Monday, August 10, 2015

Southern Caviar - Black Eyed Pea Salad

Southern Caviar - a vinaigrette dressed, festive southern vegetable salad twist on salsa, made with black-eyed peas, celery, pimentos, jalapeno, garlic, green onion and fresh tomato, and beloved on the church supper, potluck and entertaining circuits.

Southern Caviar - Black Eyed Pea Salad

I spent the weekend clearing away clutter and doing a bit of organizing. Seems like I had a pile of this and that, here and there and everywhere! Course, I've never been one of those folks who has had a "magazine" house, where it all looks beautiful and pristine, with the latest furniture and decorating trends, and not a thing out of place, as if nobody actually lived there, but... things are lookin' just a tad bit too lived-in around here lately.

Apparently I can either spend time with my grandbabies, review products, develop recipes, write columns, style and photograph food, blog, cook or clean... but not any one of them simultaneously, never mind several at the same time. (Y'all already know which one of these takes priority though, right? ::smile::) And to think... I used to be such a great multi-tasker, ha!

I'm nowhere near done (the garage is the big clutter hole since we moved in and my office isn't much better), though I did make some good headway eliminating piles of papers from flat surfaces and boxes shoved in corners, thank goodness. It's too hot outside to do much of anything else anyway. Seems I've been a bit remiss with dusting too, so I'm catching up on that today and finishing up some laundry that I didn't manage to get through last week. It is Monday, afterall!

Although I had plans for cooking this weekend, we actually had plenty of leftovers to finish off, so that gave me more time for chores, yay! (not) I took a break to watch a movie - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) - a critically acclaimed Oscar, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe winner, after which I wished that I had that hour and 59 minutes back in my life. Must be intellectually beyond me, though I do like the actors in it and I got a little rest by sitting still for a bit.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember that huge bag of purple hull peas I came home with from the Biloxi Farmer's Market. By far, purple hulls are my favorite summertime field pea. I prepared a batch according to my recipe (minus the okra) on page 109 of my cookbook Deep South Dish Homestyle Southern Recipes, and after serving them a second time as a side dish, I still had a few cups leftover. What a perfect time to make this marinated salad to finish them off! While I used freshly cooked purple hull peas, black-eyed peas are actually more common, probably because they are easier to find canned, which work quite well too.

My favorite way to eat this is with tortilla chips as a salsa, but it's also a great side garnish for roasted and grilled meats too, or as a salad, on its own or spooned over shredded lettuce. Easy to make and take, it's also a staple at many southern church suppers, picnics, parties and potlucks. The major difference between how anybody prepares it lies in what the additions are, and the ratio of the sweet and sour in the dressing. I like the balance here, but you can easily adjust the vinegar and sugar to adapt to your own taste.

Here's how I make mine. Nothing much to it really, but delicious all the same. As always, you'll find the full recipe with ingredient lists and measurements located a little further down the page.

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper for the dressing in a lidded storage bowl. Okay to use sugar substitute. To that, add the drained black-eyed or purple hull peas.

Add the salad ingredients, except for the lime juice and herbs. Sweet onion is good here, but I actually prefer purple onion over sweet for this. I also used some celery, pimento, pickled jalapeno, garlic, green onion and fresh tomato, but of course, use what you like. Shoepeg corn is a good add-in, as are beans (black, pinto, red, northern), bell peppers, and I've even seen chopped artichoke hearts added. Cover tightly and refrigerate several hours up to overnight before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge, but consume in a couple of days.

I like a nice squeeze from a wedge of lime over the salad and to stir in fresh herbs, just before serving. Dig in!

Recipe: Southern Caviar - Black Eyed Pea Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 8 hours | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

For the Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Salad:
  • 3 cups of cooked purple hull or black-eyed peas (or equivalent canned)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped purple onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeno
  • 1 (2 ounce) jar of pimentos, well drained
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 wedge lime, optional
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a lidded storage bowl. Add all of the salad ingredients, except the lime and herbs; gently fold dressing over the top and stir. Cover tightly and refrigerate several hours up to overnight before serving. Squeeze lime juice and toss with herbs just before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge, but consume in a couple of days.

Cook's Notes: Okay to use sugar substitute. When fresh tomatoes are out of season, I like to add a can of well-drained Rotel or regular diced tomatoes. For a southwestern take, I add 1 small can of shoepeg corn, 1 teaspoon of cumin and increase cilantro to 2 tablespoons.

May also substitute 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained. For fresh or frozen peas, add 1-1/2 cups of peas to a saucepan. Add water to cover plus one inch, a nub of salt pork and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse and set aside to cool.


©Deep South Dish
Are you on Facebook? If you haven't already, come and join the party! We have a lot of fun & there's always room for one more at the table.

Check These Recipes Out Too Y’all!

Creamy Butter Beans
Southern Style Black-eyed Peas
Southern Field Peas and Snaps

Posted by on August 10, 2015
Images and Full Post Content including Recipe ©Deep South Dish. Recipes are offered for your own personal use only and while pinning and sharing links is welcomed and encouraged, do not copy and paste post or recipe text to repost or republish to any social media (such as other Facebook pages, etc.), blogs, websites, forums, or any print medium, without explicit prior permission. Unauthorized use of content from ©Deep South Dish is a violation of both the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and copyright law. All rights reserved.

Material Disclosure: Unless otherwise noted, you should assume that post links to the providers of goods and services mentioned, establish an affiliate relationship and/or other material connection and that I may be compensated when you purchase from a provider. You are never under any obligation to purchase anything when using my recipes and you should always perform due diligence before buying goods or services from anyone via the Internet or offline.

Bookmark and Share


  1. This is going on my 'must try' list! I love black-eyed peas!

    1. If you like Texas Caviar you'll like this one too!

  2. I've always called this cowboy caviar too, great stuff. I like it as a side dish but could see it with nachos. Recently someone told me where they are from they call it "ugly salsa". Had to laugh at that one, it does taste much better than it looks.

    1. Oh I don't know Chris, it looks fresh and delicious to me!

  3. Could this be canned? I would love to make a good size batch. Or could it be frozen? A friend brings to church suppers and it is always gone.

    1. You know, I don't know for sure. I know that 3 bean salad is available canned in the store but I've never tried canning this at home. I'm sure it would require a pressure canning process. I'm thinking it might be mush if frozen too. Sorry I can't be more helpful!


Thanks for taking the time to comment - I love hearing from readers and I read every single comment and try to respond to them right here on the site, so stop back by!

From time to time, anonymous restrictions and/or comment moderation may be activated due to comment spam. I also reserve the right to edit, delete or otherwise exercise total editorial discretion over any comments left on this blog. If your comment serves only to be snarky, mean-spirited or argumentative, it will be deleted. Please mind your manners.

Related Posts with Thumbnails