A few years ago I heard a piece on the radio about traditional New Years foods from around the world. I was surprised at how many different cultures consumed some kind of legume to ring in the new year. In Italy they eat lentils with a fatty boiled sausage called cotechino. It’s believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the year. I was never very fond of it and usually limited myself to a few bites just in case there was any truth to that belief. Not surprisingly, I’ve never seen cotechino in the U.S. (but I haven’t really looked for it) so I was more than happy to adopt a new tradition when I learned that black-eyed peas were the legume American’s equate with the first day of the year.

Solar Texas Caviar


1 pound dry black-eyed peas, picked over and rinsed

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 green onions, thinly sliced

2 celery stalks, thinly sliced


Soak beans overnight; drain. Discard soaking water.

Put black-eyed peas in a large pot. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Put a lid on the pot and cook the black-eyed peas in the Sun Oven until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Drain peas. Discard cooking liquid.

In a medium bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, salt, sugar, cayenne, and garlic. Add black-eyed peas, parsley, green onions, and celery. Toss to coat with dressing. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours stirring occasionally.

Makes 10 side dish servings

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