Delicious Black Eyed Peas Recipe for Soulful Comfort Food

Y’allready for some good ol’ southern flavor that will elevate your taste buds to a mystical, mythical world of flavor? Look no further than this Southern Caviar recipe, also known as Cowboy Caviar or Redneck Caviar. This dish is packed with black-eyed peas, diced tomatoes, green peppers, and onions seasoned with a tangy vinaigrette dressing that will have you coming back for more.

But this recipe is much more than just a delicious side dish. It’s a tradition dating back to the New Year’s Day meal of John Egerton’s Southern Food, which believed in the mystical mythical power of this recipe to bring good luck to the New Year. Moreover, it’s an excellent way to enjoy healthy and filling black-eyed peas with a twist of Texan-style preparation.

As a native Southern chef with years of experience in whipping up the best Southern dishes that can make your heart sing like Charlie Daniels’ fiddle, I guarantee it’ll be love at first bite. So let’s get started on this delicious and nutritious recipe!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Caviar (Black Eyed Peas)
Southern Caviar (Black Eyed Peas)

Picture this: It’s New Year’s Eve, you’re surrounded by family and friends, and you’re waiting for the countdown with a delicious southern-style dish in hand. That’s where this recipe comes in. I’m not exaggerating when I say Southern Caviar (Black Eyed Peas) is practically mystical. With its ancient power to bring good luck, this dish is perfect for starting the new year right.

But don’t let its mystique make you think that Southern Caviar is difficult to prepare. In fact, it’s the opposite – this recipe is straightforward and easy to follow. Each ingredient complements the other, creating an irresistible balance of flavors that’s sure to please all palates.

For those who are health-conscious, Southern Caviar is also packed with nutrition. Black-eyed peas are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and iron; tomatoes and bell peppers provide a multitude of vitamins; and garlic carries plenty of anti-inflammatory properties. So not only is this dish a great choice for good luck, but it’s also a smart choice for your body.

In my experience as a southern-style chef, Southern Caviar has always been a crowd-pleaser. It’s flexible enough to be used as either a dip or salad – perfect for any occasion throughout the year! Whether you’re hosting a family gathering or bringing a side dish to a potluck, Southern Caviar will quickly become your go-to dish.

So ditch the old chips and dip routine for something new and exciting – I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Ingredient List

 Southern Caviar: a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional caviar.
Southern Caviar: a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional caviar.

Let’s gather all the ingredients (1) we’ll need for this mystical mythical dish that’s said to bring good luck every New Year’s Eve: Southern Caviar, also known as Cowboy Caviar or Redneck Caviar. This recipe is a Southern classic according to John Egerton, a writer who knows a thing or two about Southern food. You will need black-eyed peas (rinsed and drained), whole kernel corn (drained), and diced green tomatoes. In addition, you will need garlic, purple onions, green peppers, red bell peppers, and lots of fresh cilantro for added flavor.

The Ingredients

  • 2 cans (15 oz) black-eyed peas (drained)
  • 1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn (drained)
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (green)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 purple onion (diced)
  • 1 green pepper (diced)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper

The Recipe How-To

 Perfect for your next party or snacktime.
Perfect for your next party or snacktime.

Time to Get Cooking!

Now that you have all the ingredients prepared, let’s get cooking some delicious southern caviar! Here are the step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Cook the Black Eyed Peas

Get a medium-sized pot, put canned or frozen black-eyed peas and cover with 2 cups of water. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Bring it to simmer over medium heat and let it cook for about 20-25 minutes or until they are tender. Drain, rinse and drain them again under cold water. Get ready with your large bowl!

Step 2: Prepare the Vegetable Mixture

Grab your onion, garlic, green pepper, red bell pepper, and tomato. Wash them first and then dice them finely. You can use a food processor to save time if you have one on hand, but remember to keep it chunky instead of mushy. Combine them nicely in the large bowl.

Step 3: Dress Up Your Southern Caviar!

Add a can of corn kernels (whole kernel corn), make sure it is drained well. Toss all veggies together with cooked black-eyed peas. The last touch we need is to make our salad dressing. In a small bowl mix together salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar, and sugar. Season them at your own preference. Pour this dressing over the mixed vegetables and black-eyed peas evenly.

Step 4: Chill Before Serving

Cover your newly created southern caviar dip tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate from several hours up to overnight so that all flavors get blended together nicely.

Success Tips

  • Strain the vegetables if there is extra liquid while mixing them.
  • Customize your southern caviar recipe by adding more veggies or toppings such as diced ham or bacon along with Italian Dressing.
  • Always taste your dip before serving and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Now that you know how to cook southern caviar, you can enjoy it any time, especially for those special events such as New Year’s or after creating other Southern meals like ham hocks or cornbread. Serve it up with tortilla chips, crackers, or pita bread. You can also try pairing it with different drinks such as lemonade, sweet tea, or even a glass of wine. Next time you have a craving for something tasty and special, give this recipe a try!

