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New Year's Black Eyed Peas

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Texas caviar

Eating black eyed peas for the New Year is good luck, according to some Southern superstition. This Texas caviar - a.k.a Black Eyed Pea Salad - is a delicious, lucky way to bring in the new year.

You know those things that you do that you think nobody notices and then when you stop doing them your children say, “Why aren’t you doing that thing???”

Like coordinating the Christmas and Hanukkah giftwrapping so all the presents look pretty together. Or hanging the Happy Birthday banner the night before, so that when the birthday girl comes downstairs in the morning she has a “surprise.” Or decorating the breakfast table for the first day of school. 

New Year’s Black Eyed Peas are one of those things in our house. I used to make them every New Year’s and package them up and drive them to every family member and a few friends on New Year’s Day. Eating them for the New Year is good luck, according to some Southern superstition, the origins of which I don’t know, but if they’ll bring luck to my people and me, I’ll make them.

For years, I’d literally stand over my children and my parents and a few others and make them take a bite of black eyed peas – in the form of Texas caviar – for good luck in the New Year, whether they liked black eyed peas or not, whether they were hungry or not. Then I slacked off a little – I stopped running all over town delivering them (I’d just call everyone and make sure they had a bite of a black eyed pea somewhere). Which was okay, until one year a couple of years ago I forgot to make them altogether. My children were not happy. And that totally surprised me, because this was one of those things that I didn’t think they noticed too much.

Now I know. And I’ve vowed that we will always have black eyed peas, Texas caviar – this very version – at the beginning of the year. For luck. To keep my children happy. To perpetuate tradition. And also because they taste pretty darn good.

Wishing you a happy, healthy New Year filled with good health – and good luck!

Texas Caviar (a.k.a Black Eyed Pea Salad)


2 11-ounce containers fresh black eyed peas
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 scallions
1 fresh jalapeño, diced
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
1 16-ounce bag frozen corn, defrosted
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup olive oil

Recipe directions: 

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add black eyed peas, return to a boil, and cook for 8 minutes. Drain the peas. Mix the peas, bell pepper, scallions, jalapeño, cilantro and corn together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and red pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the warm black eyed peas and other vegetables. Taste for seasoning – you may want to add extra salt and pepper or red pepper, or maybe a little extra jalapeño. Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, or keep it for a couple of days in the fridge.

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