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By Mary J. Johnson on October 23, 2022

Cooking with a mixed bag of ingredients

I tend to sometimes overestimate my needs for my Thursday Night Gourmet Book Club but sometimes it's a blessing in disguise.  I had left over kale and InstaCart just happened to deliver black eyed peas instead of navy beans.  I reordered and used the navy beans in our Boston/Salem, MA themed evening so had 3 cans of black eyed peas just staring at me from the counter.

I do not like to waste food and thought to my self "What can I make with kale and black eyed peas as well as the other foods I always have on hand such as, canned diced tomatoes, garlic, celery, onions, and carrots, ground sausage and cooked bacon.

Know that the Internet is a source for random ingredients.  Type your list of random ingredients you have on hand into your search engine, recipes utilizing those foods will display.  I knew however that kale and black eyed peas along with my other staples would be a good combination but I just wanted to make sure others thought it was a good idea too.  The answer was yes!

I create my own recipes based on flavor profiles I know work well together, not that others' recipes are not tasty but I also like to modify or create recipes that are easy and quick to prepare.  As a versatile eater, I like to experiment with versions that accommodate various diets as well. 

This recipe can easily be modified to make an amazing meatless vegan/vegetarian soup but this time, I chose to make it with sausage and bacon to give it that southern greens flavor.

A few hacks I used in this recipe,

1)Canned black eyed pea
2)Canned diced tomatoes
3)Hormel cooked bacon
4)Prepared chicken broth

To make this recipe vegan/vegetarian simply use,

1)Vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
2)Leave out the meat
3)Use fresh ingredients rather than canned
4)Use dry black eyed peas, soak over night in water before using in soup.



In a stock pot combine, and bring to boil over medium heat

1 diced onion
3 diced celery stalks
3 sliced carrots
1 - 32 oz. Carton chicken or vegetable broth
1-2 crushed garlic cloves
Crushed black pepper to taste

If you notice, I left out salt. You certainly can add salt to flavor but I recommend waiting until soup has had an hour or two to cook because once you add the bacon, it adds enough salty flavor for most tastes.

In a Dutch oven or large pan for frying, with higher sides, lower heat - brown loose sausage or you may form meatballs (Meatball recipe below) and the already cooked bacon bits until sausage is fully cooked. You may cook your own fresh bacon as well. I simply like to utilize the already prepared bacon for simplicity reasons.

1 lb. Jimmy Dean or other ground pork. I use Jimmy Dean’s Hot Sausage but please utilize the kind most desirable to your taste (Eliminate for Vegan or Vegetarian)
1/2 Package of Black Label Real Bacon Crumbled
1Tbls. Worchester sauce
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. Onion powder
1 lb. Bag kale greens

Tear up Kale into bite size pieces if not already done so in the package you purchase, add to meat until kale is wilted

Add meat and kale mixture to soup and continue to cook on low to medium heat for 1-2 hours until all vegetables are tender.

Add salt if needed and if bacon makes it too salty, add more broth to dilute if necessary.

If not gluten free or dairy free, serve in soup bowls with crusty bread and for another tasty addition, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


Sausage Meatballs - Combine the flowing ingredients,

1 lb. Jimmy Dean or other brand ground pork
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. Onion powder
1 Tbls. Worcester Sauce
1 Egg beaten
1/2 C. Bread crumbs (I use Panko most often)

Form into 1 inch balls.

Brown, turning until all sides are browned and meat is fully cooked. Follow soup recipe above to utilize in soup.







Published by Mary J. Johnson October 23, 2022