasbenefits.com is your ultimate source for all things related to peas and how they can benefit your health. So, be sure to check out our other articles and recipes to discover new ways to incorporate peas into your diet.

Overall, whippoorwill peas are a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal, and I highly recommend trying them out. Your taste buds and your health will thank you!