Black-Eyed Pea Bruschetta

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Let’s dive into the story of Juneteenth, a celebration marking the day in 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation was finally announced to enslaved Africans in Texas. Although President Lincoln issued the Proclamation on January 1, 1863, it took two and a half years for it to be enforced in Texas, the last Confederate state.

The term “Juneteenth” blends the month of June and the 19th, the date this historic event is commemorated. While initially observed mainly in Texas, Juneteenth gained federal recognition in 2021 as a day for African Americans across the nation to honor their past. Its roots trace back to the first celebration, known as Jubilee Day, held in Galveston, Texas, in 1866. Since then, Juneteenth has evolved into a day of neighborhood gatherings, cookouts, and cultural festivities, accompanied by a spread of delicious food.

Now, let’s talk about the symbolic culinary delights associated with Juneteenth, particularly black-eyed peas and collard greens. These ingredients, brought to America during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, have become staples in Southern cuisine. Collard greens, with their resilient leaves symbolizing wealth, are often paired with black-eyed peas, representing coins and good fortune. This pairing is not only a Juneteenth tradition but also a New Year’s Day staple, believed to bring luck for the year ahead.

To celebrate Juneteenth with a twist, consider making black-eyed pea bruschetta. It’s a delightful variation of the traditional hot preparation. Simply toss canned black-eyed peas with raw chopped collard greens, bell pepper, scallions, and garlic, then dress them with an apple cider vinaigrette. Spoon this mix onto toasted baguette slices, topping them with crispy, smoky pork for a refreshing and shareable appetizer.

Wondering how to prepare black-eyed peas for this recipe? Unlike stewed peas, canned black-eyed peas work perfectly and save time. Just be sure to rinse them well before using to avoid any unwanted seasoning from the can.

As for collard greens, their sturdy leaves typically require long cooking times, but massaging them with salt softens them for a raw application like this.

For storage, the black-eyed pea and collard green mix can be refrigerated for up to five days, allowing the flavors to meld. The toasted bread stays fresh in an airtight container for up to five days, ready to be topped with the flavorful mix whenever you’re craving a taste of Juneteenth.

Now, let’s get cooking! Here’s how to bring this savory and symbolic dish to life:

Black-Eyed Pea Bruschetta

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Servings 4


  • 1 seeded Italian baguette sliced into 1/4″-thick slices
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 4 oz. finely chopped bacon or pancetta optional
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh collard greens washed, stemmed, and finely chopped
  • 1 15.5-oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 scallion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves chopped
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard or spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 4 oz. goat cheese room temperature


  • Preheat oven to 350°F and arrange bread slices on baking sheets. Lightly drizzle both sides with oil and bake until crispy, about 10 minutes.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp, then transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving excess fat in the skillet.
  • Massage salt into collard greens until softened, then add peas, bell pepper, scallion, and garlic, tossing to combine.
  • In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, thyme, mustard, honey, Cajun seasoning, salt, and bacon fat. Pour over pea mixture and toss.
  • Spread cheese on toast, top with pea mixture, and sprinkle with bacon if desired.

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