When I saw the plastic packets of tightly-packed,  plump, red-skinned American sweet potatoes in my Italian supermarket I stopped my shopping cart so suddenly that the wheels nearly dug into the white linoleum tiles.  I greedily began to shove the shiny packages of three-potatoes-each in my shopping cart with an enthusiasm that slightly startled, and then piqued the interest of, the Italian shoppers around me. The plastic wrap squeaked as I stacked two, three, four packs.  Should I get a fifth?  “Put  the  sweet  potatoes  down!” My husband commanded, pausing after each word for emphasis, and pulling me back from the glorious sweet potato display.

I hadn’t seen a “real” American Sweet Potato outside of America since I moved to Europe 8 years ago.  The labels on the package said the country of origin was the U.S. so these plump beauties traveled many miles to hop into my pressure cooker.
Sweet Potatoes for sale in Italy

Sure, Italian farmer’s markets sell Patate Americane but these are actually white-fleshed yams imported from Africa.  The yams are pleasantly sweet and fibrous but when cooked they turn into a very unappetizing color.  I’ll never live-down the light gray sweet potato pie I made a few Thanksgivings ago. Everyone, even the kids, refused to eat it. The taste was right but the color was sooo wrong.

Sweet potatoes vary in size, width and length but they’re all fat in the middle and skinny at the ends so I recommend slicing these potatoes in half to ensure they cook evenly.

I used Martha Rose Shulman’s (no pressure) black-eyed pea recipe as a jumping-off point for potato toppers and then went my own direction. I felt that sweet and spicy would be good, but adding a little “tart” would make it better.

The Shulman-inspired black-eyed peas boil in the base of the pressure cooker, while their cooking liquid steams the potatoes above – making this a delicious and healthy one pot meal!

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger steamer basket 10-12 min. High(2) 10-min. Natural

4.8 from 8 reviews
Black-eyed Pea topped Sweet Potatoes - one pot meal
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: Serves 4
  • Serving size: ¼th
  • Calories: 273.6
  • TOTAL Fat: 6.3g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 48.5g
  • Sugar Carbs: 14.4g
  • Sodium: 407.8mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 9.8g
  • Protein: 8.2g
  • Cholesterol: 4.0mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This recipe could go vegan in a heart-beat with a splash of balsamic vinegar onto the potato halves instead of the Yogurt. The Black-eyed peas were inspired by a New York Times Recipe crafted by Martha R. Shulman.
  • 3-4 medium sweet potatoes, sliced in half length-wise
  • 6-8 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt- or more to taste
black-eyed peas:
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 cup (180g) black-eyed peas, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (double or triple concentrate)
  • 1½ cups (375ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon harissa - or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4.5 oz (125g) fresh spinach or baby spinach (about two cups)
  1. Pile the potatoes in the steamer basket as shown (cut-face up, side-to-side) in criss-cross layers.
  2. In the pre-heated pressure cooker base add all of the spice seeds and toast them for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add a swirl of olive oil and onion to saute' until soft. Then, add the garlic cloves and saute them for about a minute.
  4. Add the black-eyed peas, tomato paste and water. If no one in your household is sensitive to spicy foods, add the Harissa, too. Otherwise, wait to mix the Harissa in until after everything's pressure cooked and you've separated out the amount for the sensitive eater.
  5. Mix the contents of the base well, and lower the steamer basket, or trivet and steamer basket, right on top of the black-eyed pea mixture.
  6. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
    Electric pressure cookers: Punch-in 12 minutes pressure cooking time at high pressure.
    Stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it. Then, begin counting 10 minutes cooking time.
  7. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the 10-Minute Natural release method - wait 10 minutes for the pressure to release naturally. If after that time the cooker is still maintaining pressure (which is usually the case for Electric pressure cookers), release it slowly using the valve.
  8. Remove the steamer basket and divide the potatoes between dishes.
  9. Toss in the spinach and salt into the piping-hot pressure cooker base and mix a few times wilt using the residual heat of the beans.
  10. Add Harissa, if you haven't already.
  11. Serve at least two potato halves per person with a plop of plain yogurt and a generous mound of black-eyed peas.

magefesa practika plus pressure cooker

Sweet Potatoes in Steamer Basket
Pile the sweet potato halves in the steamer basket, stacking them in layers perpendicular from each other.


Sweet Potato & Black-eyed Peas One Pot Meal (pressure cooker)

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  1. It looks delicious, but it is too complicated.

    1. This recipe only requires you to chop and saute’ an onion, and slice some potatoes in half – everything else goes straight into the pressure cooker.

      Can you be more specific on what makes this complicated?



      1. Thank you for this recipe, the only set back was that it was not clear to me that the beans should be soaked first. It would have come out perfect if it was not for this detail.
        Cheers, Itzel

    2. its the easiest (and tastiest) recipe ever – go on you can do it!

