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spiced curiosity | balsamic black-eyed pea salad — happy new year
Balsamic Black Eyed Pea Salad #vegan #vegetarian

Thursday, January 2, 2014

balsamic black-eyed pea salad — happy new year, and I’m engaged!

Got some exciting newsI’m engaged! My sweet darlin surprised me Christmas night at my parents’ home in Texas. I couldn’t have been happier to say “Yes, yes, yes!” The next day we said goodbye-for-now to my family and whirled off to Austin for a short engagement-moon. Now we’re back home, and the new year couldn’t feel brighter.


At the start of each year, I usually have a ridiculously long list of resolutions. But this year, I can’t help but bask in gratefulness and get pumped about what 2014 has in store (besides “Smart Snacks in School”). I’m planning a wedding with Hoyd, starting a pop-up dinner series, firing up a guide to the best eats in New York City, booking more photography opps, and cooking up new recipes for you. Pretty darn awesome!

So to kick-off a new year on the blog, I’m sharing a fun variation on a Southern classic: Balsamic Black-Eyed Pea Salad. It’s custom in the South to start off the new year with a bowl of lucky black-eyed peas. Well, after carb-loading on fun stuff over Christmas, I settled on a light but hearty, bean salad to hit the dinner plate.

Balsamic Black Eyed Pea Salad #vegan #vegetarian

I wouldn’t mess with tradition, but I’m actually not a big fan of black-eyed peas. Their flavor tastes like soapy water to me, but you’d never know after taking a bite of this dish. I made a savory sauce out of balsamic, roasted garlic, and jalapeño; lightly sautéed the beans; soaked the spicy onion in lemon juice; and balanced out the acidity with some sweet carrot. The mix is great by itself, but I think it’s even better on a bed of fresh greens.

In addition to being plum tasty, it’s chock-full of nutrients. The fresh vegetables (carrots, onion, celery, and lettuce) create a formidable vitamin cocktail, while the black-eyed peas offer up fiber and potassium.  The sweet lil‘ allium garlic also gives a unique mix of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients. Sprinkle on some ground flaxseed for a boost of Omega-3 fats, and the new year is looking healthier already.

Balsamic Black Eyed Pea Salad #vegan #vegetarian

I hope you thoroughly enjoy the dish. Here are two other black-eyed pea recipes if you’re interested: Black-Eyed Pea Soup and Cowboy Caviar. Happy new year!

balsamic black-eyed pea salad — happy new year, I’m engaged!


  • Dressing
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (+ 1 tsp honey if it's cheap)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salad
  • 1/2 red onion – minced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas – rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 celery stalks – thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots – thinly sliced
  • 3 cups mesclun lettuce
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice the tips off the garlic head and remove white paper cover. (Don't worry about peeling every single piece, but rub off most of the paper with your fingers.) Dry roast jalapeño and garlic head on baking dish for 15 minutes. Remove pepper and let cool. Continue cooking garlic in 5 minute intervals until lightly browned and creamy (you may get some bubbling!). Deseed and devein the pepper, then coarsely chop. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skin and remove any browned pieces.
  2. Place the onion in a tiny, flat bowl and cover with lemon juice. Let sit for 15 minutes, or until other ingredients are assembled. (The longer it soaks, the more mellow its flavor. So if you want a spicy salad, let sit for about 5 minutes.) Strain the lemon juice.
  3. In a food processor add the jalapeño, cloves, and balsamic vinegar until creamy. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until combined.
  4. Warm up the coconut oil in skillet over medium heat. Sautée the beans, and salt to taste. Combine in a large bowl with the onions, celery, carrots, and dressing. Serve atop the bed of lettuce.

I shared this with y’all, Minimal Ingredient Monday, and Waste Not Want Wednesday.

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