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"When I say black-eyed peas have a long history, I mean long. More than five thousand years ago, they were domesticated in West Africa. The crop spread through the continent, then traveled in slave ship holds to America. In the Carolinas, slaves planted black-eyed peas in the same way they had back home — along edges of fields to keep down weeds and enrich the soil. That's why they're sometimes called cowpeas and field peas. Originally eaten only by slaves, black-eyed peas became a part of all Southerner's meals. But they hold a special significance in the heart of every African-American. We eat them for good luck on New Year's in a rice dish known as hoppin' John. That tradition comes from a long history of black-eyed peas symbolizing luck and prosperity in Africa, where they’re part of spiritual ceremonies too. They're a part of our culinary DNA. And they're delicious.

Black-eyed peas are tender, skin to center, and this helps them soak up sauces. Because they're nice and mild, I drench them with a hot sauce dressing, honeyed yet sharp with garlic and mustard. In this salad, cucumbers and onion balance the peas' creaminess with crunch, and tomatoes burst juiciness. Down South, we call this a sitting salad. It can sit on the summer picnic table without wilting so it's the perfect potluck dish. Get ready for this salad to become one of your favorites." — Carla Hall

Make-Ahead: This salad can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.

Adapted from "Carla Hall’s Soul Food" by Carla Hall. Copyright © 2018 by Carla Hall. Used with permission by Harper Wave. All rights reserved.

FYI! You can order Carla Hall's Nashville Hot Fried Chicken, Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies + more online right now.


  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • One 15-ounce can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 mini cucumbers, cut into ½-inch dice
  • ½ sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or grape tomatoes)
  • ½ cup picked fresh dill
  • 1 pinch crushed chili pepper flakes


Serves: 4


Whisk garlic, vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, honey, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. While whisking, add the oil in a slow, steady stream and whisk until emulsified.

Add the peas, cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, dill, and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss until combined. Serve immediately or let sit at room temperature for up to 1 hour.

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