Preserves in Action: Black-eyed Pea, Tuna, and Pickle Salad

November 6, 2015(updated on October 18, 2023)
finished salad on marble - Food in Jars

Most days, my lunch is not particularly photo-worthy (despite the evidence presented on Instagram). Most of the time, I eat whatever leftover is closest to the front of the fridge and hasn’t been earmarked for that evening’s meal (at least once a week, I make dinner with the intention that it will last two nights). Occasionally though, I’m inspired to make something a little more elegant than reheated quinoa and roast vegetables.

salad pickles - Food in Jars

This salad was born on one of those days when there happened to be a dearth of leftovers AND I felt moved to use what I had rather than run across the street for take-out. A true alignment of the stars! It was a quick thing, made up of a can of tuna, another one of black-eyes peas, several generous spoonfuls of pickled chard stems, a chopped celery rib (with the leaves), and a liberal application of salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Safe Catch Tuna - Food in Jars

What made the salad special was the ease with which it came together and the fact that the ingredients were so good. I used a can of Safe Catch Tuna that landed in my mailbox some months ago, and it was some of the best canned tuna I’ve ever eaten. It was chunky and flavorful, and had the added benefit of being line caught and tested for mercury levels.

tuna and black eyed pea salad - Food in Jars

The pickles also made it particularly good. I used some of these chard stem pickles, but if you have any of my salad pickles tucked away in a cabinet, they’d also be a good choice. Save either of those, if you are willing to do a bit of dicing, my open jar of pickles you have in the fridge will work. Make sure to tip a generous glug of the brine into the salad for added zip.

finished salad - Food in Jars

The finished salad made enough for two days of lunching and I’ve stocked my pantry so I can make another bowlful soon.

How are you putting your preserves to work these days?

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4 thoughts on "Preserves in Action: Black-eyed Pea, Tuna, and Pickle Salad"

  • Anything pickled is generally good in salads, most notably tuna, egg and potato salad. Among our favorites are okra, green bean and green tomato pickles chopped and thrown in, with juice drizzled over. I may have jars of just pickle juice in my fridge for this reason.

    I’ve made the great discovery that the squash butter recipe from Preserving by the Pint is fabulous on a pizza (and stirred into quiches). A jar of duck sauce that didn’t seal properly recently made an excellent sauce for a stir fry that was almost a sweet and sour. A pepper pesto I made in huge quantities this summer thanks to the overabundance of pepper plants in my garden has landed on everything – pizzas, stirred into sauteed greens and dolloped on steamed oysters.

  • This summer was my first summer preserving, and I worried a lot about quantities, specifically which size of jars to use for each type of preserve. Since I’m cooking and eating for one, waste is a huge reality in my world.

    I wound up canning chopped tomatoes (from the FIJ recipe) in both 8-oz and 12-oz sizes. You might think 8 oz of chopped tomatoes isn’t enough for anything, but actually it’s the size I reach for most often. Last night I baked a pound of monkfish (from my CSA) in 8 oz of chopped tomatoes, which I’d briefly cooked on the stovetop with olive oil, sliced garlic and thyme. I popped the fish into the hot sauce and baked it all at 375. It was great! And a bigger jar of tomatoes would’ve just been overkill.

    For dessert, I hit my preserves again: a spiced sour cherry preserve which pairs incredibly well with cheese. A couple of crackers with that combo closed the meal perfectly.

  • I love dishes that come together like this. They’re often unrepeatable in any exact terms but inspirational for new creations.

  • This looks amazing, and with a pantry full of pickles and relishes of various sorts AND a couple varieties of home-grown cow peas (aka field peas) waiting patiently to be cooked up and enjoyed, this will be just the ticket for back-to-school (university) lunches.