My husband used to sing 'Brown-Eyed Girl' to me when we were dating. It always made me love him more--how can you not love a man that celebrates a common trait in an average woman? Black eyed peas are the only legume with a human characteristic. Makes me think they're a little special among the more common beans and peas. Maybe that's why I always felt this kinship to black-eyed peas....they're a little misunderstood. It's unfortunate, because they're quite versatile and the more I make with them, but more please I am with them! Black-eyed peas are delicious. I recently used them in a salsa and was super impressed. Will post on that sometime--but, in the meantime, try this great little side that comes together quite quickly if you have the peas cooked ahead of time.
Some fun facts about black eyed peas:
- Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is considered to bring good luck (mainly in the South)
- Black-eyed peas are heat-loving and do well during droughts.
- They produce a lot of nectar and large crops can be used for honey.
- They were introduced in the United States in the 17th century in Virginia.
- It is thought black-eyed peas originate from India and China but brought to West Africa by slaves.
- They are originally named 'cowpeas'.
- They are a key-ingredient to Hoppin' John--which is considered a staple in African-American soul food.
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
I came up with this simple, easy lunch salad one afternoon and we have loved it so much that we've made it three times so far. It's great alongside sandwiches on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and terrific with a slice of homemade brown bread and a hunk of good cheese such as Manchego. It's even good with some feta sprinkled on top. Add more veggies, if you like!
This deli-style salad stores well and would make a great summer side at a picnic. It would also make a great salad to eat on a weekday lunch at work. Try it! It's very healthy, very good.
BLACK EYED PEA SALAD
- 1 (16 oz.) package frozen black-eyed peas
- 1 big bell pepper, diced (preferable red, yellow or orange)
- 3 green onions, sliced (white & green parts)
- 1 medium carrot, shredded or grated
- 1 (10 or 12 oz) package grape tomatoes, rinsed and dried
- 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (or more, to taste)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Salt & pepper, to taste
Cook black-eyed peas according to package directions (should be 45 minutes or just a little over that). Cool the peas. (You can do this step a day or two in advance and store cooked peas in the fridge until you're ready to toss with the rest of the ingredients).
Gently toss the chilled peas with the vegetables and olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. Serve or return to the fridge until ready to serve.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator--will keep for a day or two.