Substitutions and Variations

 A colorful and texture-rich experience that will awaken those taste buds.
A colorful and texture-rich experience that will awaken those taste buds.

Welcome to the fun part of cooking, folks! This is where you can really put your own stamp on a recipe and make it your own. The Southern Caviar recipe is no exception. Here are a few substitutions and variations I think you’ll enjoy experimenting with:

– Peppers: If you’re not a fan of spicy food, feel free to use sweet peppers or even roasted red peppers instead of jalapeños or serranos. And if you want to add some extra heat, toss in some diced habaneros or Thai chilies.

– Black-Eyed Peas: You can use any type of bean you like if black-eyed peas aren’t available in your area. Kidney beans, cannellini beans, or black beans all work well here. Or, try a mix of different types of beans for added texture and color.

– Corn: Fresh corn on the cob is always preferred, but frozen kernels will work just fine in a pinch. If you want to mix things up, try substituting the corn for diced sweet potatoes or squash.

– Onions: Red onion gives this caviar an extra pop of color, but feel free to experiment with scallions or Vidalia onions for a sweeter flavor.

– Dressing: A classic dressing for Southern Caviar involves olive oil and vinegar, but you can also use Italian or ranch dressing if that’s more your style.

– Protein: To make this dish more substantial or turn it into more of a main course, consider adding ham hocks or shredded chicken.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating your own spin on this recipe. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different ingredients to make it uniquely yours.

Serving and Pairing

 Savory black eyed peas, diced vegetables, and a tangy dressing combine for a savory treat that is both easy to make and incredibly flavorful.
Savory black eyed peas, diced vegetables, and a tangy dressing combine for a savory treat that is both easy to make and incredibly flavorful.

Oh boy, let me tell you how I like to serve this Southern Caviar! It’s like having a bowl of sunshine on the table. I love to pile it high on top of crackers, tortilla chips or even crusty bread for an irresistible snack to kick off a party. But it’s not just limited to appetizers.

For dinner parties or potlucks, I like to serve this caviar as a side dish with grilled meats or fish. It’s fresh and vibrant flavors nicely complement the smoky flavor of the meat.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try it as a topping on a baked sweet potato or as a filling in a quesadilla? Trust me when I say that the possibilities are endless!

And what about the pairing? Well, let me tell you, Southern Caviar loves crisp white wines and hoppy craft beers! Try this with a Sauvignon Blanc with its acidity and citrus notes or a cold beer with floral and spicy hops.

The beauty of Southern Caviar is that its bold flavors can stand up to many other dishes without overpowering them, making it versatile enough for any menu or any occasion. So indulge yourself and your guests in this culinary gem, and it’s sure to be an instant hit at your next gathering!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A light and refreshing option that won't leave you feeling heavy or weighed down.
A light and refreshing option that won’t leave you feeling heavy or weighed down.

Now that you’ve made your delicious Southern Caviar, you may be wondering about storing leftovers or making this dish in advance. Fortunately, this caviar is perfect for meal prep and storing!

To make-ahead, prepare the recipe as usual and store the caviar in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. The longer the dish sits, the more the flavors will meld together, making it even more flavorful for when you plan on serving it.

When ready to serve, simply remove the container from the refrigerator and give it a good stir. You may also want to add a bit more salt or pepper to taste since cold temperatures can dull flavors.

If you have any leftovers or if you’ve made a large batch, you can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. This makes it the perfect side dish for meal prepping!

When reheating Southern Caviar, gently heat in a skillet over low heat until heated through. You can add some additional vinegar or olive oil, but try not to overdo it or add too much as this could overpower the other flavors of the dish.

Just remember, this dish does not freeze well due to its fresh ingredients. It’s best enjoyed fresh though with its addicting flavor and unique blend of nutrients and colors, there’s rarely anything left over!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The perfect dish to bring to a potluck or picnic: it's easy to transport, serves a crowd, and gets better as it sits.
The perfect dish to bring to a potluck or picnic: it’s easy to transport, serves a crowd, and gets better as it sits.

As a Southern-style chef, I have been making Southern caviar for years, and I am confident in saying that I have perfected my recipe over time. Here are my tips for perfecting this dish:

1. Seasoning is essential: In Southern cuisine, seasoning is the secret to success. For this recipe, I use a sprinkle of pepper, salt, sugar, and garlic clove to enhance the flavors of the dish.

