This simple, flavorful salad is another Lenten dish we enjoyed this week. Low in fat and high in quality protein and fiber, black eyed peas also contain several types of phytochemicals–i.e. they are rich in lignans, which can play a role in preventing osteoporosis, heart disease and certain cancers. Moreover, the flavonoids in beans may help reduce heart disease and cancer risk while phytosterols, also in legumes, help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Aside from being extremely nutritious, black eyed peas have amazing flavor potential and pair well with a multitude of herbs and spices. For this salad, I simply boiled the dried beans with a bay leaf, then drained them, tossed them with red peppers sauteed in olive oil infused with garlic, coriander, cumin and oregano and finally topped them with some vinegar, chopped scallions and plenty of chopped fresh parsley and dill. A friend and admitted disliker of beans, who came by the other day and enjoyed lunch with us, was taken aback by how good this salad really was. The key is to cook the black eyed peas until tender but still somewhat firm. A mushy bean never makes for a good salad!
Σαλάτα με Mαυρομάτικα — Black Eyed Pea Salad
2 cups black eyed peas, rinsed and picked through
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup olive oil
2 small red bell peppers, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground
Pinch of dried Greek oregano
Dash of cumin
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
3 scallions, green and white parts chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped dill
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Place black eyed peas in a large pot along with the bay leaf and about three inches of water to cover. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the black eye peas are tender, about 45 to 50 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid then drain the peas and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes and ground coriander seeds and cook for a minute. Add the red pepper and garlic to the skillet and cook until the pepper has softened slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.
Place the black eyed peas in a large bowl and gently stir in all the red pepper mixture and the red wine vinegar, adding the reserved cooking liquid as necessary as well. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Just before serving, stir in the scallions, dill and parsley.