Black-Eyed Pea Salad — a bold Southern-style salad that produces various and wonderful textures starring black-eyed peas, corn, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado with a luscious sweet citrusy orange-flavored salad dressing. Can be made ahead of time, has no wilting involved, and is perfect for tailgates, picnics, barbecues, and potlucks.
Black-eyed pea has a flavor that simply outshines all other legumes there is. Thus, no wonder it’s hailed from all around the world and can be enjoyed in so many great ways.
But to satisfy my craving for something refreshing due to the weather outside — the heat is killing me — I’ll go for this healthy-packed salad with a zesty kick of orange, lemon, and lime.
Southern Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Traditionally, the Southerners will serve dishes with black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day to bring luck and prosperity for the whole year. They associated this belief as the black-eyed peas resemble pennies or coins.
This Southern pea salad is highly versatile and easily customizable. And since I’m Imma, I’m always up to the challenge of bringing something new to ordinary recipes to make them fancier.
Ever heard of Orange Vinaigrette? Instead of the usual vinaigrette dressing, I went for the refreshingly sweet and orangey dressing for my black-eyed pea salad. It’s a bold move, I know, but it really takes this dish to a whole new level of deliciousness. And I’m pretty proud of it! 😉
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
- Orange – The sweet and orangey flavors blend well with lemon and lime adding a refreshing touch to this cold black-eyed peas salad. You can also use store-bought orange juice as a substitute.
- Lemon – This adds a bright and citrusy flavor to this salad with a revitalizing zing to complement the whole dish. You can substitute it with apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar, however, it will lack the refreshing citrusy taste.
- Lime – Completes the citrus trio combo to make this unique salad dressing with a tropical twist. It balances the overall sweetness and gives a refreshing citrusy taste to the fresh produce.
- Garlic – I love the aroma and flavor of garlic even in a salad like this hearty comfort food black-eyed pea salad.
- Onion – Its slightly spicy taste with a hint of sweetness adds an interesting contrasting flavor to this healthy veggie salad. Check out my How to Cut Onions guide here.
- Cumin – Despite its earthy, pungent, and mildly bitter taste, it can still make any dish flavorful and savory.
- Oil – I prefer using olive oil when making a salad dressing because it’s rich and smooth and blends well with any spices and herbs.
- Honey – To balance the tartness of the citrus-flavored salad dressing base. You can easily substitute it with coconut sugar or regular white sugar.
- Fresh Herbs – Like parsley or cilantro, not only they are great as a garnish but they add wonderful flavors as well.
- Salt and Pepper – A must-have in every kitchen pantry. The best flavor enhancer you’ll ever find that can make or break any dish.
- Black-Eyed Peas – For this recipe, I used leftover previously boiled black-eyed peas. Since I love these beans so much, I always boil a big batch ahead of time and freeze them to save time from soaking and boiling the beans. Chickpeas, lima beans, and roma beans are great substitutes because they have similar flavor profiles.
- Corn – Feel free to add more corn if you love corn as I do! It’ll add a nice texture to this black-eyed pea salad recipe as well.
- Cherry Tomatoes – You can use any type of tomatoes like roma and vine tomatoes. Just slice them in uniform sizes to make your Southern pea salad more appealing.
- Cucumber – It has a nice cooling effect because of its high water content. It has a distinct bold taste which makes it a perfect addition to this cold salad.
- Bell Pepper – Its contrasting taste of bitterness and sweetness adds character and depth to this dish.
- Avocado – You’ll love its smooth and creamy texture addition to this easy salad recipe.
- Vinaigrette – Of course, you can always go back to the basics. 😉
- Feta Cheese – Take it up a notch with the addition of crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese. You can never go wrong with cheese!
- Fiery Hot – Just add a drizzle of hot sauce to your Southern pea salad for a kick of heat. And if it’s not enough, Jalapeno, Habanero, and Scotch Bonnet Peppers are up for the challenge.
- With Basmati Rice – Make it a complete meal with the addition of Basmati Rice like in this Senegalese Black-Eyed Pea Salad version.
- Chopped Nuts – Chopped roasted almonds, cashew, walnuts, or Candied Pecans are great additions, too. You’ll love the crunchy goodness in every bite!
- Fruits – Add more fruit slices like orange, peach, apple, pineapple, and mangoes for a flavor-packed and fun-filled cold black-eyed pea salad.
- Meat Deli – Make it more savory and flavorful by adding your fave meat deli like ham, bacon, and salami. Oh yes!
Serving and Storage Instructions
Okay, I’ll let you in on a little secret… let it soak for at least 2 hours in the fridge before serving and your guests would surely want more of this refreshing healthy salad on their plate. So, be sure to make it ahead for the flavors to fully get immersed.
