Quinoa & Black-eyed Pea Summer Salad

Black-eyed peas & Qunoa Salad
This is one of those lovely salads that sings of summer and summons the vision of (ideally) sitting on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is lovely with herby oregano, acidic lemon and red wine vinegar, salty olives and feta, matched with earthy quinoa and cool cucumber. It is a delcious mix and can be eaten all on it’s own as a vegetarian main dish (for about 2 people) or as a side dish (for about 4). I’d recommend a simply grilled fish to go along with this. If you want to get fancy: fresh fruit, mint and vanilla ice cream for dessert.
This recipe comes from the August 2008 issue of Gourmet Magazine and can be found here. I changed the orzo to quinoa for added fiber and protein (and general whole-grain goodness). The original recipe also recommends constructing the salad in two layers so I’ll describe the recipe in that way as well if you want to do something similar to what I did in the photo and make it all pretty. If you just want to get on with the eating, you can most certainly just mix everything together all at once. 
(*Note that you do have to make the quinoa ahead of time, so get that started before anything else if you don’t have any lying around as left-overs).
Black-eyed Pea Layer (layer 1):
  • 1 15 ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (other salad beans like kindney and garbanzos can work well here too) 
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (~1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 Mix everything together and let sit at room temperature about 15 minutes while you chop everything and mix up the other layer. 

Quinoa Layer (layer 2):

  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise, cored, and diced (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, slivered
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix all this together. 

 Assemble the salad: 

  • 2-3 cups of romaine or other salad green
  • 1/4- 1/2 lb of feta, crumbled (1/2 – 1 cup)
  • 4-8 pepperocini
  1. Layer some of the black-eyed pea mixture in a glass bowl or jar. 
  2. Layer some of the quinoa mixture on top.
  3. Top with a good handful of romaine leaves or other delicate salad green, and some feta crumbles.
  4. Dig in.
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