    3. Hi, just wanted to let you know that I make this recipe for my husband and myself at least once a week, my husband never liked sweet potatoes but I know how healthy they are, so I tried this recipe and he just lovers it, I’ve made it as a side dish for guests, had it as a full meal and if I’m lucky there are left overs for me to have for lunch at work

  2. This looks great! Are you using dry blac eyed peas, do you soak them overnight first?

    1. They are dry, un-soaked, black-eyed peas.



  3. Hi Hi Laura…
    Sweet Potatoes are a favourite in Australia …
    And I replicated your recipe to perfection…
    Easy .. Great flavour … And no doubt good for you..
    Real comfort food … Love you’re recipes … Will

  4. Oh my! I made this last night and it was scrumptious! And so very easy, too! I used less oil and fat free instead of whole milk Greek yogurt to make it fit better with my current diet (Weight Watchers – 5 ppt for half a potato topped w/peas), but otherwise followed the directions exactly. Definitely a keeper. Thank you so much, Laura – love your website – and your cookbooks!

  5. Made this today. I doubled the spices. I used 1Tbsp of strained pepper Mash from your PC hot sauce recipe. The peas weren’t cooked so I had to add 12 minutes to the cooking time. Delicious! I also served this dish with short grain brown rice done of course in the pressure cooker. This recipe is a keeper.

    1. The pressure cooker hot sauce pulp had vinegar in it which is acidic so it would double or triple the cooking time of the beans. Next time add it after pressure cooking and it won’t take as long for the black-eyed peas to be done. : )

      Glad to read you liked it!



  6. Oh my heavens Laura, I never thought of that! I am always careful not to use salt and only add it after the beans have cooked. I will remember that the next time. Thank you.

  7. Great flavors, but my peas were a bit underdone. Will for sure make again, but might take potatoes out at 12 minutes and then cook for another few minutes. All of the water was out too, so I guess I will add a bit more water too. But super yummy and healthy dish!

    1. Melissa, the water should not have run out. That is why the peas were under-cooked. It sounds like either the pressure cooker was leaking steam, the sealing valve was not closed properly or, in the case of stovetop pressure cookers, the heat was not turned down enough after the cooker reached pressure.



  8. Ok I will try again and make sure the valve is closed all the way. Thanks!

  9. what volume of black-eyed peas do you use?

    1. Linda it’s written in the recipe “1 cup (180g) black-eyed peas, rinsed”.




  10. Recipe looks amazing! Would I need to make alterations to the cooking time if I’m using (frozen) fresh black eyed peas instead of dried? thanks!

    1. Are these frozen soaked or frozen cooked? If frozen soaked, just use the same cooking time (the cooker will take longer to reach pressure). I don’t have experience with using frozen cooked black-eyed peas.



  11. HI Laura

    I’m a fan of your work! I like this steamer basket you have, may I ask where you got it from?

    thank you!

    1. I used the steamer basket form my Breville Fast Slow Pro, you can purchase it from them directly on their website:

      Or… there are my other steamer basket recommendations here:



      1. you’re wonderful!! thank you kindly!

  12. How do you reheat the leftovers for lunch?
    I made this last night and my fella and I both loved it! Thank you for this recipe :)

  13. I made this last night, and after looking at some harissa recipes, I improvised adding spices to approximate the harissa. It was SO GOOD that I am trying to remember what I did so I can duplicate it!! Thank you so much for a fabulous meal.

  14. Could you use ground spices for or are seeds necessary? I have carraway seeds and ground cumin and coriander and was just hoping perhaps to not have to buy lots of new spices. :) the recipe looks delicious.

    1. Absolutely you can use powdered instead of whole spices – just halve the quantity of the whole spice to use it in powdered form. So, for example, instead of 1/2 teaspoon of seeds use 1/4 teaspoon of powder.



  15. this turned out awesome. my daughter is allergic to tomatoes though so i replaced the tomato paste with miso and it turned out amazing!

  16. Made this exactly as directed for dinner tonight and we really loved it! I can see it going into permanent rotation around here. Your turkey chili instant pot recipe was also a big hit last week. I’m new to pressure cooking but loving it so far. Thank you for the brilliant recipes and very clear instructions. :-)

  17. An excellent recipe thank you. I will be cooking this again!

  18. I need to second (15th?) several other commenters and say that I soaked my beans first, because unsoaked black eyed peas take way more than 12 minutes in an instant pot. Soaked first, this is a tasty recipe. I also made it with frozen spinach and it worked fine, FWIW.

  19. Hi Laura, sometimes dried beans are difficult to get hold of on the island, although we do get occasional shipments of tins. How would you recommend I incorporate tinned beans to the recipe?

    1. It’s not ideal, but I would do the recipe and only use the minimum liquid requirement of the cooker for the beans. Then pressure cook together to warm the beans and steam the potatoes!



  20. This was so tasty. I subbed in half red-skinned potatoes for sweet, as Hub dislikes the sweets. Used more baby spinach. Skipped the harissa in case Toddler demanded a share. Topped with balsamic as suggested. Boxed up & stuck in the fridge to eat on busy days later in the week. Kept well & reheated in microwave nicely. A real beauty. Thank you!

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