- Cut the veggies a night before, except for avocado, and place them in separate airtight containers. Don’t forget to refrigerate!
- Make the orange dressing ahead and transfer it to a glass mason jar with a lid. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week. Just shake the jar before using.
- Cooked black-eyed peas can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-5 days and up to 8 months in the freezer. Just make sure to drain them before transferring them to an air-tight container or freezer-safe ziplock bags.
Pro Tip: If you’re making this black-eyed pea salad ahead, it is best to store the veggies and the dressing separately.
Leftover Black-Eyed Pea Salad
- Transfer leftover Southern pea salad in an air-tight container.
- Store it inside the fridge and consume within 3 days to ensure freshness.
You can add more herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme or spices like ginger and pepper flakes to add heat. Cheese also adds wonderful creamy flavor to this Southern pea salad.
It is because black-eyed peas resemble pennies or coins. The Southerners believe that eating black-eyed peas will bring prosperity and good luck for the rest of the year.
Yes, if you’re using dry black-eyed peas. They’ll cook easier and faster if you soak them in a bowl of water overnight. But if you’re using canned beans, no need to soak your beans.
To do this, simply place them in a bowl of water, cover the bowl, and keep them in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or even better, overnight. Then they cook easier.
What to Eat with Black-Eyed Pea Salad?
You’ll feel even luckier by pairing this delicious black-eyed pea salad with these scrumptious recipes below.
More Traditional Southern Dishes
How to Make Black-Eyed Pea Salad?
Cooking Black-Eyed Peas
- Rinse black-eyed pea beans – and pick through and discard any foreign object. (I did not have to do this since I use the packaged beans.)
- Cover beans with water – Add beans to a large pot covering with 3-4 inches of cold water.
- Cover and let sit overnight or about 1-2 hours.
- Drain the soaked beans – rinse, and place the beans in a Dutch oven or pressure cooker. Follow instructions for cooking beans in your pressure cooker. It takes roughly between 8 to 12 minutes to cook.
- Cook the beans until tender – If not using a pressure cooker, cook the beans for about 30- 50 mins, depending on how tender you like them.
Making the Salad
- Squeeze out the juice from orange, lemon, and lime – into a non-reactive pan. Add cumin, honey, garlic, onion, oil, and herbs. Whisk everything together then lightly salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to combine, adjust for seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Drain and rinse beans – from can and place in a large bowl. Repeat this process for the corn. Add diced cucumber, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes. Dice avocados and drizzle with lemon to prevent discoloration, before adding to the rest of the vegetables.
- Pour over the dressing/marinade mixture over the salad – stir to coat, cover, and place in the fridge for 2 hours or more before serving. Take note to stir in occasionally.
- Give it a stir before serving.
Black Eyed Pea Salad
- 1 medium orange
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- ¼ cup onion small sized, diced
- ½ -1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2-3 tablespoon fresh herbs (cilantro or parsley)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3-4 cup black-eyed peas cooked
- 1 can corn
- ½ cup red onion chopped
- 1-2 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
- 1-2 cup cucumber diced
- ½ bell pepper diced
- 1 piece avocado peeled and chopped
HOW TO BOIL BLACK-EYED PEAS
- Rinse black-eyed pea beans and pick through and discard any foreign object. (I did not have to do this since I use the packaged beans.)
- Add beans to a large pot covering with 3-4 inches of cold water. Cover and let sit overnight or about 1-2 hours.
- Drain the soaked beans, rinse, and place the beans in a Dutch oven or pressure cooker. Follow instructions for cooking beans in your pressure cooker. It takes roughly between 8 to 12 minutes to cook.
- If not using a pressure cooker, cook the beans for about 30- 50 minutes, depending on how tender you like them.
HOW TO BOIL BLACK EYED PEAS
- Squeeze out the juice from orange, lemon, and lime into a non-reactive pan. Add cumin, honey, garlic, onion, oil, and herbs. Whisk everything together then lightly salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to combine, adjust for seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Drain and rinse beans from the can and place them in a large bowl. Repeat this process for the corn. Add diced cucumber, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes.
- Dice avocados and drizzle with lemon to prevent discoloration, before adding to the rest of the vegetables.
- Pour over the dressing/marinade mixture over the salad, stir to coat, cover, and place in the fridge for 2 hours or more before serving. Take note to stir in occasionally.
- Give it a stir before serving.
Tips & Notes:
- Feel lucky even if it’s not New Year by serving this dish on a regular day.
- Cook the beans until tender but not overcooked. We don’t want mushy beans.
- When storing, store the ingredients and dressing separately.
- You can add more flavors to this cold black-eyed pea salad by adding more herbs and spices like basil, thyme, ginger, chili peppers, and cayenne powder.