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Spicy Black-Eyed Pea & Black Bean Salsa

Here is a great spicy black-eyed pea and black bean salsa recipe you can serve with tortilla chips which is aptly described as "very addicting". Make this fresh or make it in advance and take along for holiday outings and family get togethers.  As noted in the instructions and ingredients, you can make a quick version of this recipe by using canned ingredients, but - though the quick version will taste great - if you take the time to use fresh ingredients and cook dried peas and beans, it will be even better. Which ever way you go, You and your guests are sure to be coming back for more and more. In other words, don't expect any leftovers! And remember, black-eyed peas on New Year's Day brings good luck for the entire year.

Ingredients

2/3 cup cooked dry black-eyed peas (or 1 15 ounce can)
2/3 cup cooked black beans (or 1 15 ounce can)
1 cup thawed frozen whole kernel corn (or 1 15 ounce can)*
3 green onions with tops, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 - 4 diced de-seeded and de-veined jalapeno peppers (or 1 4 ounce can diced jalapeno peppers)
1 1/2 cups of fresh diced tomatoes (or 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained)
1 cup zesty Italian-style salad dressing
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Himalayan or sea salt to taste

*Make sure you get non-GMO corn. Otherwise, get fresh ears of non-GMO corn and use a sharp knife to cut down the ears to obtain the kernels needed.

(As always, The Best Years in Life recommends choosing organic content and fresh content as much as possible for the healthiest recipe. Also, wash all fruits and vegetables before cutting or adding to the recipe.)

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Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, onion, green bell pepper, jalapeno peppers and tomatoes. Season with Italian-style salad dressing, garlic powder and salt; mix well.

2. Cover, and refrigerate overnight to blend flavors.

Suggestions:

1. Set the jalapeño peppers aside and add them to the mix until you achieve just the right amount of "kick".

2. You may also wish to set half the Italian dressing aside and add in the remaining half when the taste is "just right".

3. If you want to "cheat" and make a quick version, you can use the canned versions as listed in the ingredients, but you will have an even better and better tasting salsa if you take the extra time and opt for fresh ingredients where possible. In particular, cooking your own beans is best, though time consuming. Cooking dried beans and peas takes more time than opening a can, but you'll be richly rewarded with superior flavor and texture. Here's how:

Cooking Dried Beans and Peas

1. Sort: Arrange dried beans on a sheet pan or clean kitchen towel and sort through them to pick out any shriveled or broken beans, stones or debris. (Take our word for it; running your fingers through the beans in the bag doesn't work the same.)

2. Rinse: Rinse the sorted beans well in cold, running water.

3. Soak: Soaking beans before cooking helps to remove some of those indigestible sugars that cause flatulence. There are two simple ways to get the job done:

4. Regular soak: Put beans into a large bowl and cover with 2 to 3 inches of cool, clean water. Set aside at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight; drain well. (If it's really warm in your kitchen, soak the beans in the refrigerator instead to avoid fermentation.)

5. Quick soak: Put beans into a large pot and cover with 2 to 3 inches of cool, clean water. Bring to a boil then boil briskly for 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and set aside off of the heat for 1 hour; drain well.

6. Cook: Put beans into a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water or stock. (Don't add salt at this point since that slows the beans' softening.) Slowly bring to a boil, skimming off any foam on the surface. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more liquid if necessary, until beans are tender when mashed or pierced with a fork. Cooking times vary with the variety, age and size of beans; generally you're looking at about 1 to 2 hours.

See also: Hoppin’ John (Spicy Black Eyed Pea Recipe)

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