African Black-Eyed Pea Salad

African black-eyed pea salad

This recipe caught my eye as I was poring over the May issue of Saveur Magazine on the flight home. It’s from a feature on Senegal, which is a country that has recently been brought to my awareness by my new friend Bill. Bill has told me stories about his time in Senegal a couple of years ago; Penny de los Santos‘ vibrant, rich photographs of Senegalese cooking and culture brought his stories to life for me.

black-eyed peas and parsley

This salad is not one of the signature Senegalese dishes that Bill described to me, but it seemed fresh, light and simple, which is precisely the kind of food I’ve been craving since gorging myself on Milk Bar treats and white bread sandwiches in New York.

green onions and red bell pepper

Since I got home, I’ve been mulling over the people and personalities I encountered during my trip. I feel honored to have had the chance to hang out with such fine bloggers. The voices behind each blog rang true; each person was exactly as I had imagined them to be. It was almost like all my favorite characters came to life.

I met so many great people at the Saveur party and on Veronica‘s rooftop that listing them by name seems a futile effort, but thank you to all for being so individually wonderful. Highlights included late night Shack Shack with Alaina, Nicole, Kimberley and Cara, riding the subway to Long Island City with Kasey and chattering away about the realities of food blogging with Sarah, Laura and Yossy. Big thank you to Elizabeth for hailing a cab for this clueless Oklahoma girl in the rain, to my good friend Samee for accompanying me on the trip and to Kyle for being the greatest host and tour guide ever. It was grand.

how to make african black-eyed pea salad

African black-eyed pea salad recipe

saladu nebbe recipe

African Black-Eyed Pea Salad (Saladu Ñebbe)
5.0 from 4 reviews
Serves: 4 to 6
Black-eyed peans are not just for New Years! They are delicious little white beans with a mild taste and smooth texture, and as such can and should be enjoyed year-round. This simple, refreshing bean salad recipe makes a great summer side or potluck dish. I added leftover brown basmati rice and sliced avocado to make it a complete meal.
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2½ limes, juiced)
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 5 cups cooked black-eyed peas (roughly 3 cups dried peas makes 5 cups cooked, see notes for cooking instructions)
  • 10 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 serrano peppers or 1 habanero or Scotch bonnet chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cooked brown basmati rice (optional)
  • Sliced avocado (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice and parsley. Continue whisking as you slowly drizzle in the olive oil to make a smooth dressing.
  2. Add the black-eyed peas, scallions, bell pepper, tomato (try not to transfer the tomato juice and seeds to the salad), cucumber, and minced pepper to the bowl. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and use a big spoon to toss the salad. Cover and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate up to overnight to marinate and meld the flavors. Serve chilled or at room temperature. To make this salad a main dish, serve it on top of cooked brown basmati rice and top with avocado slices.
Adapted from Saveur Magazine, May 2012.
The original recipe called for one cup canola oil, which seemed like way too much oil. I reduced the oil by half and used olive oil instead. You might be able to get away with just ⅓ cup oil.
How to cook black-eyed peas: Pick through 3 cups dried peas to remove debris. Soak overnight in ample water. Drain, rinse and return to a large pot. Cover with water by a few inches (about 9 cups water is ideal) and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, scooping off the white foam from the surface as best you can. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Test the beans for doneness after 20 minutes, they may take up to 45 minutes depending on the age of the beans. You want tender, but not mushy, beans. Add salt during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain the beans and return them to the pot to cool.
Make it tomato free: Omit the cherry/grape tomatoes.


  1. says

    This sounds like a perfect salad for summer nights–or for picnics on the weekends! I’m glad to see that avocado in there too. :)

  2. says

    I read a lot of cooking blogs, but I’ve subscribed to yours, because everything looks fresh and delicious (and mainly veggie), including this salad. I love black-eyed peas–perhaps my Southern roots. I make a very similar salad, but stir in some pomegranate molasses and chopped toasted walnuts, and then it’s a Turkish salad.
    Thanks for your great recipes!

    • says

      Thanks for your sweet comment, Cat! I am just now learning to love black-eyed peas, can’t get enough of them! Your Turkish salad sounds great!

    • says

      I wasn’t sure if I liked black-eyed peas before I made this salad, but now I think they might be my favorite white bean! Love the small size, smooth texture and delicate taste. Hope you’ll give them a try!

  3. says

    These looks so fresh and tasty. I made my first black eyed pea salad a few weekends and used the canned beans. I am impressed that you bought them ‘fresh’. Were they hard to make???

    • says

      Actually, cooking dried black-eyed peas was easier than cooking any other type of bean I’ve tried so far! I like to cook big batches of dried beans and freeze most of them for later. Dried beans are much cheaper than canned, and cooking them in bulk is a real time saver!

  4. says

    I’m always on the hunt for tasty new bean salads, and this one looks great! My husband has a habanero habit so we’ve pretty much always got them on hand, and I bet he’ll love the kick in this salad. Thanks for the recipe!

