Black Eyed Pea Salsa with Cheese Quesadillas

Black-eyed Pea Salsa with green chiles, onions, red bell pepper, served with jack cheese quesadillas

Black Eyed Pea Salsa
Elise Bauer

It's New Year's and an excellent reason to make a dish with black-eyed peas, a good luck tradition for the new year. Black-eyed peas are great any time of the year, but sometimes a celebratory excuse is all we need.

This is a straightforward dish, black-eyed peas prepared in a salsa to be served with lightly browned flour quesadillas filled with melty jack cheese. Perfect for lunch.

The recipe can be as simple as you want. You can use canned black-eyed peas, roasted bell peppers, and green chiles, or you can cook the peas or roast the chiles and peppers yourself.

Black Eyed Pea Salsa
Elise Bauer

In the batch I've prepared here, I used canned black-eyed peas, and roasted my own poblano and red bell peppers. The chiles were mild, so I added some chopped pickled jalapeños.

Happy New Year!

Black Eyed Pea Salsa with Cheese Quesadillas

Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 6 servings

If starting with dry beans, use 2 cups, put in a pot, cover with a couple inches of salted water, bring to a boil, reduce to a very low simmer, and cook uncovered until done, anywhere from 30 to 90 min. Rinse with cold water and drain.

I used a combination of freshly roasted poblano chiles and pickled jalapeños. This is because the poblanos I had were exceptionally mild and I wanted more heat, which I was able to get from the pickled jalapeños. Use some combination of cooked green chiles, either canned or fresh. Taste for heat and adjust to your preference.


  • Black-eyed Pea Salsa
  • About 3 1/4 to 4 cups cooked black-eyed peas (2 15.5-ounce cans, rinsed, drained)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cups of chopped, cooked, mild green chiles (2 large poblanos or 3 Anaheims, roasted, seeded, and chopped) AND/OR 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños (to taste)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cups of chopped roasted red bell pepper (can use jarred marinated or roast fresh red bell peppers by charring over a gas flame or under a broiler, placing in a covered bowl for a few minutes, wiping off the char, seeding, and chopping)
  • 6 to 8 green onions, thinly sliced including at least half of the greens, about 1/2 to 2/3 cup total
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped, tender stems included (about a cup)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • Large pinch of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Quesadillas
  • 1 dozen flour tortillas
  • 8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, sliced or grated


If you haven't already done so, prep your ingredients. Char and peel your chiles and/or red bell peppers if using fresh not jarred or canned. Cook your black-eyed peas if not using canned.

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer
  1. Assemble the salsa

    Place the drained cooked black eyed peas in a large bowl. Add the chiles, red bell peppers, and most of the chopped onions and cilantro (reserving some for garnish).

    Drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with crumbled, dried oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper.

    Toss and let marinate while you prepare the quesadillas.

  2. Make the quesadillas

    Heat a large cast iron pan on medium high heat. If you are using something other than a well-seasoned cast iron pan, add a small amount of oil or butter to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Add a flour tortilla to the pan. Let it heat up on one side for half a minute.

    Flip it over and place a light layer of cheese over the tortilla. If you are using grated cheese, you can just sprinkle it all over. If using sliced cheese, lay the slices down on only one side of the tortilla.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer

    When tortilla begins to form air pockets or the cheese begins to melt, use a spatula to lift up one edge of the tortilla and turn it over to the other edge, as if you were making an omelette.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer

    Let cook until lightly browned, and then flip the whole quesadilla over to the other side and let cook until lightly browned on that side. Remove from the pan and prepare the other quesadillas in the same manner.

  3. Cut the quesadillas into pie-shaped wedges and serve with the black-eyed pea salsa.