I have a few favorite pasta salads I've made for years and always like to see something really different to try. I came across this recipe on cooking.com and it is truly unique. It also appealed to me because it's called "Southern Pasta Salad with Black-Eyed Peas". Being from the South and loving black eyed peas I had to make it. Here's the link to the original recipe.
I thought I had read the recipe over well and made my shopping list but I forgot a few things and had to make substitutions. Unbelievably I made it home from the store without the black eyed peas. I also forgot the Swiss chard. Not wanting to go back to the store I substituted pork and beans and Napa cabbage. It worked fine and no one was the wiser. I did not want to buy Lapsang Souchong tea for the dressing which my very Southern mother would have scoffed at so I used Oolong tea from my pantry instead.
Southern Pasta Salad my way
1 cup sun dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
8 ounces small elbows macaroni
8 ounces Napa cabbage, shredded
8 ounces smoked turkey thigh, chopped
1 14-ounce can pork and beans, drained, rinsed and pork fat removed
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
1/4 cup brewed Oolong tea
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons molasses
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Place sun dried tomatoes in a Pyrex measuring cup, cover with boiling water and let stand until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool. Cut into slivers and toss in a large bowl.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, following package instructions. Add Napa cabbage to colander. Drain pasta into colander containing cabbage to wilt it slightly. Transfer pasta and cabbage to bowl containing tomatoes. Add turkey, beans and onions.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients in Pyrex measuring cup. Add to the pasta mixture; toss until well-combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This recipe has some of my favorite flavors including smoked turkey, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, chili powder and cumin. The tea is an interesting inclusion which adds depth. The sun dried tomatoes are not very Southern but add some nice chewy texture. All in all 2 thumbs up, including from my cousin Elizabeth, another transplanted Southerner. Enjoy!