Fresh and Flavorful Southern Pasta Salad Recipe

Step right up, my fellow gastronomes! Are you craving a taste of the South? If you are anything like me, sometimes nothing quite satisfies and tickles your tastebuds like southern cuisine. I have a recipe for you today that will make your soul sing with joy. It is called Southern Pasta Salad with Black-Eyed Peas.

This delicious pasta salad has everything you need to feel at home in the South – succulent black-eyed peas, delightful swiss chard, tangy sun-dried tomato, and sweet onions. The mixture of the shell pasta shape and the beans in this dish gives it a unique twist that is sure to have your guests asking for seconds.

What makes this salad extra special is the addition of brewed coffee in the dressing, a nod to traditional southern cooking’s love for pairing coffee with almost everything. It also has hints of chili powder, ground cumin, molasses, cider vinegar and lime juice – flavors that come together to give this dish an explosion of flavor.

Best of all? This pasta salad recipe takes only minutes to prepare, allowing you plenty of time to relax with friends or family. Whether you decide to serve it as a side dish or as a vegetarian main course, this Southern Pasta Salad with Black-Eyed Peas is sure to become one of your new favorites.

So what are you waiting for? Come on over and let’s cook some modern soul food together!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Pasta Salad With Black-Eyed Peas
Southern Pasta Salad With Black-Eyed Peas

Fellow foodies, let me tell you why this Southern Pasta Salad with Black-Eyed Peas recipe is a must-try. First of all, it’s packed with flavor that’ll make your taste buds dance in joy. The combination of ground cumin, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, cider vinegar, and lime juice makes for a kickin’ seasoning blend that’ll transport you to the soulful kitchen of the South. Trust me;I’ve tried this myself.

But that’s not all; this pasta salad also features an unusual twist with brewed coffee or tea-infused dressing that pairs surprisingly well with the sweet onion, black-eyed peas, Swiss chard, and sun-dried tomatoes. The extra virgin olive oil adds a tongue-coating richness that brings every ingredient together in perfect harmony.

If you’re looking for a filling and satisfying side dish or main course perfect for any day of the week and any occasion ranging from vegan barbecues to Southern-inspired weeknight dinners, then this pasta salad should be on top of your list. It’s like hoppin’ john and caviar salad had a baby and named it Soul Food Goddess.

So go ahead and dive into this hearty pasta salad recipe that’s not only delicious but also nutritious (because #healthymindset), and discover why it’s one of the best Southern salad recipes out there. Trust me; your belly will thank me later.

Ingredient List

Savor the southern flavors of this black-eyed pea pasta salad.
Savor the southern flavors of this black-eyed pea pasta salad.

Ingredients you need to Make Southern Pasta Salad with Black-Eyed Peas

To make this best Southern Pasta Salad recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Black-eyed peas: You will need 1 can (15 ounces) of canned black-eyed peas drained and rinsed or 2 cups of cooked drained black-eyed peas.
  • Small pasta: Use any small pasta shape of your choice, such as elbows or small shells. You will need 8 ounces (227 grams) of pasta, cooked according to package instructions, drained, and rinsed under cold water.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: You will need 2 ounces (57 grams) of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (drained and sliced).
  • Swiss chard: 2 cups (washed and chopped) Swiss chard.
  • Bell pepper and onion: 1/2 cup of diced sweet onion, 1 diced red bell pepper
  • Green onions: A handful of sliced green onions (optional)
  • Jalapeno pepper: Optional to add some spice
  • For the dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of molasses
  • Juice from half a lime
  • Pinch ground cumin
  • Pinch chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Brewed coffee or tea: Optional for added flavour.

All the listed ingredients make a perfect salad combination that would also work as a side dish.

The Recipe How-To

This salad is a perfect blend of tangy, salty, and savory flavors.
This salad is a perfect blend of tangy, salty, and savory flavors.

Preparing The Pasta:

  • First, we need to cook the pasta. I suggest using small shell pasta for this recipe as it holds the dressing well. You can use any type of small pasta shape if you don’t have shells on hand.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and add salt to the water. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until firm but not mushy.
  • Once it’s done cooking, drain the pasta and rinse under cold water. This stops the pasta from cooking more and removes starches that can make the salad gummy

Making The Dressing:

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of molasses, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, and ⅓ cup of extra virgin olive oil until it emulsifies.

