As part of our occasional series on mayonnaise-free summer salads, I wanted to delve into legumes. On one hand, I don't think I've ever seen a bean salad with mayo, making it a logical choice for a post. On the other hand, I've only tasted a handful of really good bean salads. Quite often, they're just thrown into a bowl and drowned in a cup of sugar and a liter of oil. If it works for you, great. I'm not one to mock a person's preferred beanery.
However, I like my legumes with a little more joie de vivre. (Yes, beans can have a love of life. Why do you ask?) And when it comes to bean salads, it's all about balance and freshness. A good one should look lively and appealing--not like it's already been sitting on the table for a week. Adding herbs and vegetables always helps, as do vinegar and moderate amounts of sweetener and olive oil.
Take YumSugar's black-eyed pea "caviar," for instance. For one thing, the legume of choice distinguishes the dish from your average three-bean salad. There's nary a wax bean to be found. For another, the tomatoes, peppers, and parsley give it a zesty, more vibrant taste. This is distinctly a summer salad, with all the flavors associated therein. Finally, a long marinating period means you can make it, forget about it, and enjoy the whole shebang days afterward. Bonus.
So, next time you want a salad, consider the humble bean. It's more summery than you think.
- Yield:serves 10
- 3 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 3 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped yellow bell pepper
- 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Salt and pepper
Combine black-eyed peas, onion, peppers, tomatoes, parsley, vinegar, oil and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
Marinate for 12 to 24 hours. Serve as a side salad or with crackers or tortilla chips.