Black-Eyed Pea Salad

5 from 3 votes
1 hour
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Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Salad is a light and fresh twist on classic Southern comfort food. Bring it to your next picnic, or serve it with anything you’re grilling this summer. Pair this vibrant salad with Yogurt-Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers for a well-rounded, warm-weather feast!

Black-Eyed Pea Salad in white bowl with lemon wedges and cilantro in bowls.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

This spicy Black-Eyed Pea Salad recipe is a warm-weather, tried-and-true favorite of ours that I’ve been making for years.

Black-eyed peas are believed to bring good luck if eaten on New Year’s Day. However, this recipe for Black-Eyed Pea Salad makes it easy to enjoy this tasty legume all year long! Fresh, crunchy vegetables and lemon juice make this salad refreshing, healthy, and a great way to use up late-summer produce.

So, while many black-eyed pea recipes may conjure up thoughts and memories of cozy comfort food, this salad shows how black-eyed peas can be transformed into a healthful, summery side.

Not only does lemon add brightness, but its vitamin C makes it a great match for black-eyed peas. Vitamin C helps boost absorption for the iron-rich black-eyed peas, making this recipe great for vegetarians and vegans.

The ingredients can even be prepped ahead of time, making for a healthy and convenient lunch that you can pack and take to work.

This Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Salad recipe is:

  • Healthy!
  • Quick! The other ingredients can be prepped while the black-eyed peas are cooking.
  • Spicy! Fresh jalapeños add an assertive kick.
  • Gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan so that everyone can enjoy it!
Black-Eyed Pea Salad in serving bowl with serving spoon.

What are Black-Eyed Peas?

Sometimes called goat or southern peas, black-eyed peas are actually a bean. They are a variety of cowpeas, a type of legume originally domesticated in western Africa. They are small, white, kidney-shaped beans with a single black spot. Because their skin is thinner than most other beans, they cook quickly without soaking, making them ideal for salads. Black-eyed peas are high in fiber, iron, potassium, and zinc.

How to Make Black-Eyed Pea Salad:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this Black-Eyed Pea Salad recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Black-Eyed Pea Salad in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Black-Eyed Peas: This recipe calls for dried black-eyed peas. They cook quickly compared to other types of dried beans and can cook while you prep the other ingredients. If you have or can get fresh black-eyed peas, by all means, use them. Using canned black-eyed peas will not give as good of a texture, but they can be used in a pinch to make this salad. If using canned, make sure to rinse them well, as the liquid they’re packaged in can be very salty. See my Chef Tips and Tricks below for more information on when to use dried vs. canned and for black-eyed peas cooking tips.
  • Cucumber: I recommend using English cucumbers because they’re not as watery and seedy as Kirby cucumbers. (Those are often used for pickling.) English cucumbers are also called “seedless” or “hothouse” cucumbers and are packaged in plastic because of their thin skin. If using Kirbys or another similar variety, I recommend peeling some of the skin off and removing the seeds. The goal is to avoid a watery salad and too much of a thick cucumber peel. 
  • Tomatoes: This recipe uses plum tomatoes, which are lower in moisture than cherry or round tomatoes. Make sure to remove the seeds to avoid a watery salad.
  • Jalapeños: Fresh jalapeños are a must in this salad.  Jarred, pickled peppers are convenient and deliver heat, but they taste out of place with all the other fresh, assertive flavors. We leave the seeds and membrane in for more heat, but you can remove them to tone down the heat. If you’re not used to working with hot peppers like jalapenos, wear gloves and do not touch your eyes.
  • Cilantro: Use both the leaves and tender stems in this recipe to give the salad a fresh and citrusy flavor.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: The juice of about four large lemons brightens up this Black-Eyed Pea Salad. Add more lemon juice to taste if desired during the final seasoning of the salad.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Bring a saucepan of unsalted water to a boil.
  • Add the black-eyed peas and boil for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. (You want the skins loosened and just beginning to fall off.) Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water; drain again.
Cooked black-eyed peas in glass bowl.
  • Mix the peas, cucumber, tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic together in a large bowl.
Ingredients for Black-Eyed Pea Salad in glass bowl before being combined.
  • Add the lemon juice and olive oil and stir again.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add more lemon juice if desired.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 30 minutes before serving.
Ingredients for Black-Eyed Pea Salad in glass bowl after being combined together.
  • Done and delish!
  • This black-eyed pea salad is great on its own or with grilled fish, seafood, chicken, pork, or beef, such as flank steak, as a salsa-style topping!
Black-Eyed Pea Salad in serving bowl with serving spoon and cilantro sprigs and lemon wedges in small bowls.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • If you have or can find fresh black-eyed peas, by all means, use them.
  • A good rule of thumb when deciding whether to use canned beans versus cooking from dry is how prominent they will be in your dish.  If the beans make up a good part of the dish, it’s best to start with dry beans. The peas are the feature of this black-eyed pea recipe, so the texture is important. If your dish has a wide range of textures and the beans are simply one ingredient, you can get away with using canned.
  • Do not add salt to the cooking liquid when making black-eyed peas. It will prevent the peas from softening up. Because the black-eyed peas are dry, they won’t absorb the salt until they’ve softened up, so you’re just wasting salt. This also applies to any acid, such as vinegar.
  • If you’re not used to working with hot peppers (jalapeños), wear gloves and do not touch your eyes.
  • After combining the salad ingredients, refrigerate for about 30 minutes for the flavors to marry.
Black-Eyed Pea Salad with serving spoon.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you make a Black-Eyed Pea Salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can make this salad the night before or one day ahead of time. To make ahead: Cook the black-eyed peas, cool, and drain. Chop the vegetables and combine them with the black-eyed peas. Make the dressing, but keep it separate. Cover and refrigerate. Leave the cilantro out until ready to serve for the best flavor. When ready to serve, pour the dressing over and add the cilantro. This Black-Eyed Pea Salad is best enjoyed within 24 hours, but if stored properly, it will be fine for up to three days.