    • says

      Lucky girl, I couldn’t find habaneros anywhere! I would have used them if I could have found them. Hope you get a chance to make this salad soon, it’s so refreshing and satisfying!

  5. says

    I saw this recipe and thought it looked delicious! It also looked very familiar…the people of Senegal seem to share a very similar dish with people from Texas (I myself am from NYC, not Texas)! Helen Corbitt’s 1940’s dish was called “Texas Caviar”– and I’ve made it and it’s delicious– perfect for a summer meal.
    Your photos are gorgeous! You should try Saladu Awooka ak Mango. It was really good too!

    • says

      You’re so right, Batya, the Senegalese salad does have a lot in common with Texas caviar! I live in Oklahoma and I’ve only encountered Texas caviar at grocery stores in their to-go food sections. I’m sure I would love homemade Texas caviar just as much as this salad! I can’t get enough black-eyed peas lately.

  6. says

    Fun to hear a but about your NYC adventure – yay for new friends! I didn’t try black eyed peas until after my mother-in-law made them on New Years Day – she was born and raised in Chattanooga. They are SO good and this salad looks fresh and fantastic.

  7. says

    Isn’t it funny how our bodies revert back to craving veggies and light foods after a vacation? I never think to make black-eyed peas during warmer weather, but I think this salad is going to change that!

    I love the close-up of the peas boiling in water.

  8. Meg says

    I made this last night for supper and it was fantastic! It was my first experience with black eyed peas and they were wonderful. I found “fresh frozen” ones at my market that cooked so quick and I served it over quinoa vs the brown rice for a great summer meal!

    • says

      Yes! I’m so happy to hear that you tried the salad and enjoyed it, Meg! This salad didn’t get the response that some of my other salads do and I realized later that maybe it’s because most people aren’t familiar with black-eyed peas. I wasn’t until I tried this and I now I think black-eyed peas are my favorite white bean! I will keep an eye out for fresh frozen black-eyed peas, that sounds like a great time-saver. Thanks so much for commenting!

  9. says

    And here was I thinking that Black Eyed Peas was just the name of Furgie’s popgroup… Ooopsss…

    The salad looks delicious by the way, really nutritious and healthy, thanks for the recipe!

  10. says

    I tried this salad yesterday after finding it on your blog on Friday and I was so happy I did. Thank you for sharing. While I could visualize that I would love it, it was hard to sell my 4 year old on BEPs – he’s not a fan. I am happy to report that he loved the dish and so did the rest of my family. I have some packed for lunch today and I can barely wait…


  11. monica says

    I’ve made this recipe several times now, its my new staple bean salad. Fits perfect in my vegan diet and the taste is incredible!

    • says

      I’m so glad to hear that, Monica. I loved this salad so I was a little disappointed that this post didn’t get a more enthusiastic response. I think that’s because people don’t know that they’re missing out on black-eyed peas! Speaking of which, I need to buy some more.

  12. kathy says

    Thanks so much for this recipe, which we made today for our New Year’s meal. It turned out great, extremely fresh tasting. I can’t think of a better way to use black eyed peas. This will become a holiday staple for us (we live in a warm climate, so it’s especially nice to have a light and cold option!) and we’ll likely make it through the spring and summer too, when our veggies are in season. I make a similar salad with lentils, and think they would be a great substitute here, if anyone has trouble finding black eyed peas in their store. We used fresh black eyed peas since they were available. Many thanks and happy new year!

    • says

      Thanks for commenting, Kathy! So glad you and your family enjoyed the black-eyed pea salad. The recipe hasn’t gotten as much attention as I think it deserves—it’s light yet filling and so satisfying.

  13. Mr fresh says

    Fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh totaly Fresh! !! !

  14. Lisa says

    I made this with a visiting friend a few weeks ago. We left out tomatoes because we don’t care about them. We added avocados because we love them. My goodness, what a little feast of a tasty fresh and good feeling dish this is! I am making it again today to take to a neighborhood cookout. It’s summertime already here in Naples FL and this is how I love to eat in the summer. Thanks for continuing to bring great tasty food that I can share with vegetarian and vegan friends and when I’m not in the mood for the usual proteins. We also used brown rice as a bed for the salad which was a great complement to the earthy freshness of the bep’s.
    -Auntie Lisa

  15. Elinor says

    This was a nice, simple recipe, a lot like what I usually make my family for dinner. I will say, though, that unlike every other recipe from cookie+kate that I’ve tried, it only meets (rather than exceeds) expectations– I found this to be salad rather blah and unexciting. However, it will no doubt be a great starting point for some experimentation with additional flavours and textures. Thanks as always!

  16. Angel says

    I’m making this salad for my second time today. It’s quite a large batch for two people to eat on but the leftovers don’t last long! It taste even better after a day or two!! I absolutely love it!

    • says

      Thanks! Really happy to hear you’re enjoying the salad! I have some other bean salads on the blog that you might enjoy, like my chickpea salad.

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