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Salads, Vegetarian

Bean Salad With Cumin Vinaigrette

This past New Year's Day, a few hours after returning from a three-day trip to San Diego, we gave a big open house. My friend Elizabeth said, "Well, you can do that, because you're a cook." But the real reason ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour | Serves 4 to 6 main-dish servings or 8 starters


  • 1 pound black-eyed peas, washed and picked over
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt

Step 1Combine the black-eyed peas and water in a soup pot, casserole or Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and spoon off any foam. When all the foam has been spooned off, add the onion, garlic and the bay leaf. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add salt to taste, about 2 teaspoons, and continue to simmer until the beans are thoroughly tender but still intact, another 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 2Taste and adjust the seasonings. Drain the beans over a bowl (reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid for the vinaigrette) and return them to the pot or transfer to a large bowl. It's fine if some of the broth remains.


  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar or Sherry vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, pounded or pressed, optional
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup cooking liquid from the beans
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Step 1Mix together the vinegar, garlic, mustard, cumin, salt and pepper to taste, bean liquid and olive oil. Stir the vinaigrette into the beans.


  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 to 4 cups baby arugula, spinach, or salad greens, optional

Step 1Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve the salad from a large bowl or earthenware pot, or if using the greens, line a big salad bowl or platter, or individual plates with the salad greens. Give the beans a stir, pile them onto the greens, and serve.

Note: Although I usually use black-eyed peas for this salad, you could also make it with black beans or pintos, or a combination. The beans in their marinade will keep for 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator, but if you aren't serving them right away, add the cilantro just before serving. If you make the salad with black beans or pintos, you will have to soak the beans, and the cooking time will be longer--about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. To make this with canned beans, use 4 cans of beans, and substitute olive oil for the bean broth. Drain and rinse, and proceed with the salad instructions. If you're serving the salad warm, add the red and green bell peppers and cilantro. If serving it cold, allow the beans to cool slightly and refrigerate them, 2 to 3 hours. Shortly before serving, stir in the bell peppers and cilantro.
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