Sausage, Kale And Black-eyed Pea Risotto

Creamy Risotto With Italian Sausage, Kale And Black-eyed Peas is so good that your friends and family will all want the recipe. That is what happened to me when I took it to a gathering of friends on New Year’s Day. Everyone took a small bite for good luck but were soon going back for more. During the course of the afternoon, I was repeatedly asked if I would share the recipe. Of course, I would be happy to and I have decided to share it with you as well. Enjoy!

Risotto With Italian Sausage, Kale And Black-eyed Peas

I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t like the silky, creamy texture of risotto. Perhaps the most famous is Risotto alla Milanese which is risotto with saffron and parmesan cheese. Simply prepared, it is usually served as a first course or side dish in an Italian restaurant. When risotto is cooked with a combination of meats and vegetables it is usually served as a hearty main course. That is how I would suggest you serve this sausage, baby kale and black-eyed pea risotto. A crisp green salad, crusty bread and a glass of wine would be a nice accompaniment.

Sausage, Baby Kale And Black-eye Pea Risotto

Serves 4, adjust the recipe according.

  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 links (1.25 lbs.) hot Italian sausage, casings removed and meat crumbled
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 c. low salt chicken stock, more may be needed
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 15 oz. pkg. frozen black-eye peas (about 2 1/2 c.)
  • 1/2 lb. fresh baby kale, stemmed or a 9 oz. box
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large sprig of fresh thyme or 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/4 c. Arborio rice
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 2  Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. more or less of Pecorino Romano or Parmesan grated cheese

Heat the oil in a large pot or deep sided skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and sauté, breaking up the meat up as it cooks, until browned. Add the onion, cook until translucent then add the garlic and cook about a minute. Add the stock and water, bring to a boil and then add the black-eye peas. Bring to a second boil, reduce the  heat and cover. Simmer 25 to 30 minutes or until peas are tender. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprig. Add the baby kale and stir until wilted. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage mixture to a bowl. Keep the stock warm on the stove.

Heat the butter in a high sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add the rice and stir to coat then add the wine and stir until absorbed. Ladle the stock a little at a time and cook, stirring every minute or two, until the liquid has been absorbed. Keep stirring and adding broth until the rice is just tender and creamy.

Add the reserved sausage, black-eyed peas and baby kale mixture to the rice and stir until just heated through. Remove from the heat, add the cheese and stir well. If the risotto is too thick, stir in a little extra broth to give it the consistency you like. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Spoon into bowls and finish with a drizzle of your finest olive oil, if you wish. Serve addition grated cheese at the table.


Sausage, kale and black-eyed pea risotto, rich with Italian flavors, is a thick, hearty and comforting dish that should please even the pickiest of eaters. I was very surprised that my husband who doesn’t really care for black-eyed peas very much, loved this dish. He said he would be happy if I made it often, it was too good to only eat on New Year’s day to bring us luck. My friends seemed to agree with him and I hope you will as well.

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122 thoughts on “Sausage, Kale And Black-eyed Pea Risotto

    1. Thank you Madonna, I’m glad you like the recipe. It sounds like the risotto will fit in with your wish to add more beans and greens to your diet.

  1. Hi there. Did you make it on the spot or transport it and then heat it up. Risotto doesn’t fair very well when not eaten immediately. I’m just curious because I’d love to try this dish for a gathering. Thank you

    1. Hi Diana, I did make it right before going to our friend’s home. I put it in corningware with a tight lid and wrapped it in a thick towel. The risotto was still warm by the time we got there. If you have to travel far, I think you could bring some extra broth and warm the risotto once you were at your gathering.

  2. Black-eyed peas have wonderful flavor, don’t they? Not used enough, IMO. And they combine so well with dark greens and sausage. Never thought of using them in risotto — what a nifty idea. Thanks!

    1. Hi John, I’m glad you like the idea of using black-eyed peas in the risotto, thank you. I agree with you that they are an underused ingredient.

    1. Hi Amelia, Spinach would definitely work in this risotto. You are right, I told all my friends at the party that I had made an Italian version of “Hoppin’ John”. 😀 It got down to 32 the other morning here in Vero. So far so good with all our tropical plants but as you know, sometimes damage doesn’t show up for a couple of weeks. Sorry the cold got to some of yours.

  3. Make risotto often: love to stand there in a virtual dream world stirring in ladles of rich home made stock! However have never used kale or black-eyed peas: a vegetable little known in this country. Interesting recipe – shall substitute and make it next . . .

    1. Absolutely Eha, this is a recipe that can definitely be changed to what you find available or to your own tastes. BTW, I believe that black-eyed peas are called beans in Australia. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment Kathryn. I always make black-eyed peas on New Year’s day but my husband doesn’t like them. This was the first recipe that my husband raved about and he has now he had it several times. 😀

  4. A lovely combination of flavours, I’m not surprised that this dish was the success it was on New Year’s Day. Years ago, I watched a hotel chef at the Seminole hotel in Florida prepare risotto for one of the restaurants. It was going so well, until the end when he melted a pound of butter to finish the risotto, I haven’t been able to order it in restaurants since!

