Give Peas a Chance

Black-eyed peas are a tradition on New Year’s Day to bring good luck in the coming year.  This tradition reputedly dates back to ancient Babylonia and the time of the Pharaohs.  The superstition is that those who eat the modest pea are showing their humility in the face of the ancient Gods.  This superstition was picked up in the American South during the Civil War period.  Up until that time black-eyed peas were strictly used to feed cattle and other farm animals.  In fact, they were called cowpeas or field peas.  During the Battle of Vicksburg, the town was under siege by the North for over 40 days.  No supplies could come in or go out.  So the townsfolk ate those humble cowpeas to stave off starvation.

But what if you really don’t care for black-eyed peas (they are a bit “earthy”?  Do you really want to face the new year chancing that they don’t bring good luck and demonstrate humility to the Gods?  No!  Turn them into a salsa.  Everyone loves salsa.

Black-Eyed Pea Salsa


  • 1 15.5-ounce can black eyed peas
  • 1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Drain and rinse black-eyed peas and place in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.

Serve over butter leaf (Boston) lettuce with tortilla chips, if desired.

From Family Circle Magazine.

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