Black-Eyed Peas and Kale Salad

I grew up in The South, but we didn’t do Southern things. Some of it was a little silly: no grits; no saying “y’all”; no boiled peanuts.  Some things were more profound: no calling middle-aged African-American women by their first names.*

So, naturally, Hoppin’ John with rice and collards were not a part of our New Year’s traditions, as those are pure South Carolina.  But then, I don’t know what happened — a few years ago, my sister made some vegetarian hoppin’ john and rice, and then one year we had collards made with liquid smoke instead of the pork jowl or whatever is traditional. . . . I don’t know, people. I don’t really believe the collards are going to make me rich, but at the end of the day, what’s really so wrong with eating something green on January 1?

So we had friends over for New Year’s Day brunch, and the night before I threw this together. [This was not, by the way, the highlight of the brunch, but right now I’m too overwhelmed to give a complete account of the hugely yummy seitan biryani from that day….just wait!]  I’ll just say a few things: First, I love raw kale in salad!  It’s the only green hearty enough to make into a salad 24 hours before a party!  Second, everyone ate this salad, even the pickiest salad eater. Third, I hate hate hate the whole concept of canned beans, but I used them here, and I just want to say that I’m going to be a little less judgemental about people who don’t soak and boil every bean they eat.  There’s my New Year’s Resolution: no judgement about canned beans. Done.

*This was an actual Thing. The woman at my elementary school who ushered students out of their cars and across the sidewalk each morning was called Miss Marie by every single other girl at the school except for me. My mother was appalled at the obvious slight: this was the only adult in the school who wasn’t addressed by her last name! At my mom’s insistence – and eventually to my great pride — I called her “Mrs. Legare.”

Black-Eyed Peas and Kale Salad

I threw this together, tasting along the way. Pretty much any amount of any ingredient will work.

  • 5 cups chopped kale (I like the baby kale for raw salad, but grown-up kale works, too)
  • juice of 1 lime (most important if you are using tougher kale)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup crumbled Greek feta
  • 2 cucumbers and 2 roma tomatoes, chopped (I forgot to put these in — oops! But wouldn’t they have been good?)
  • 2 cups mixed olives, drained (Is that a lot?  Yes, it may have been a bit much.)
  • 2 cans (!!) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chop or tear up the kale. Add the lime juice and mix.  The lime juice will soften any tough kale.

Add the olives. If you forgot to get lime juice or for some reaosn can’t find your limes…. use a little of the olive juice to soften the kale and provide some tartness to the salad.

Add the other ingredients, mix well, and keep in the fridge for a few hours.

This salad keeps for a few days in the fridge!

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