2. Use high-quality olive oil: A good olive oil can make a significant difference in the overall taste of your Southern caviar. Instead of using vegetable oil or canola oil, try using high-quality olive oil.

3. Keep it colorful: The visual appeal of your Southern caviar is just as important as its taste. Using colorful vegetables like green pepper and purple onion will make your dish look like a work of art.

4. Rinse and drain your black-eyed peas: It’s important to rinse and drain your black-eyed peas well before adding them to your dish. Otherwise, the excess liquid from the can could make it soupy.

5. Use fresh ingredients: When possible, use fresh ingredients like diced tomatoes and green onions. Fresh ingredients add more flavor and texture than canned or frozen ones.

6. Serve chilled: Southern caviar tastes best when it’s served chilled. Letting it chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving allows all the flavors to come together.

7. Let it marinate: Letting your caviar sit in the refrigerator overnight before serving will give it even more flavor.

8. Get creative with substitutions: If you don’t have all the traditional ingredients on hand or want to switch things up a bit, get creative with substitutions! Try adding black beans instead of corn or diced red onion instead of purple onion.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to create a flavorful and vibrant Southern caviar that’s sure to be a hit at any gathering.


Before we wrap up, let’s respond to some Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs) on this Southern Caviar (Black Eyed Peas) Recipe. You might have some additional queries or concerns about the dish we’ve presented, so this section aims to provide you with valuable information to help you navigate the recipe and ensure that you get the best results possible. Take a look at our comprehensive FAQ section below.

Why do Southerners eat black-eyed peas?

Black-eyed peas have long been associated with the power to bring good fortune, as suggested by renowned Southern food expert, John Egerton. Moreover, collard greens hold a reputation for their green color like money and are believed to guarantee a financially prosperous new year.

What is the southern name for black-eyed peas?

In the southern region of the United States, the Vigna unguiculata pea is known by various names that are unique to the area. “Cowpea” is a term used by individuals from Northern states, while “black-eyed-pea,” “pink eye pea,” “purple hull pea,” “cream pea,” and “crowder” are commonly used by Southerners.

What can I substitute for black-eyed peas in Cowboy Caviar?

For those who want to experiment, feel free to swap black beans and black-eyed peas with different kinds of cooked beans. The good news is that cowboy caviar can be prepared a day before, but it’s highly recommended to serve within 24 hours of preparation. To guarantee the freshest taste possible, fresh corn is always suggested, although thawed frozen corn is an acceptable alternative. In a pinch, cilantro may be replaced with parsley.

Do you cook black-eyed peas on New Year’s Eve or day?

It’s a common tradition for African-Americans to prepare black-eyed peas on New Year’s Eve, as it’s believed to bring good fortune for the coming year. This belief is rooted in the Southern Food history, where a mystical and mythical power is associated with these peas.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Southern Caviar (Black Eyed Peas) is the perfect dish for any occasion. Whether you’re celebrating New Year’s Eve or just need a delicious side dish for a BBQ, this recipe has got you covered. Not only is it easy to make, but it also has mystical mythical power that brings good luck to all who eat it.

The ingredients are simple and can be substituted or varied to cater to individual tastes. The black-eyed peas are the star of the show, providing a protein-rich and flavorful base for the dish. However, with the addition of other ingredients like corn, tomatoes, peppers, and onions, the dish becomes an explosion of flavors and textures.

This recipe is perfect for those who love Southern cuisine and want to add a new dish to their repertoire. It’s also great for those who are new to Southern cooking and want to try something different. With its easy-to-follow instructions, substitutions and variations options, tips for perfect results, and answers to frequently asked questions; novice cooks can whip up a delicious dish without any difficulty.

So why not give this recipe a try? You won’t regret it. The Southern Caviar will bring a taste of the South to your table and add some good luck vibes into your life. So whether you’re a cowboy or a city slicker, bring some of the South into your life with this mystical mythical caviar that is sure to satisfy your taste buds and your soul.

Southern Caviar (Black Eyed Peas)

Southern Caviar (Black Eyed Peas) Recipe

From Perennials, a recipe book from The Junior League of Gainesville, Georgia.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 12 hrs
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 231.1 kcal


  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped purple onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


  • Combine peas, onion, green pepper and garlic in a large bowl.
  • Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a jar; cover tightly and shake vigorously. Pour over pea mixture and toss gently.
  • Cover and chill 12 hours. Remove garlic clove and drain before serving.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 146gCalories: 231.1kcalCarbohydrates: 29.6gProtein: 7gFat: 9.8gSaturated Fat: 1.5gSodium: 619.1mgFiber: 5.1gSugar: 9.2g
Keyword Easy, Low Cholesterol
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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