Chilled Black Eyed Pea Salad
Black Eyed Pea Salad
I’ve always loved black eyed peas. They are actually beans rather than peas. But both peas and beans are legumes and a good source of protein. They make a good but inexpensive substitute for meat.
Black eyed peas come in a variety of colors with different colored eyes or spots, but most of the black eyed peas sold in grocery stores are the light beige with dark brown to black colored spots. If you want to grow and try out other color combinations, you’ll probably need to check with an heirloom seed company.
Initially black eyed peas were a feed crop. African American slaves began cooking the little beans, and they are still today used often in delicious soul food recipes.
Black eyed peas became more mainstream during the Civil War. When crops and stores of food were destroyed by Union soldiers, the black eyed peas were overlooked. Many families survived on them, and black eyed peas are considered to bring good luck especially when eaten on New Years Day.
Cooking Black Eyed Peas
Dried black eyed peas are cooked like other Southern beans. They are soaked and then cooked – usually with a ham bone, ham hock or fat back.
Cooked black eyed peas are used in a variety of recipes including Hoppin’ John and Texas Caviar. The following recipe is a version of Texas Caviar – black eyed peas served chilled with a dressing.
Chilled Black Eyed Pea Salad
1 bag frozen black eyed peas (16 oz bag) – can also cook down your own black eyed peas or use 2 cans (15 oz)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or can use ½ tsp fresh garlic minced)
1 small onion chopped fine (Vidalia is delicious – colored onions give more eye appeal)
1 small bell pepper chopped (any color or a mixture)
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil (can use other vegetable oils)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp hot sauce (or to taste)
Cook frozen black eyed peas according to the directions on the bag. Rinse with cold water and drain the liquid off the black eyed peas. Do this regardless of how the beans are cooked/processed. In other words, also rinse and drain home cooked or canned black eyed peas is using those.
Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and garlic salt on the black eyed peas and stir.
Add onions and green peppers.
In a small bowl, mix together the cider vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and hot sauce. Stir well.
Add the dressing mixture to the black eyed pea mixture. Toss to coat vegetables.
Chill for a couple of hours, all day, or overnight.
Chilled Black Eyed Pea Salad (Texas Caviar) makes a good side dish with grilled foods. It’s easy to make and can be made ahead. Just set it out when it’s time to eat.
Note: I used Vidalia onions and yellow peppers in the picture at the top. The green peppers and purple onions make a prettier dish I think. Regular onions are kind of hard on my stomach these days, and Vidalias are milder. I just had one of those wild urges when I picked yellow bell peppers last time.