Texas Caviar, aka Marinated Black-eyed Pea Salad

This marinated black-eyed pea salad was popularized in Texas in the 1950’s by cookbook author Helen Corbitt, Neiman Marcus’ most famous food -service director.  I prefer purple hull peas to black-eyed peas, so, I always use them in this great summer side dish.

It is best made a day or two in advance, and is good for up to a week, depending on the freshness of your other vegetables.  Best of all, it tastes best when served at room temperature.


  • 1 pound fresh or frozen purple hull peas

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, any kind

  • 1 cup diced red and green bell peppers

  • 1 cup diced red onion

  • 1 cup diced celery

  • 2 cups Wishbone Italian dressing

Place the peas in a medium, heavy saucepot.  Cover with water, by about 1/2 an inch, and bring to a boil.  Boil for 3 minutes, then reduce to a low simmer.  Cook the purple hull (or black-eyed) peas for about 1 hour, at a very low simmer.  About halfway through the cooking process, add 2 to 3 teaspoons salt (I usually use kosher).  Once cooked, drain well.

While the peas are cooking, prep the remaining vegetables.  You can use more or less of any vegetable here; and, you can even add some of your favorites: jalapenos, fresh corn, roasted peppers, diced zucchini…

One key step for the peas to really absorb the flavor is to add the dressing while the peas are still warm.  You may not need the whole 2 cups of dressing, sometimes 1 1/2 is enough.

Buen Provecho!





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