Happy new year! This was the perfect dish for January 1st. In America, black eyed peas (or black eyed beans, as I would usually call them) are traditionally eaten at New Year to bring good luck. We don’t have this tradition here in the UK, but since I can always do with a bit of extra luck (even just to stop me bruising my shins on the corners of my bed every other day), I decided to give it a go.

After the inevitable over-indulgences of the Christmas period, January is a time for clean eating, and this meal is a great way to start as you mean to go on. Full of fresh veg, protein-packed beans and just a smidgen of cheese for good measure, this was healthy and moreishly delicious at the same time.

You know a meal’s good for you when it’s that brightly coloured without the need for any artificial stuff.

This meal did a great job of filling me up – it always amazes me how much more filling healthy food is than processed rubbish. There’s just no substitute for fresh veg. It got me in a healthy frame of mind which I’m sure will carry on through the rest of the day. Perhaps a bike ride is in my near future.

As well as the fresh veggies, I added a few more flavourful elements to make this salad the sort of thing I’d crave, rather than the sort of thing I’d only eat because I felt I should. Black olives, feta cheese and roasted garlic add a huge amount of flavour to the beans, and roasting the tomatoes and peppers draws out their natural sweetness.

So if you fancy starting 2013 off on the right foot, I recommend you make this salad today – you never know, it might bring you good luck!

New Year black eyed pea salad with black olives, feta and roasted garlic

Serves 2 as a meal, or more as a side

1 red pepper
1/2 red onion
2-3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1tbsp olive oil
100g cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
3 spring onions, chopped
3tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1 x 400g tin black eyed peas, drained (240g when drained)
100g tinned sweetcorn kernels
75g feta cheese, crumbled
~15 black olives, sliced
Black pepper

Cut the red pepper and red onion into 1cm dice, and lay in a roasting dish with the unpeeled garlic. Toss with the olive oil, and roast at 180°C (Gas Mark 4 / 350°F) for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and roast for a further 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, combine the chopped spring onions, coriander, black eyed peas, corn, feta and olives, and season generously with black pepper.

When the roasted garlic has cooled enough to handle, squeeze the flesh from the skin, and mash with the flat side of a knife. Add this to the black eyed peas, along with the other roasted vegetables. Mix well to combine, and serve topped with more coriander and feta if desired.