Latvian Gray Peas with Bacon and Onion

Latvian Gray Peas with Bacon and Onion


PREP TIME | 10 mins plus soaking

COOK TIME | 1 hour 20 MINS

Recipe Image

My husband’s family is Latvian. We recently visited this charming and resilient country and were served this savory and delicious dish. A traditional Latvian recipe, it is served during Christmas time and is said to bring good luck in the coming year. The gray peas have a wonderfully nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture and the addition of caramelized onion and bacon are undeniably delicious. This is an ultimate comfort food dish.


* 1 cup big gray peas, pigeon peas or black eyed peas
* 8 oz smoked bacon, cut I to bite-sized pieces
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* Plain, low-fat Greek yogurt as condiment, optional


1. Soak peas overnight to shorten the cooking time.
3. Cook peas in salt water until tender. Roughly an hour. taste along the way to be sure they don’t over cook. Drain and set aside.
4. Over medium heat in a large frying pan, add the oil and chopped onion. Cook the onion until golden brown and slightly caramelized about 10 minutes.
6. Add the chopped smoked bacon to the onions and cook until slightly crispy about 8-10 minutes.
7. Add in peas and stir until well combined and warmed through.
8. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and a dollop of plain, Greek yogurt


This is a double duty recipe. It can be used as a side dish a main dish. Serve warm leftovers with toast and sunny side up eggs for a warm, gooey and delicious breakfast.

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2 thoughts on “Latvian Gray Peas with Bacon and Onion

  1. […] There is also a little cafe inside where you can try traditional Latvian dishes. I personally tried the lielie pelēkie zirņi (grey peas cooked with onions and bacon). It is considered one of the most traditional Latvian dishes and is usually served in the winter. I must say, on a cold October day, it was the perfect comfort food. With a side of the garlic bread, you have a tasty and satisfying meal. (I will be honest, it is not much to look at which is why I didn’t take any photos can see an example of what this dish looks like here.) […]

    1. Thanks for the great information! I was happy with my photos but the peas are VERY GRAY :).

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