I don’t know about you, but I love a filling, hearty salad and this black-eyed pea salad definitely fits the bill.
Full of delicious, chopped vegetables and fresh herbs, then topped with a creamy green goddess dressing, this main-dish salad is the perfect lunch or light dinner option to energize your day.
Why I Love a Bean Based Salad
When most people think of salads, immediately they think of a lettuce base. I love using a bean-based salad because they’re a little heartier and are packed with nutrients you’re not going to get from your standard arugula.
Part of the legume family, the black-eyed pea is a great option for your weekly meal plan because they’re an excellent source of calcium, iron, Vitamin A and K, magnesium, zinc, copper, and folate.
They contain antioxidants that help your body fight disease and provide numerous other health benefits including helping to slow digestion to regulate blood sugar. You can count on black eyed peas to help boost your bone health, ease digestion, protect your corneas, and even give you an energy boost.
For those who are vegetarian and vegan, black eyed peas are an excellent source of protein.
For this recipe, I used canned black-eyed peas and they worked perfectly to make this an easy meal to throw together for a quick, healthy salad lunch.
Let’s Talk Salad Dressing
I’m obsessed with making my own dressings because I can adjust the ingredients and seasonings to match what’s in my salad.
I created a green goddess dressing packed with herbs and spices to accompany this salad. It complements the beans and other fresh veggies so well and the creaminess coats the black-eyed peas perfectly, so every bite is packed with flavor.
Which herbs you use is entirely up to you, but I love the mix of parsley, cilantro, tarragon, and dill.
Don’t Skip the Toasted Sunflowers
One thing that makes this dressing recipe so special are the toasted sunflower seeds.
Often, you’ll see people pouring sunflower seeds right out of the bag and into their blender or tossed on top of their salad, skipping the toasting step all together. Don’t do it!
Toasting the sunflower seeds releases so much more of the flavor giving your recipes a smokier, richer taste that just feels more decadent and tastes delicious.
You Control the Spice
A mix of horseradish and cayenne helps add a little kick to this recipe. I didn’t want the dressing to overpower the sunflower seeds or herbs in any way, so I went light on both, but feel free to push the temperature up a bit by adding a little extra of each ingredient to fit your heat preferences.
Note: if you notice more horseradish thickens your dressing too much, add a bit more water to smooth things out.
Black Eyed Pea Salad with Zesty Sunflower Seed Dressing
For the dressing:
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 cup unsalted hulled sunflower seeds
Pinch of cayenne pepper
⅓ to ½ cup water depending on desired thickness
⅓ c olive oil
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
1/2 small garlic clove
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, tarragon, dill, etc.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the Salad:
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
½ red onion, diced
1 can black eyed peas, rinsed
Place a small skillet over medium heat and add the sunflower seeds. Toast them, shaking the
pan, for about two minutes, until they began to become lightly golden and fragrant. Remove
from heat to cool completely.
Place the toasted sunflower seeds, water, lemon juice and zest, garlic, horseradish, and
chopped herbs in a blender and a 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Blend at high speed
until completely smooth, then add oil and more salt and pepper as needed. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Pour over vegetables and garnish with fresh herbs of your choosing (parsley, cilantro, tarragon and dill) and olive oil. as desired.