Can I use canned black-eyed peas?

The texture of canned black-eyed peas won’t be as good. They can be used in a pinch to make this black-eyed pea salad recipe, but rinse them well, as the canned liquid can be salty.

Can I use other beans for this salad?

Yes! Black beans would be a great substitute.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad in white bowl with lemon wedges and cilantro in bowls.

Storage:

  • This Black-Eyed Pea Salad is best after chilling in the refrigerator for 30 minutes for the flavors to marry. Refrigerate any leftovers promptly. If stored safely, this Black-Eyed Pea Salad can last up to three days in the refrigerator.

Serve with:

More great summer salad recipes you’ll love!

Get all my side salad recipes at Side Salads – From A Chef’s Kitchen.

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Black-Eyed Pea Salad in white bowl with lemon wedges and cilantro in bowls.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

5 from 3 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Salad is a light and fresh twist on classic Southern comfort food. Bring it to your next picnic, or serve it with anything you’re grilling this summer. The ingredients can even be prepped ahead of time, making for a healthy and convenient lunch that you can pack and take to work.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course / Dinner Salads
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 385 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 large English cucumbers - seeded and chopped
  • 8 medium plum tomatoes - seeded and chopped
  • 1 small red onion - finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers - seeded if desired, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro - leaves and tender stems, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (approximately 4 large) - or to taste
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Instructions
 

  • Bring a saucepan of unsalted water to a boil. Add the black-eyed peas and boil for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water; drain again.
  • Combine the peas, cucumber, tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic in a large bowl and stir.
  • Add the lemon juice and olive oil and stir again.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper and more lemon juice if desired.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 30 minutes before serving.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD:  Cook the black-eyed peas, cool, and drain. Chop the vegetables and combine them with the black-eyed peas. Make the dressing, but keep it separate. Cover and refrigerate. Leave the cilantro out until ready to serve for the best flavor. When ready to serve, pour the dressing over and add the cilantro.

Nutrition

Serving: 8 | Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 16mg | Potassium: 947mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 730IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 5mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    What a wonderful post, Carol! I’m always looking for interesting, filling salad ideas. Black eyed peas are so pretty, I really need to use them more often. Looking forward to exploring your blog. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    What a wonderful post, Carol! I’m always looking for interesting, filling salad ideas. Black eyed peas are so pretty, I really need to use them more often. Looking forward to exploring your blog. 🙂

    1. Hi, Debra, I’ve always found they cook quickly as long as there is no salt in the water. I think the reason they have a reputation for taking hours to cook is because of the ham hock, bacon, etc. that is usually added to flavor them. Acid also prevents beans from softening up. I’ve made that mistake before!