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As much as bowls of food are seriously beloved around the MSV kitchen, from time to time it's fun and rewarding to put together something a little more composed. So here you go: grilled romaine, black-eyed peas, salty smoked almonds, plump roma tomatoes stuffed with avocado and chives, all finished off with a light tomato vinaigrette. Pretty and tasty.

Even with all the moving parts, this salad is easy to put together, in large part because we rely on the convenience of canned beans and smoked almonds to add flavor and nutrition. Which means all you have to do is prep the tomatoes, puree the dressing, and grill the romaine. Eat up. Plus, notice how little chopping there is to do here.

Alternately, since homemade beans will always have better texture than canned, make your own black-eyed peas from dried beans a day or three in advance. Let them come to room temperature before adding them to the salad.

Southern Summer Grilled Romaine Salad

Print the recipe

serves 2

1 15-oz can black-eyed peas

4 medium roma tomatoes

salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 TBSP olive oil

1 1/4 tsp red wine vinegar, divided

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

flesh of 1 ripe avocado

1 TBSP finely chopped chives

1 head romaine lettuce, washed and thoroughly dried

1/4 cup salted smoked almonds, roughly chopped

Drain and rinse the beans in a sieve. Set aside to let drain thoroughly.

Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the center flesh (discard seeds), reserving. Sprinkle the tomato shells with a pinch of salt and a bit of freshly cracked black pepper.

To the reserved tomato innards, add oil, 1 tsp red wine vinegar, oregano, and 1/4 tsp salt. Blend with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Use a fork to mash avocado, remaining 1/4 tsp red wine vinegar, and chives. Spoon into tomato halves.

Heat a countertop electric grill or stovetop griddle. Cut romaine head in half lengthwise and grill for just a few minutes, until wilted up top and seared below. Place each half cut-side up on serving plates and top each with half the beans. Arrange 4 tomato halves around the lettuce on each plate, top each with half the chopped smoked almonds, and add dressing to taste.