Sep 10, 2010

Black-eyed pea and roasted sweet potato salad

I’m trying to be more spontaneous in the kitchen, and this black eyed pea and sweet potato salad was a happy result of my experimentation.

I needed a dish to bring to a Labor Day BBQ shindig in the Catskills. I started out with the idea of making Texas Caviar – a dish where black-eyed peas are marinated in a vinaigrette with hot peppers and onions, with some versions also including corn and/or tomatoes. It’s delicious, but like many bean salads, tends to be extremely oily. Now I’m not opposed to oil (as long as it’s a heart-healthy type), but I find oily bean salads a little one-note, and I end up feeling kind of gross after eating a normal-sized portion. So I wanted to come up with a black-eyed pea salad that was less oily, but not dry.

I spied an almost overripe tomato on the counter and on a whim threw it into the food processor along with my vinaigrette ingredients. Stuck my finger in (without the blade running, don’t worry) and it was pretty yummy. But I wanted to spice things up, so I ran out to the garden and yanked a jalapeno off the vine. Into the food processor it went, along with a bit of chili powder, and my tomato-chile vinaigrette was born.

But I wasn’t done experimenting. I decided to go a big step further away from Texas Caviar by adding roasted sweet potatoes for another layer of flavor. Bingo! The completed salad was great – and it was good to be able to eat it without feeling weighed down by tons of oil.

Fans of my black bean and sweet potato salad – seriously, I have a few readers who make this every single week – should try this one for a nice change of pace.

Black-Eyed Pea and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Tomato-Chile Vinaigrette

1 large ripe tomato, peeled seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (ancho if you have it)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds of sweet potatoes)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cups black-eyed peas (cooked from 1 1/4 cups dried, or use two cans, rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 teaspoon lime zest

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the first 9 ingredients (through black pepper) into a food processor and process until smooth.

Combine the sweet potatoes with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet – or use two sheets if necessary. Shake a little salt on the potatoes and roast for about 25-30 minutes, or until just tender and starting to brown. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

Combine the sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas, onion, cilantro, lime zest and dressing.  It might seem like a lot of dressing, but I found that it gets absorbed. If you’d like, start with less and then add more as necessary. Season to taste with additional salt and/or lime juice as you see fit.

Serves 8-10


  • i love the sound of this. great flavor combinations. i’ll be using black eyed peas and sweet potatoes in the coming week, but will have leftovers — now i know how to use them up!



  • Ann

    This dish is delicious and very easy to make. I used all of the sauce and the sweet potatoes did absorb the sauce. I anticipate that it will taste even better tomorrow. Definitely a recipe I will make again and again.

  • That potato salad looks good! The chili powder would go well with the sweetness of the potatoes.

  • Maura

    This salad is excellent! I was completely surprised at how well the flavors went together and the little spice in the dressing was a perfect balance to the sweetness of the potatoes. I’m about to share this recipe with my whole family. Thanks Cathy!

  • That looks incredible! I recently made sweet potato bisque with clementines and sage and loved it. You should try it out!

  • […] Bacon and Maple: Use liquid smoke instead of bacon or use Fakin’ Bacon by Lightlife. • Black-Eyed Pea and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Tomato-Chile Vinaigrette • Stuffed Squash […]

  • Julie

    Cathy, this recipe is EXCELLENT! I used parsley instead of cilantro (I hate cilantro) but it’s amazing. Great blends of flavors. My husband asks me to make it all the time!!

  • […] Bacon and Maple: Use liquid smoke instead of bacon or use Fakin’ Bacon by Lightlife. • Black-Eyed Pea and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Tomato-Chile Vinaigrette • Stuffed Squash […]

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