Healthy ‘Texas Caviar’ Southern Pea Salad Recipe

| 7/28/2016 11:06:00 AM


Until I moved to a farm in rural Texas and met my late husband, I had never heard of purple hull peas and had only a dim knowledge of any kind of Southern pea. I learned that folks here mostly cook these beloved peas with quantities of one or another fatty pork.

Although this is similar to the way we Yankees bake beans, I wanted to try something healthier, more Mediterranean. I researched a bit and came up with a pea salad they call Texas Caviar and developed my own version of this healthy, nutritious dish.

I’ve only made this salad with fresh or fresh-frozen peas, but I suppose it will work with canned or cooked dried peas. Freshly shelled, the peas should be a pale cream color with a purple-ish “eye." Avoid packages of peas in a market that have turned brown — they’re already fermenting and good for nothing more than the compost pile.

Purple hull, black eye, zipper cream or lady peas are all actually beans, even though in the South they are called peas. They are legumes, an important vegetable protein and, combined with a whole grain, make up a complete protein.

The sweet little round green peas we love in the North? In Texas, they call them “English peas”. I’ve never heard an explanation for that.

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