    1. Thank you for your compliment Eva, the risotto did have a good flavor. That must have been a lot of rice for a chef to use a full pound of butter…even a stick would be a lot.

    1. Thank you for your kind words about the risotto Liz. For my husband to say he didn’t want to wait a year to eat it, you know it had to be good. 😀

  5. Karen, I just bookmarked this recipe! It would absolutely be a hit in my family. I cook black-eyed peas regularly and just enjoy them “stand alone,” so this beautiful risotto would be quite elegant fare in comparison. 🙂 I can’t wait to give it a try!

    1. Hi Rosemary, I hope you give black-eyed peas a try. While you can use dried or canned, I think you would probably like the frozen ones the best. I hope you are well and life is good.

  6. A lovely looking bowl of risotto Karen. Having the kale in there will satisfy the new year diet people while the Italian sausage will make it really tasty. Nice job indeed.
    Best, as ever,

    1. Claudia, I’m sorry that you are having problems leaving a comment. I did get your comment about the risotto, thank you. It has your photo and pegasus legend and I recognize that as being your blog What’s cooking’ Italian style. 🙂

  7. I make a soup like this but using kale, sausage and peas in a risotto sounds absolutely delicious! This is a must try. Thanks Karen!

    1. Thank you Tricia, I believe that the hot Italian sausage is what really amped up the flavor in this risotto. Thank you for you nice compliment and I hope you enjoy the recipe.

  8. delicious! i’ve actually never made risotto, but this looks amazing. i’ve been on a black-eyed pea kick since new year’s day–i always forget how good they are! 🙂

    1. Hi Grace, You must try making risotto and since you like black-eyed peas, this might be a good first try. Enjoy and thank you for your nice compliment.

  9. I never thought to put beans with risotto. I’ve been on a black eye pea kick since the new year and love them. My food club will be seeing this one very soon. Thanks for a super idea! cheers wt

    1. Hi Wendy, This recipe came about trying to find a black-eyed pea dish that my husband would like. It ended up being a hit with not only him but with my friends was well. I hope your food club will enjoy it, thank you. 🙂

  10. This is another wonderful and delicious recipe, Karen. You might not believe this, but only last night Peter wanted to try cooking in our new electric multi cooker that we bought for Christmas and he chose to do a risotto with ‘lardons’ (pieces of smoked bacon) instead of the Coppa as recipe said. He struggled a little with the multi cooker and I had to help a bit with its functions, but the result was mouthwatering and something we’ll do again. I like the idea of the sausage too for a different flavour next time. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Fatima, I do think you would like adding sausage to the risotto, it really adds lots of flavor. I’m going to have to try making it with lardons next…thank you!

    1. Hi Abbe, As far as I can remember I’ve always had black-eyed peas on New Year’s day. This recipe was so good it is going to be made much more often than that as my husband loved it. I hope you will enjoy the dish, thank you.

  11. This looks like a dish we will enjoy — minus the sausage (maybe some kind of vegan addition). Just made some risotto the other night and remembered the nice creamy texture of it. Someone recently mentioned on my blog how important it was to get “good quality” black eyed peas. Not sure what those might be… Any idea?

    1. Hi Kathy, Mushrooms are the first thing that come to mind. If you want a vegan version of this dish, you would have to also change the broth and then add lots of seasoning…even then the flavor would be very different. I think your best bet is just to make risotto and add what veggies you enjoy. 🙂 Personally, I think frozen black-eyed peas are much better than dried or canned.

    1. Hi Julie, I do think this might be a good dish for you to try, everyone seemed to really enjoy it. I hope you like it as much as they did.

    1. Hi Linda, Thank you for letting me know that you and Phil enjoyed the meal. 😀 I think spinach is a great substitute for the baby kale as they are both tender greens.

  12. This looks like the coolest Italian-American mix up of a dish Karen!! My husband loves black eye peas and kale– so I know this would be a hit!! Fun to hear what you’ve been eating! A variation on your exotic travel meals!! xox

    1. Hi Rhonda, Your comment gave me a laugh. Yes, I’ve taken my tradition of eating black-eyed peas and given it an Italian twist. I think your husband would indeed like the recipe. Thank you for your nice comment. 🙂

  13. I love this so much, Karen. We are truly simpatico – I just made a cornbread salad that had blackeyed peas, kale and bacon – a Southern twist on bread salad. Then here you are with similar flavors in a risotto. I’ll be trying this dish immediately…

  14. this dish sounds very hearty and tasty Karen. except for the kale:=) no one will me convince that this food for cows should ever be given to humans. (tee hee) i could use spinach i guess. cheers sherry

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment. Inger, I believe that you should try preparing risotto again. Arborio rice, plenty of warm broth, and frequent stirring should give you good, creamy results.

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