Black-Eyed Pea and Grain Salad Recipe

This filling vegetarian dish comes together in less than 30 minutes. Texas caviar, the classic combo of black-eyed peas, peppers, cilantro, and scallions, inspired this zesty main dish salad. Black-eyed peas have been a favorite legume in the South for generations. The traditional method of serving is to boil them with ham hocks or bacon and serve with cornbread. In recent years, black-eyed peas have found their way into hummus dips, Southern caviars, and healthier dishes, such as this grain salad, which uses bulghur wheat, an ancient grain. The beauty of many of the popular ancient grains, such as quinoa, couscous and bulghur, is they can add a heartiness and texture to many dishes without adding weight or bulk. Made from cracked wheat, bulgur wheat is often cooked like rice and is the perfect addition to stews, pilafs, salads, and vegetarian burgers. Bulgur wheat is a whole-wheat grain that has been cracked and partially pre-cooked, therefore making it quick to prepare at home. As a whole grain, it's naturally high-fiber, low-fat, low-calorie, vegetarian and even vegan. This dish comes in under 500 calories. Have fun and experiment with different ancient grains and see how they can add a new spin to your daily meals.

Black-Eyed Pea and Grain Salad
Photo: Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Kaye E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
4 serves


  • 1/2 cup uncooked bulgur wheat

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 (15-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 medium ears)

  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (from 1 medium bell pepper)

  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions (about 3 scallions)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 small jalapeño chile, seeds removed, diced (about 2 Tbsp.)

  • 2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)


  1. Bring bulgur and water to a boil in a small saucepan over high. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Spread bulgur in an even layer on a baking sheet, and cool 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, sugar, and black pepper.

  3. Toss together black-eyed peas, corn, bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, cooked bulgur, and dressing. Top with queso fresco.

Test Kitchen Tip

Add a handful of mixed greens for extra volume, or swap out the bulgur wheat for another hearty whole grain like quinoa or farro.

Related Articles