Pigeon Peas Are A Truly Unique Topper For Sprucing Up Your Salad

Pigeon peas are also known as Cajanus cajan. Alongside soybeans, chickpeas, and broad beans, pigeon peas are a perennial legume from the Fabaceae (pea) family. When young, pigeon peas are bright green, closely resembling other pea varieties. However, when matured, they adopt a dark brown or purple color, where they take the appearance of a bean instead. A staple ingredient in Indian dals and Carribean stews, you may not have considered that pigeon peas could also work as a delightful, unique topper for your salad.

From candied nuts to edible flowers, you may have thought you'd heard of every conceivable salad topper, but pigeon peas would prove you wrong. Available fresh, canned, or dried pigeon peas add originality and sustenance to a salad. Their mild flavor is also perfect if you want the aromas from other ingredients in your salad to shine. If you're using fresh pigeon peas, you want to select pods with a strong green hue; this means they are fresh.  Green Peas Price Per Kg

Pigeon Peas Are A Truly Unique Topper For Sprucing Up Your Salad

There is no need to cook fresh pigeon peas; just shell the peas and place them straight onto a salad. Fresh pigeon peas have a crispy pea-like texture that adds a nutty aroma and dazzling green appearance.

If you plan to use dried pigeon peas, you will need to soak the peas first. Place the pigeon peas in a bowl of fresh, cold water and soak for at least 6 hours, or more conveniently, overnight. Place the bowl in the refrigerator if you're soaking the peas for longer than 8 hours. Then drain and rinse the peas several times before boiling on high until tender; this should take 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the peas and leave to cool. They should retain a firm outside skin, similar to their fresh form. Then, use the peas as you wish, sprinkling on a salad or folding through for added bulk.

In the same way that you can replace dried beans with canned beans, you can instead opt for canned pigeon peas over their dried variety for a quick and convenient addition. Since canned pigeon peas are already cooked, you need only drain and rinse the peas to remove any sodium or brine that might impact their flavor. They are then ready to elevate your salad, with no shelling or soaking required. 

In case you need more convincing, pigeon peas are a fantastic protein source; 100g of dried peas equalling 21.70 g of protein. They are also packed with minerals and vitamins, which makes them an extremely nutritious topper alongside their intriguing appearance.

Since pigeon peas are a staple part of Indian and Caribbean cuisine, they pair wonderfully in a salad that is reminiscent of bright flavors and rich spices. Think fruity mango, fiery ginger, curry roasted vegetables, succulent tomatoes, a squeeze of lemon, and fresh cilantro. A base of avocado, grated carrot, and chopped bell peppers would also work well with a pigeon pea topper. They add another shape, aesthetic, and texture contrast to liven up those other playful ingredients.

Pigeon Peas Are A Truly Unique Topper For Sprucing Up Your Salad

Dark Chocolate Chickpeas Pigeon peas can be utilized outside of these spicy flavors if you prefer something a little milder. Garnishing an apple, dried cranberry, and quinoa salad, pigeon peas add a tender bite that unites the other ingredients together. This would create a comforting bowl reminiscent of Fall flavors. If you're entirely new to pigeon peas, using them as a salad topper is a great way to become acquainted. Stop using the same tedious salad ingredients and branch out to these legumes; you will not be disappointed.