Sunday, August 09, 2009

Recipe for Southwestern Bean Salad with Black Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Peppers, and Cilantro

Southwestern Bean Salad with Black Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Peppers, and CilantroAt a recent neighborhood party I ran into an old friend, and when she found out I was now a food blogger, she told me enthusiastically about her favorite salad recipe featuring black beans and black-eyed peas. I'd never used black-eyed peas in a salad like this, so I listened carefully, (mentally editing out the canned corn that wasn't South Beach friendly and replacing it with lower-glycemic diced bell peppers.) This salad inspired by her description is exactly the type of dish I love to make when it's hot and you don't want to turn on the stove. I tested the recipe on Ben, (the most adventurous eater of the contractors working on my house), and we agreed one thing that really makes this combination work is cutting the diced red and green bell peppers as small as the beans, so every bite of salad has some crunch and the full blend of flavors. I loved this salad, and if you like black-eyed peas, I'm betting you will too!

First mix up the spicy dressing with cumin, ground ancho chile pepper, lime juice, white balsamic vinegar, and Spike. (You can substitute for a few of those things if you don't have them, see the recipe.) Lori's salad used bottled salsa and bottled Italian salad dressing, which I think might also be pretty good.

Mix 1/4 cup of the spicy dressing into the drained black beans and black eyed peas and let them marinate while you prep the other salad ingredients.

Finely dice the red and green bell pepper, making the pieces the same size as the beans, and then stir into the bean mixture.

Chop a red onion into that same size pieces, and stir it into the bean-pepper mixture.

Then wash, spin dry, and chop cilantro and stir it into the bean-pepper-onion mixture. Add more dressing to taste, season with salt and pepper, and serve!

Southwestern Bean Salad with Black Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Peppers, and Cilantro
(Makes about 4 servings, salad inspired by Lori's description of her favorite easy bean salad.)

1 can black beans
1 can black-eyed peas (see note in recipe)
1 red bell pepper, chopped into pieces the same size as beans
1 green bell pepper, chopped into pieces the same size as beans
1 red onion, chopped into pieces the same size as beans
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup chopped cilantro)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
1 tsp. Spike seasoning (optional, but recommended)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground ancho chile pepper (or use chile powder)
3 T fresh lime juice
2 T white balsamic vinegar (or use white wine vinegar)
6 T olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
(This is probably more dressing than you need for the salad, but if you refrigerate leftovers and eat them later, it's nice to have a little extra dressing to mix in.)

Drain black beans and black-eyed peas into a colander placed in the sink, rinse with cold water until no more foam appears, then let beans drain at least 5 minutes. (You can pat dry to speed it up. I made this twice with different brand of black-eyed peas, but next time I might try 1 cup frozen black-eyed peas, which are usually a little firmer.)

While beans drain, put Spike seasoning, ground cumin, and ground ancho chili pepper in a small bowl, then add lime juice and white balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Whisk in the olive oil a tablespoon at a time, until dressing ingredients are well combined.

Remove drained beans from colander (blot dry with paper towel if they still seem wet) and put them in a bowl large enough to hold all the salad. Mix 1/4 cup of dressing mixture into the beans and let them marinate while you chop the peppers, onions, and cilantro.

Chop red and green bell pepper into small pieces about the size of beans (I cut off the stem and bottom end of the peppers, cut out the seeds, then cut a slit down one side of the pepper and flatten it out for an easy way to cut small pieces like this. Be sure to also chop up the stem and bottom ends!) Add chopped peppers to the beans. Chop red onion into pieces the size of beans, and add to beans and peppers in the bowl.

Wash cilantro and spin dry in salad spinner or dry with paper towels. Finely chop cilantro, then stir into beans, pepper, and onions in bowl. Add additional dressing until the salad is as moist as you'd like it. (You probably won't need all the dressing, but save it to re-moisten any leftover salad after it's been refrigerated.) Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and serve. The salad can also be made ahead and chilled before serving.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This salad with low-glycemic canned beans and healthful fresh ingredients is a perfect choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet. Think this would make a great side dish for something like Grilled Fusion Chicken or Southwestern Pot Roast.

More Recipes with Black-Eyed Peas:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Indian Spiced Black-Eyed Peas with Tomato and Curry Leaves from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chipotle and Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Double Cilantro from Kalyn's Kitchen
Black-Eyed Peas with Fenugreek and Tomatoes from Lisa's Kitchen
Crockpot Black-Eyed Pea Soup from A Year of Slow Cooking
African Sweet Potato Soup with Black-Eyed Peas and Beans from Karina's Kitchen
Turkish Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Pomegranate, Walnuts, and Zahtar Dressing from The Well Seasoned Cook
Edamame, Black Bean, and Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette from Well Fed
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. Cutting the bell peppers to match the size of the beans is a great tip. You're ensured a well-balanced bite every time. This recipe is being sent to my printer for that dressing alone!

