Black Eyed Beans / Μαυρομάτικα

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black eyed beans with celery and thyme

black eyed beans with celery and thyme

This classic Greek dish is a lovely, light soup with the perfect bean flavor-pairing of celery and fresh thyme. Also known as ‘louvi xero’, black eyed beans (μαυρομάτικα) swimming in bowl of delicate tomato broth is one of the most delicious bean soups you will ever enjoy.

A few simple ingredients with  quick prep and you have this one-pot-wonder on the table in 30 minutes. Just cover your dried beans with water to soak in the morning and they’ll be ready to pop into your recipe in the evening.  Fast, easy, amazing is this authentic and so very tasty dish.

I like to chop the onions, garlic and celery into pretty small pieces.  Feel free to rough chop if you prefer a chunkier soup. And try to keep to the order of steps in this recipe. It helps to really intensify the flavors of each ingredient and then bring together all of the subtle flavors of this soup. I think the celery is really the star here but in a wonderful way that doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. A good dish to make ahead and reheat too!

soaked black eyed beans

soaked black eyed beans


  • 1 cup dried black eyed beans (about 2 1/4 cups soaked)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup garlic chopped fine
  • 1 cup celery chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp dried Greek oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 1/2 cups water

Cooking Instructions

Soak dried black eyed beans for a minimum of 3-4 hours (when they should begin to be visibly plumper) to as long as overnight.

Add olive oil to 3 qt saucepan and saute onions and garlic on very low heat first.  Once they’re just soft and translucent, add the celery.  If you add the celery at the same time as your onions and garlic, the water that comes off the celery doesn’t allow the onions and garlic to cook properly.

Cook for approx 2-3 minutes on low heat. Add salt, pepper, oregano, soaked beans and tomato paste dissolved in water to pan, stir to combine completely and let cook for 5 minutes to soak up all the flavors. Add water and fresh sprigs of thyme. Stir gently and cook, uncovered, on low simmer for 25 minutes until black eyed beans are soft.

Remove sprigs of thyme when beans are cooked and serve hot with a piece of crusty bread.

To reheat: add 1 teaspoon of water and heat on low, covered, for 5-10 minutes.

Serves 2-4. Recipe is easily scaled, I’ve doubled and tripled these ingredients with very good success.


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14 Responses to Black Eyed Beans / Μαυρομάτικα

  1. Shannon June 3, 2014 at 5:06 am #

    I made the lazy man’s version of this in the slow cooker and it’s delicious. I didn’t think I was a fan of black eyed peas, but they taste incredible swimming in the hearty oregano yumminess of that stock! I’ll probably make the next batch without celery just as a matter of personal preference, but this is definitely going in my regular rotation. I paired it with a fat slice of homemade bread and some homegrown micro-greens. I love me some soup, salad, and bread…

    Thank you for the great recipes and I can’t wait to try more!

    • Kiki June 8, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

      So very glad you enjoyed it!

    • Francesca September 24, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

      How long did you cook in the slow cooker. Also, did you combine all the ingredients at once?

  2. Jacqui April 11, 2015 at 12:10 am #


    How long would you soak the beans for?

    Thank you

    • Kiki April 11, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

      Jacqui, thanks for asking! I just updated the recipe with the following answer to your question, Kiki 🙂
      “Soak dried black eyed beans for a minimum of 3-4 hours (when they should begin to be visibly plumper) to as long as overnight.”

  3. Lucie May 6, 2015 at 10:35 am #

    I’m going to make this for dinner tonite. My BF is Greek and he wanted make this dish fr me over the weekend he couldn’t get around to do so. So I’m going to surprise him, can not wait already soak the beans so start make it by 5pm te finish will perfect as he would home by then from work and have a great bowl of louvi xero

  4. Mary October 22, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

    My mother who has passed away used to make this healthy dish. Your recipe is perfect and brought back many happy kitchen memories of growing up Greek-watching Mamma cooking- she was always cooking! Thank you!

  5. Sally April 2, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    Great recipe, the beans took much longer to cook than the recipe said, (as I expected) at least an extra 3/4 hour of cooking despite soaking for 24 hours. My husband scoffed the leftovers so I only got to eat it once. Will make again but might pressure cook the beans for a bit first.

  6. Abhilasha Singh March 23, 2017 at 11:57 am #

    Had these yesterday. Mom makes her own version with onions and potatoes in thick gravy. Very smokey flavour and tastes better the next day.

  7. Argy November 27, 2017 at 12:13 pm #

    Can we use the canned black eyed beans?

    • Kiki November 28, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

      You probably could! I wouldn’t know how to advise you on the adjusted cooking time though 🙁

      • Prince Mongo May 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm #

        If you went with canned black-eyes (we call them black-eyed peas in the south), you could serve the dish as soon as everything is combined. In order to give the dish a chance to meld, I’d suggest simmering 20-30 minutes at a minimum and the longer you give them in the pot, the better the soup will be at the table.

  8. Paula August 31, 2018 at 6:56 pm #

    Hi Kiki,

    Not a fan of thyme. Could I use another herb? Any recommendations?

    • Kiki September 5, 2018 at 4:15 pm #

      Paula, Try a tbsp of fresh chopped dill – it would work well here too! Kiki 🙂

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