Adding Flavorful Ingredients:

  • Next, add in 2 cups of cooked and drained black-eyed peas (you can used canned black eyed peas, just be sure to rinse them), 3 cups of tightly packed chopped Swiss chard, ½ cup each of diced sweet onion and sliced green onions, 2 ounces of julienned sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), 1 heaping tablespoon each of minced garlic and jarred pickled jalapeños or Hot Chicken Pickle juice from Hattie B’s Nashville Hot Chicken.
  • Mix all ingredients well using your clean hands or large spoon.

Adding The Pasta To Make The Salad:

  • Lastly, add in the cooked pasta into the mixing bowl containing other ingredients.
  • Toss until everything is completely combined.

…and voila! Your Southern Pasta Salad with Black-Eyed Peas Recipe is ready to be served.

Substitutions and Variations

Get your pasta on with this delectable salad.
Get your pasta on with this delectable salad.

Ah, the beauty of cooking. One can always experiment and modify recipes to their liking. Allow me to introduce you to some substitutions and variations for this Southern Pasta Salad with Black-Eyed Peas recipe.

Firstly, if you’re not a fan of black-eyed peas or simply don’t have any in your pantry, feel free to swap them for your preferred type of bean. Cannellini beans or chickpeas would work well in this recipe.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to add more vegetables to the mix, Swiss chard or spinach are great options to toss in. You could also try adding some roasted red pepper or diced cucumber for extra crunch.

If you want to switch up the pasta shape, go for it! Instead of small shells, try fusilli or rotini pasta. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

For those who prefer vegan or vegetarian options, you can easily omit the Worcestershire sauce and replace it with a vegan-friendly alternative. You could also use pure maple syrup instead of molasses.

And finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not add a little bit of heat? Try mixing in some hot sauce, jalapeño peppers or cayenne pepper to give this Southern pasta salad a spicy kick.

Remember, cooking is all about finding what works best for you and making it your own. Happy experimenting!

Serving and Pairing

Full of texture and flavor, this salad is perfect for any occasion.
Full of texture and flavor, this salad is perfect for any occasion.

When it comes to serving and pairing this Southern Pasta Salad with Black-Eyed Peas Recipe, the options are endless! It’s a versatile dish that can be served cold or at room temperature, making it perfect for picnics, barbecues, and potlucks.

For a complete meal, you can serve it alongside grilled chicken or fish. The bold flavors of this pasta salad would also complement a juicy steak cooked on the grill. You can even top it with some crumbled bacon or chopped nuts for added crunch.

If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, this pasta salad is just as delicious on its own. It’s packed with protein from the black-eyed peas and could make a great side dish for your favorite vegetarian main course.

It goes well with a variety of drinks too – from iced tea to brewed coffee – but personally, I prefer it paired with a crisp white wine such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.

Whether you’re hosting a traditional Southern gathering or simply want to enjoy some soul food at home, this Southern Pasta Salad with Black-Eyed Peas Recipe is sure to be a hit. Just be prepared to share the recipe because everyone will surely ask for it!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

This pasta salad is the ultimate comfort food for any southern cuisine lover.
This pasta salad is the ultimate comfort food for any southern cuisine lover.

Southern Pasta Salad With Black-Eyed Peas is a great make-ahead dish. You can prepare it up to two days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. In fact, making this pasta salad ahead of time will deepen the flavors and allow them to meld together perfectly.

When storing this dish, be sure to keep it refrigerated at all times. The dressing contains ingredients like mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce which can spoil if left at room temperature for too long. To preserve the texture and flavor of your pasta salad, cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil before refrigerating.

When reheating the dish, there are two methods you can use: microwaving or sautéing. To microwave, transfer the desired amount of pasta salad into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30-60 seconds until fully heated through.

To sauté, simply reheat the pasta salad in a skillet over medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil or butter and stir frequently until heated thoroughly for about 3-5 minutes.

Keep in mind that the longer you store pasta salad, the softer the pasta will become over time. However, this doesn’t mean that it won’t taste delicious! If you find that your pasta has become too soft due to prolonged storage, consider adding additional dressing or seasonings to enhance its flavor.

Tips for Perfect Results

You won't be able to resist the vibrant colors of this hearty salad.
You won’t be able to resist the vibrant colors of this hearty salad.

To ensure your Southern Pasta Salad with Black-Eyed Peas turns out perfectly every time, here are some tips for achieving the best results:

First, be sure to cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Overcooked pasta can become mushy and undercooked pasta can be tough and chewy. Cooking the pasta just right is essential to achieving a delicious texture.

