Miss Bessie’s Black Eyed Pea Salad

INGREDIENTS

3 cups canned, frozen or cooked black-eyed peas (2 15-ounce cans, drained)
4 slices of bacon cooked until crisp and crumbled,
1 large tomato, chopped
1 medium sweet red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
4 finely chopped green onions
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil (omit if your are using another dressing, or creating the Basil Cilantro dressing).
salt and pepper to taste

Use your favorite balsamic dressing, or make your own: 
Basil Cilantro Dressing
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar
1-cup olive oil
or
1 1/3 cup of your favorite balsamic salad dressing


DIRECTIONS


In a serving bowl, toss together black-eyed peas, tomato, sweet red bell pepper, green bell pepper, red onion, green onion, crumbled bacon, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and celery. Set aside.

Basil Cilantro Dressing: 
In a small bowl or other container, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, cider vinegar, or your favorite balsamic dressing, basil, garlic, sugar, paprika, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is well blended. You can use a blender for this step, if desired. Toss the dressing into the vegetable mix created earlier. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Allow salad to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Toss well just before serving.

Serve with a garnish of fresh basil or cilantro, desired. Serves 6.

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