Recipes » Salad Recipes » Black Eyed Pea Salad

Black Eyed Pea Salad

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Southern marinated Black Eyed Pea Salad is a versatile and effortless side dish for your next picnic or potluck dinner. 15 minutes to make!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Black Eyed Pea Salad in a vintage serving bowl set on a kitchen towel.

My southern marinated Black Eyed Pea Salad is a versatile and effortless side dish for your next picnic or potluck dinner. It takes 15 minutes to make and lasts for days in the fridge. You’ll love the earthy flavor from the peas combined with the bright, tangy marinade!

This salad is very similar to the traditional three-bean salad that is a staple at southern gatherings, although it’s far lower in sugar than that recipe. It’s easy to make, easy to transport, and almost everyone likes it. Even the little ones enjoy it, though they may pick out the onions :-)

Black Eyed Pea Salad in a vintage serving bowl set on a kitchen towel.

I often serve Black Eyed Pea Salad with a summer dinner of fried chicken, potato salad, and fresh green beans. It adds a bit of vintage southern brightness to the dinner plate and refreshes the palate. 

What Are Black Eyed Peas?


Black eyed peas are a variety of cowpea, rich in fiber and protein. Although we call them peas, they’re actually beans. Both peas and beans are legumes because they have edible seeds and pods.

In southern homes, they’re traditionally served as part of the New Year’s Day meal to bring good luck throughout the coming year. Food historians know that they’ve been grown in China and India since prehistoric times and were also enjoyed by the people of ancient Rome and Greece.

Why We Love This Recipe


  • It’s a make-ahead recipe.
  • Takes only 15 minutes of your time.
  • Lasts a long time in the fridge.
  • Easily doubles or triples to serve a crowd.

Ingredients You’ll Need


  • Black eyed peas (I prefer canned peas for this recipe, but if you want to cook them from scratch you certainly can; canned peas are already cooked – that’s a huge time saver! – and they’re the perfect texture for this salad)
  • Onion (a small yellow onion or half a red onion)
  • Parsley (fresh parsley adds a nice herbal flavor)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (the basic component of the marinade for the salad)
  • Red wine vinegar (lends tartness to the marinade)
  • Garlic (very finely minced since it will be eaten raw)
  • Worcestershire sauce (you may be surprised to see this ingredient but trust me it adds a depth to the marinade that will delight you)
  • Sugar (mellows out all the marinade flavors)
  • Salt and pepper (well, what would we do without them? they’re the yin and yang to any savory dish)

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make the Recipe


Canned black eyed peas being rinsed in a colander under running water.

Start by rinsing and draining two cans of black eyed peas.

TIP: I highly recommend the canned peas for this recipe. They’re cooked to just the right texture and hold their shape very well in the marinade. And they’re just so convenient!

Thinly sliced onion on a small cutting board.

Next slice a small onion very thinly.

Peas, onion, and parsley in a white mixing bowl.

Put the black-eyed peas and onions in a medium bowl along with the chopped, fresh parsley.

Hot marinade being poured over the ingredients in the mixing bowl.

In a small saucepan, add the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture just to a boil. Pour the warm mixture over the peas and onions.

Cover and let stand for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, for flavors to develop.

TIP: I prefer to strain the salad before serving, but it’s not necessary. If you do strain it, save the marinade and put any leftovers back into it for storage.

Recipe Tips


  • You’ll find canned black eyed peas in the same grocery aisle as kidney beans, garbanzos, etc. Look for ones that are “unseasoned” for this recipe.
  • Don’t think of this as a New Year’s dish only! The peas we serve for New Year’s are cooked long and slow and seasoned with smoked meats. This salad is fresh and bright and perfect for summer meals.
  • I strain the salad before serving (a large slotted spoon works well for this), but it’s not necessary. If you do strain it, save the marinade and put any leftovers back into it for storage.

Variations


  • Substitute cilantro or basil for the parsley if you like.
  • Try a different type of vinegar — rice wine vinegar is really nice.
  • For a bit of heat, add a finely diced jalapeno pepper.
  • Add a diced, very ripe tomato, a finely diced zucchini, or diced cucumber to the mixture.
  • For a different flavor profile, substitute fresh lime juice for the vinegar.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I make this recipe ahead?

Yes! In fact, you have to make this in advance. It needs a minimum of two hours to begin developing the flavors. Overnight is even better!

How do I store the salad?

Use a container with a good, tight fitting lid and place it in the refrigerator. This salad keeps for at least a week. Take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving.

Can I freeze this?

Sorry, but no. The peas might freeze okay but the other ingredients won’t do well. Just enjoy it for as long as it lasts refrigerated.

Black Eyed Pea Salad in a vintage serving bowl set on a kitchen towel.

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Recipe

Black Eyed Pea Salad in a vintage serving bowl set on a kitchen towel.

Black Eyed Pea Salad

Southern marinated Black Eyed Pea Salad is a versatile and effortless side dish for your next picnic or potluck dinner. 15 minutes to make!
5 from 4 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Salads
Cuisine: American, Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 300kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 31.6 ounces canned black eyed peas (2 cans) rinsed and drained
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or sugar substitute
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Place the black eyed peas and onions in a medium bowl.
  • In a small saucepan, add the remaining ingredients and bring just to the boil.
  • Remove from heat and pour over the peas and onions.
  • Cover and let stand at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, for flavors to develop.

Notes

Recipe Tips
  • You’ll find canned black eyed peas in the same grocery aisle as kidney beans, garbanzos, etc. Look for ones that are “unseasoned” for this recipe.
  • The salad is best when made ahead, even several days in advance is great. The flavors meld and improve with time.
  • Store the salad in a container with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to a week. Freezing is not recommended.
  • I strain the salad before serving (a large slotted spoon works well for this), but it’s not necessary. If you do strain it, save the marinade and put any leftovers back into it for storage.
Variations
  • Substitute cilantro or basil for the parsley if you like.
  • Try a different type of vinegar — rice wine vinegar is really nice.
  • For a bit of heat, add a finely diced jalapeno pepper.
  • Add a diced, very ripe tomato, a finely diced zucchini, or diced cucumber to the mixture.
  • For a different flavor profile, substitute fresh lime juice for the vinegar.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 223mg | Potassium: 479mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on May 3, 2013 and has been updated with new photos and tips.

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is my favorite recipe Lana ! I make it often especially in hot weather but will eat it any time ! It’s THAT good ! mmmm Cheryl

    1. It’s really good with any kind of grilled, roasted, or fried chicken. Also great with pork chops, grilled or fried, or with steaks. Pretty good with almost anything.

  2. When I was stationed in Ok I went to a bar and the women ( bartender ) had made a black eye bean salad but she had put in a little crushed red pepper flakes in, I didn’t get the exact amounts but it wasn’t to spicy but was very good, if I make your recipe but add the pepper flakes how much would I add ( 1/8 or 1/4 tsp ) what you recommend. Thanks love most of your recipes I’ve made so far.

    1. Depends on how spicy you want it, Larry. Red pepper flakes pack a pretty good punch. I’d start by trying no more than 1/8 teaspoon.

  3. It’s just barely starting to warm up here – but I can’t wait for summer! This looks like the perfect salad to bring to a potluck!

  4. I discovered black eyed peas a few years ago and have never looked back! Always looking for new ways to use them and this salad is right up my alley!! I am jealous… Uncle J’s menu sounds sooooo good!!!

    1. They’re a very Southern product, Nancy, so of course I’ve been eating them all my life! They’re a fantastic protein source, too. And yes, Uncle J’s menu was delicious! But the company was even better.