{Meatless Times} Kicked Up Black-Eyed Pea and Penne Salad

Well…we have decided to join the {MEATLESS} crowd.  I admit, I don’t know the first thing about going meatless and frankly, I’m more than a bit concerned about flavor and variety without meat.  I don’t want to eat pasta and rice or beans every night.

At the same time, we are trying to eat cleaner…food closer to natural state so that means cutting out the white stuff…rice, pasta, flour and sugar.  I am sure with more education, the list is going to grow.

Can we do this?  Just 1-3 days a week?

I hit the public library and many of the great real food and vegan blogs for some help.  It is amazing the wealth of information out there and I feel fairly confident that we can do both.  Move in a more meatless direction and eat cleaner.

For the first day, I made a very kicked-up black-eyed pea and pasta salad.  Heat from the HOT pepper, cool from the lime, cilantro and mint, and plenty of protein from the black-eyed peas and a serving of whole grains from the pasta.  I love arugula so in that went (as an afterthought but before serving).

I have never soaked my own beans but chose to buy dry and bulk…easy soak the night before and a 40 minut simmer.  Done and the difference in salt was amazing…none compared to the canned version. And a benefit?  A fraction of the cost of canned.  Who knew?

Overall, a keeper and a great first step into healthier, cleaner  and meatless eating.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Recipe notes:  I added the penne to make this a meal not a side, substituted Thai red peppers, swapped arugula for the shredded lettuce and used lime instead of lemon.  Once I tasted the salad, it screamed for avocado so I cubed a half and added it to the salad. A healthy serving of MUFA.


  • 3 ounces uncooked whole grain penne, cooked using package instructions omitting fat and salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded, ribs removed and finely diced (I used Thai peppers as I had them in the fridge)
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (I used one whole lime, including zest)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (I used dried beans)
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 bunch mint, leaves roughly chopped (I cut this in half, I thought that was too much mint ~ at least for us it was)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 cups sliced fresh baby spinach or arugula


Combine the garlic, pepper, red onion, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste, in a large bowl.

Add the peas, tomatoes, mint, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and toss in the arugula and avocado.

Serve with a slice of whole grain bread if desired.

If you are still with me and you live this or will try the same, PLEASE feel free to leave me a comment on what sites, magazines or cookbooks you reference for recipes or ideas or simply for education. I am considering the magazine Vegetarian Times but open to magazine, cookbook or education ideas.

A big thanks in advance!

Linked to:

Tuesday Supper Club, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tuesday tasty Tidbit, Tasty Tuesday, Dr. Laura’s Tasty Tuesday, Eat at Home, Slightly Indulgent, Hearth and Soul, Made From Scratch, Tasty Tuesday MOP, Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, Monday Mania, My Meatless Monday, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Beauty & Bedlam Tuesday


17 responses to “{Meatless Times} Kicked Up Black-Eyed Pea and Penne Salad

  1. I love all the flavors in this dish!!!! So crisp, light and refreshing…while also being satisfying!

    Beautiful colors too! I try to use dry beans when I can, you’re so right w/the cost aspect!

  2. Hi, I’m your newest follower from tasty tuesday link up! This dish looks amazing, love all the colors, something I would love to eat during the summer! Looking forward to following you!

  3. Good luck with the meatless challenge! I’m not technically vegetarian or vegan but I tend to cook that way most nights, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what you come up with 🙂 This is a pretty promising start to deliciousness!

  4. Your salad is beautiful and nutritious. I’m new to your blog and have spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I really like the food and recipes you feature here. I’ll definitely be back. I hope you have a wonderful evening. Blessings…Mary

  5. I have never been able to eat black-eyed peas (much to my dad’s dismay who swears they should be eaten every New Year’s Day), but this looks delicious!

  6. I only eat ‘meat’ (which is pretty much chicken) a couple days a week, no fish either. I think its nice – I don’t know how people eat meat in most of their meals!
    And the black eyed salad looks delicious. My parents gets loads of them in summer, and freeze their own. The fresh ones are best, but the steamed ones are pretty close…

  7. Hi Michelle, As a reformed raw vegan I think your decision to go meatless is a valid one and I support you in any food choices you make. I would say specifically that it is important for you to get saturated fat and protien in your diet in the forms of pastured and raw dairy products to be as healthy as you can be on a vegetarian diet. Eggs are key. If you are choosing to go vegan, understand that there simply are NO good sources of B-12 that are not animal based and you will have to eat a large quantity of coconut oil, durian and avocado to get the necessary saturated fats. This lovely recipe for black eyed pea salad is an excellent start! I adore the flavor of beans with pasta tremendously (pasta fagioli is my favorite soup!) Thanks so much for sharing with us on the hearth and soul hop! all the best, Alex

    • Michelle


      As always, thanks for the comments and the great information. I am waiting for a few reference books from the library and really appreciate the feedback regarding fats and B-12. In talking with the supplement manager at the local natural grocery store, he too commented on B-12 and I ended up picking up a bottle of B50 complex to get started. While not as optimal as from natural foods, at least I am getting way more than the required amount of B-12 along with 1, 2, 3 and 6. A multi one a day plus flax and evening primrose oil combo for “good fats” plus a 100% pure cold salmon oil tab. I am learning to like eggs (I should say egg yolks as I already enjoy egg white omelets but have always tried to stay clear of the yolks). Avocado – no issue there…I could eat one a day. It is a start as you say and I am looking forward to reading and learning as I go. The Hearth and Soul Hop is one of my favorites and I look forward to it and your other posts every week. Cheers. M

  8. This looks really good. I love black eyed peas and anything with a little kick.

  9. This looks divine!! I love the combination of all the ingredients.. YUM!! Thanks for linking up again for TT!

  10. I would say that you have really made a tasty looking dish! I shouldn’t be reading all these recipes while I am so hungry. ..ha. Guess I ought to go cook.

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