Black-eyed Pea Salad the perfect summer salad and healthy soul food fare. It’s got it all – texture, crunch, bite, tanginess, sweet, and savory.
Deep in the Lone Star State, we, not to be like other states/regions refer to black-eyed pea salad as Texas Caviar. There are many variations, but the core ingredients are obviously black-eyed peas, red onions, peppers, and some type of vinaigrette. Herbs, fruit, and pepper choices vary.
Growing up black-eyed pea salad was almost as common as “sweet” tea during the hot summer months. Keep in mind Texas summers are about 8 months long! However I didn’t eat it much, primarily because my grandmother made the world’s best potato salad. During our barbecues I’d have a plate that consisted of only potato salad and grilled meats. There was no room for beans, black-eyed pea salad, nor slaw. If it did eat them back then it was mainly as leftovers. What I remembered about her black-eyed pea salad was that it was refreshing and could be eaten on for days. As a matter of fact it got even better after sitting a day or two afterwards.
During my time in Chicago, my chef partner in crime, George Outlaw came up with his own version and to say it was a hit would be an understatement. First of all George may be the most popular dude in Chitown. If you plan to hang or run errands with him, add about another hour to your planned time as he will be stopped by friends and fans alike in route to his destination. And at least 60% of the people will ask him to make that black-eyed pea salad for their next function. George has the magic touch, and I have no interest in trying to replicate something that’s damn near perfection. It’d be like all these movie directors and music artists who remake those classic great songs. Now I will say if you going to remake a classic do it like Meshell Ndegeocello. You can choose any or all of recent covers of 80’s soul music on her Ventriloquism. It’s a genius album and though I don’t have a favorite (too hard to choose) “Don’t Disturb This Groove” is most apt to my current moment. Life is good…
Black-eyed pea salad need not be complicated, so I kept things simple and just focused on quality ingredients. For my heat (this salad isn’t hot/spicy by any means) I used jalapenos. I’ve had versions that include serrano or habenero chiles, but those are tricky. They’re both relatively high on the heat scale making it difficult to strike the right balance in flavor. Jalapenos are milder and work well with the cilantro and citrus. Pear is a popular fruit choice, but I prefer apples, specifically honeycrisp apples which are extra crispy, sweet and juicy. Acidity choice is also a preference thing. You can be as fancy as champagne vinegar or as modest as plain white vinegar. I used a combination of lime juice and rice vinegar. I find rice vinegar to be more mild and malleable especially compared to the plain white stuff.
Black-eyed Pea Salad
If you have suggestions for making Black-eyed Pea Salad please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them. You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.
Dope beats, fresh eats, best life. Enjoy this black-eyed pea salad for any hot summer day occasion or weeknight side.
Black-eyed Pea Salad
- 1/2 medium red onion finely chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno seeded and finely chopped
- 1 apple diced
- 1 15oz can black-eyed peas drained
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves chopped
- 2 tbsp unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 medium lime juiced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the rice wine vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, sugar, and salt and pepper.
Combine vegetables and herbs then add the vinaigrette. Mix together well and let marinate up to 8 hours in the refrigerator before serving.
Feel free to use frozen, fresh or canned black-eyed peas. If you choose to fresh/dried just be sure not to cook too long as you want the peas to tight with a crunch.