The tradition of eating black-eyed peas to bring prosperity dates back to 500 A.D. The Talmud mentions the eating of black-eyed peas on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
Jews brought this tradition to the Southern United States around the 1730s and it started spreading around the American Civil War.
The peas are traditionally served with ham or bacon, collard or mustard greens and cornbread. While that preparation is absolutely delicious, I wanted to create something a bit healthier.
This salad is served over arugula, but feel free to substitute any late-winter greens you have growing in the garden.
I like to leave the dish rustic, fun and playful, so don’t finely mince the ingredients. That way no two bites will taste the same.
Black-Eyed Pea Salad
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (plus a teaspoon of the grated zest)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 cups peeled and diced cucumbers
- 1 14-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed
- 2/3 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup slivered red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped black olives
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
- big handful herbs such as mint, cilantro, parsley and scallions – roughly chopped
- Whisk oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic and pepper in a large bowl until combined.
- Add cucumber, black-eyed peas, bell pepper, feta, onion and olives. Toss to coat.
- Just before serving add the herbs. Serve at room temperature or chilled.