Top | Ellen Kanner

Cowpeas with Za'atar

(recipe, Ellen Kanner)

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    1. 1½ cups cowpeas, black-eyed peas, or field peas
    2. 2 garlic cloves
    3. 1 dried hot pepper or 1 tablespoon peppercorns
    4. 1 bay leaf
    1. 6 Tbsp. lemon juice
    2. 4 Tbsp. olive oil
    3. 1 Tbsp. honey or agave syrup
    4. 1 garlic clove
    1. 1 fennel bulb, diced
    2. ½ pt. grape tomatoes, halved
    3. 1 Tbsp. za’atar (see Note)
    4. Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


    1. Rinse the cowpeas. Pour them into a pot and cover with cold water; soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the beans well in cold water.
    2. In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil over high heat, along with the garlic cloves, dried pepper or peppercorns, and bay leaf. Add the cowpeas, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 1 hour or until the beans are tender. Drain and rinse well. Fish out and discard the garlic and the bay leaf. Pour the beans into a large serving bowl.
    3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and honey or agave. Mince or crush the last clove of garlic and add it to the lemon-juice mixture. Pour the dressing over the beans and toss gently to coat.
    4. Add the diced fennel and halved grape tomatoes. (The salad may be refrigerated at this point until ready to serve.) Just before serving, add the za’atar and season with the salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


    Za'atar, a sumac-based blend of spices and herbs, is available at Middle Eastern markets.