Texas Caviar with Homemade Dressing — tasty black-eyed peas for a lucky 2013

Texas Caviar

If you want to do one thing to take the health of your mind, body, and spirit to new heights in 2013, I highly recommend taking up yoga. Hands down, it is one of my favorite activities. No other form of exercise or relaxation simultaneously strengthens the body, focuses the mind, and calms the spirit. I enjoy a variety of classes, but my all time favorite is vinyasa flow. I always walk out of the studio feeling completely renewed and ready to handle whatever challenges the day may present.

Now, if you want to bestow good luck on your friends and family in 2013 by feeding them a tasty black eyed peas recipe, try this Texas Caviar with homemade dressing. In my opinion, this dish deserves bonus points because it doesn’t require you to stray from your commitment to only eat appitizers, dips, and leftover holiday goodies on New Year’s day. (Maybe that’s just me.)

The tradition of eating black eyed peas for luck and fortune originally began as a Jewish tradition for Rosh Hashanah and has been recorded as far back as the Babylonian Talmud (according to this wikipedia article). In the United States, legend states that American’s first adopted this tradition during the Civil War era. Apparently, Union soldiers started burning all of the Southerners crops except for the black eyed peas. At that time, Northerners thought that black eyed peas were grown simply for animal feed, so not worth burning. The Southerners rejoiced and decided that their Jewish neighbors were correct. Black eyed peas truly provided luck and fortune.

Regardless of whether this legend is true or false, I love traditions. Sharing this story, and enjoying black eyed peas on New Year’s Day, is one that I am excited to start with our little family. In addition to being a fun tradition, black eyed peas are also nutritional powerhouses. Not only are they packed with fiber and antioxidants, they also can help stabilize blood sugar and contain natural detoxifiers that will help our bodies eliminate the holiday sludge. Who knows? Maybe the true luck and fortune is the way eating black eyed peas will benefit our health and our waistlines in 2013.

From our family to yours, we wish you many blessings and the happiest of  new years!

When making this dip, be sure to let the dressing cool before adding it to the other ingredients. This will prevent your veggies from getting mushy from the heat. Leftovers taste delicious spooned over white fish or chicken, or as a side item alongside other holiday leftovers. (Of course, on New Year’s Day, we will be eating them with organic tortilla chips, shrimp cocktail, healthy-(er) Rotel dip, and other finger foods while watching football.)

Texas Caviar

START TO FINISH: 20 minutes, mostly active
Serves 12 – 14

For the caviar: 
16   oz can pinto beans
16   oz can black eyed peas
16   oz can white hominy
4     oz can jalepeno peppers
3     stalks of celery
3     roma tomatoes
1     green bell pepper
1     small red onion

For the dressing:
⅓    cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓    cup apple cider vinegar
¼    cup organic cane sugar
1½  tsp sea salt
1½  tsp black pepper
1½  tsp dried epazote, optional

Ingredient note: Canned jalepeno peppers are the type of jalepenos that you get on nachos at a baseball game. At our market, they are located by the diced green chilies. Epazote is a classic Mexican herb that adds a bit of  “what is that flavor” factor to a dish. If you can find it, I highly suggest you use it. If not, no big deal, it will still be delicious!

Instructions:

Prepare your dressing: Heat a small saucepan over medium heat for about five minutes. When hot, add all ingredients listed under “for the dressing”. Whisk constantly just until mixture comes to a boil and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow dressing to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

Prepare your produce: Dice 3 stalks celery, 1 green bell pepper, and 1 small red onion into pieces that somewhat resemble the size of beans. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Do the same thing with the tomatoes, being mindful to remove as many of the seeds and liquid as possible. This will keep your salsa, I mean caviar, from getting too watery. Add tomatoes to mixing bowl.

Create your caviar: Drain, rinse, and thoroughly drain pinto beans, black eyed peas, and hominy. Add them to your prepared produce. Drain and chop jalepenos, then add them to the bowl. Pour cooled dressing over all ingredients and stir until well combined. Unless serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. For the best flavor, remove caviar from fridge 30 minutes before you plan to enjoy it. Serve with your favorite organic tortilla chips and enjoy!

Notes: This dip is naturally vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and dye-free. In other words, perfect for serving to crowds with assorted allergies and food restrictions. Score!

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