Next, when it comes to seasoning the salad, taste as you go. The amount of salt, pepper or other seasonings you need may vary depending on the ingredients you are using. Add a little at a time until you reach your desired taste.

To add an extra burst of flavor, consider using brewed coffee or tea in your dressing instead of water. The coffee or tea will bring out the other flavors in the dressing and add a unique depth to the dish.

When chopping your ingredients, be sure to cut them into uniformly sized pieces. This will make for an aesthetically pleasing dish and ensure all of the flavors are distributed evenly throughout.

To make the recipe vegan-friendly, simply omit any animal-based products like Worcestershire sauce or swap them out for a vegan alternative. This dish can be enjoyed by anyone, and these substitutions won’t affect its deliciousness.

Lastly, if you’re prepping ahead of time or planning on leftovers, store the dressing separately from the salad ingredients until ready to serve. This keeps everything fresher for longer and lets your guests adjust the dressing to their preference. By following these helpful tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Southern Pasta Salad pro!


As the chef who specializes in southern-style cuisine, I have anticipated some of the questions you might have about this Southern Pasta Salad with Black-Eyed Peas recipe. Therefore, to ensure that even a beginner cook can confidently make this dish, in this section, I will provide answers to some frequently asked questions on this recipe. I aim to provide detailed responses that will equip you with all the essential information you need to know before getting started. Without further ado, let us dive into the FAQ section!

What are black-eyed peas called in the South?

The Vigna unguiculata, famously known as the southern pea, boasts of several colloquial names in the southern regions. The cowpea is one such name used by yankees, but it is unfamiliar to Southerners residing under the lilac-crape myrtle demarcation. The southerners have multiple names for the Vigna unguiculata, which include black-eyed-pea, pink eye pea, purple hull pea, cream pea, and crowder.

Why do you rinse canned black eyed peas?

For recipes that call for black-eyed peas, canned versions work best when speedy preparation is needed. Slow cooking or prolonged exposure to heat can cause them to become soft and undesirable in texture. It’s recommended to rinse the canned black-eyed peas in a colander before using to eliminate any lingering liquid or excess salt.

Do you have to soak dried black-eyed peas before cooking?

Soaking black eyed peas before cooking is not mandatory as they can be cooked perfectly without it. Dry black eyed peas can be cooked in an hour without any issues, and for a quicker cooking process, a pressure cooker can be utilized.

What is traditionally served with black-eyed peas?

Cornbread made with buttermilk and baked in a cast-iron skillet is a quintessential Southern dish, especially when paired with black-eyed peas. Here’s my recipe for an old-fashioned version that will have you coming back for seconds.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, southern pasta salad with black-eyed peas is an exceptional meal that will make your taste buds happy. Not only is this dish packed with flavor, but it’s also a healthy and fulfilling option that can be enjoyed by anyone. With its combination of pasta, sweet onions, and black-eyed peas, you’ll soon find yourself craving this meal all the time.

So, why not give this recipe a try? Whether you’re looking for a new side dish for your summer barbecue or simply want to indulge in some soul food, this salad recipe is the perfect choice. So gather your ingredients and hit the kitchen. Your taste buds will thank you for it!

Southern Pasta Salad With Black-Eyed Peas

Southern Pasta Salad With Black-Eyed Peas Recipe

High-fiber, lower fat pasta salad for summertime lunches that still satisfies my cravings for good old southern comfort food flavor. From Eating Well.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 367.1 kcal


  • 1 cup sun-dried tomato (not packed in oil)
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat small shell pasta
  • 8 ounces swiss chard, washed and cut crosswise into thin strips (not the red variety)
  • 8 ounces smoked turkey, chopped
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee or 1/4 cup tea, such as Lapsang-Souchong
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper


  • Place sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl, cover with boiling water and let stand until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool. Cut into slivers and set aside.
  • Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente, about 5 minutes; add chard during the last minute of cooking. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool. Press to remove excess water and transfer to a large bowl. Add turkey, black-eyed peas, onions and the reserved tomatoes.
  • Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Add to the pasta and chard; toss until well-combined.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 296gCalories: 367.1kcalCarbohydrates: 57.5gProtein: 20.1gFat: 7.2gSaturated Fat: 1.2gCholesterol: 15.9mgSodium: 1032.4mgFiber: 7.8gSugar: 6.6g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Easy, Healthy, Low Cholesterol
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