Hoppin’ John Salad

I came up with this recipe a few years back to use up some leftover black-eyed peas and it was a hit with my customers. They always got excited to see Hoppin’ John salad on my menu. Technically, it’s not really a true “hoppin’ John” because I don’t use rice, but you could toss in some wild rice and it would only add to the flavor. In the South, this salad is similar to what some people call “Redneck Caviar”. Like any good marinated salad, it can be made just prior to serving, but it’s even tastier if made a day or two ahead. The longer it “marinates” in the frig, the better it tastes.

For 4 to 6 servings:

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen black-eyed peas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (the tomatoes, not the pint)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
Put the frozen peas, bay leaf and salt in a pot. Cover peas with water and cook at a slow boil for 45 minutes, or until peas are tender. Drain, rinse with cold water and place peas in a large salad/mixing bowl.
Add all remaining ingredients to the chilled peas, using salt and cracked pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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