  2. Many of the recipes I've seen for "cowboy caviar" include black-eyed peas and I usually substitute black beans. I like this version of combining them and would love to try it. Really beautiful -- can imagine all the textures and great flavor!

  3. This is my kind of bean salad! I like all of the vibrant colours in it.

  4. Wow, that looks delicious. Forget the fork, just give me some tortilla chips and I'll dig in!

  5. Looks delicious! I love your salad recipes, another great one to try!

  6. Just my kind of summer bean cool salad! Answers the need for crunch, tasty and filling!

  7. Your photos are wonderful and really highlight the colors in this salad. I love ancho chile powder in dressings for bean salads, and while I might substitute parsley for the cilantro, I'd do everything else just the way you've done it in the recipe.

  8. Such a gorgeous salad! I can imagine how good this would be on a hot day :)

  9. Looks delicious, Kalyn! I like the small diced peppers. Couldn't you use fresh corn cut from an ear for this? Or is it just too high in sugars?

  10. This is the perfect salad for a summertime party or picnic. I love everything in it!

  11. Sorry I am not responding, I'm busy making dinner for my dad and a few siblings. Just wanted to say, Christine, corn is too high in sugar, yes. (Sigh.)

  12. So many of my favorite flavors... and I love black eyed peas. The colors in your photos are so vibrant and appetizing. Gorgeous!

  13. Sounds yummy, I will have to try it this week. I feel compelled to add sliced avocado to it. I think everything tastes better with a little avocado!

  14. oh yes this really is a lovely bean salad. i've never seen canned black-eyed peas before only dry ones but i think we could sub them with other beans i presume. barlotti or butter beans would be great too!

  15. This sounds like a great alternative to the three-bean (or four) salad I've enjoyed over the years. That salad is great, but I would love a bean salad with a real kick, and this definitely sounds like it.

    As Chris said, I bet it would make a great dip, too.

  16. This sounds very delicious! I love how colorful it is, it makes it LOOK as good as it TASTES.

  17. carole with and "e" in NYCAugust 10, 2009 at 6:46 AM

    Thanks for this Kalyn. It reminds me of a salad I haven't made in years that was always a big hit, even with my husband who usually puts his nose up at the mention of "beans." My salad used three types of beans (black, pinto and chickpeas, all three canned) and I mixed in lots of things you use in this but with the addition of chopped up bread and butter pickles. Not sure if they are South Beach friendly, but they added a really good taste to the three-beaner. So thanks for reminding me to make this or mine really soon -- especially as it is hitting 90 degrees today here in New York.

  18. thanks for these great recipes and the excellent photography...just found this site and really love the good healthy suggestions...will be cooking from this site often.

  19. YUM! A gorgeous recipe, Kalyn! I want to make this today!!! I'll let you know if I do!!!!!

  20. I collect bean salad recipes like others collect fine antiques.

  21. Looks great. I've been looking to experiment with black-eyed peas. Great for grilling out too, cause you can't just eat cheeseburgers with potato salad every time...

  22. Lovely, I think I'm gonna prepare this recipe today. I have never ever cook anything with black eyed peas before.

    ps. too bad corn is too high on sugar!

  23. I usually make black eyed pea salad as I just love it. Although I have never added vinegar to it. But this time I will try it your way.

  24. This sounds really yummy! Looks wonderful as well, all the different colors, very appetizing. And I love the tip on cutting everything to match the same size. This will really give an equal taste and serving of each ingredient with every spoonful! Thanks!

  25. This actually sounds pretty good and I know I have a bag of black eyed peas in the freezer. Perfect salad to grab to take to lunch at work!

  26. This looks healthy, colorful, and delicious. A great trio for eating!

  27. I made this tonight with dry beans that I cooked myself. I added avocado, cherry tomatoes and some pepitas on top. So good! Thanks for the great recipe!

  28. I love your addition of pepitas! So glad you liked it.

  29. I found your blog through a link to this recipe on someone else's blog. I was looking for some vegetarian South Beach recipes that would be good take along lunches. This recipe looked interesting. I did have to make a couple of substitutions based on what I had on hand and personal preference: cider vinegar for the balsamic, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder for the Spike and parsley for the cilantro. I also added 1/4 cup of corn which I know is not an approved SB ingredient but it added color and sweetness and I figured 1/4 cup for 4 servings wouldn't be too bad. This was so quick to put together, so colorful, so healthy and best of all, SO tasty. I will definitely be putting this in our regular lunch rotation and making this for our club's next picnic pot-luck. Now off to find more of your recipes to try. Thanks!

  30. Just made this and it's fantastic! Only changes I made were replacing the green bell pepper with a yellow, the addition of a diced jalapeno, plus one extra can of black beans to stretch it out a little more. Thanks for sharing this - a big hit in my house!


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