Black-eyed peas are more than a New Year’s good-luck charm or a Southern comfort food; they can be used to make this great Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Salad you’ll crave all year long.
This Spicy Black-Eyed Pea salad is a warm-weather favorite of ours that I’ve been making for years!
Though called peas, black-eyed peas are actually beans. Regardless of what you call them, they are legumes that are very good for you. Black-eyed peas are high in fiber, iron, potassium and zinc.
If you have or can find fresh black-eyed peas, by all means use them. Dried black-eyed peas cook quickly in comparison to other dried beans, so they don’t require an overnight soaking. They can be cooked in the amount of time it takes you to prep the other ingredients for this salad. Just don’t add salt to the cooking water; it will prevent the peas from softening up as will any type of acid.
Canned black-eyed peas can be used in a pinch. The texture will not be as good, and canned beans have to be rinsed well. 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. If your dish has a wide range of textures and the beans are simply one ingredient, you can get away with using canned.
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, wear gloves, and do not touch your eyes.) After combining the salad ingredients, refrigerate about 30 minutes for the flavors to marry.
This salad is great on its own or with grilled or otherwise simply-prepared fish, seafood, chicken, pork or beef such as a flank steak.
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
- 3 medium cucumbers
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 5 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
- 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a saucepan of unsalted water to a boil. Add the black-eyed peas and cook 25 to 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool under running water; drain again.
- While the peas are cooking, prepare the vegetables. With a vegetable peeler, remove half of the cucumber skin, leaving thin strips of green all the way around. Cut into quarters lengthwise, remove the seeds and chop.
- Transfer to a bowl and add the chopped onion, tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro and garlic. Add the cooled peas, lemon juice and olive oil and stir to combine.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and more lemon juice if desired.
- Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.