Twinkle’s Kitchen | Tailgating in style

By Twinkle VanWinkle, LIN Lifestyle Expert

I may not be an expert on sports, I can totally get into the tailgating. It’s mainly because of the food.

Being brought up in an area of the South known for its extravagant tailgating displays – I’m talking pearls, heels and white linen tablecloths – the food also has to be perfect.

Photos: 10 tasty tailgating recipes

From succulent fried chicken to delicate finger foods, to dips, chips, bites, nibbles, barbecue and even signature cocktails, tailgating has always been a big to-do in my old stomping grounds.

I think, however, the one food that really says tailgating to me is Mississippi Caviar. It’s made from one of the staple foods of the South, peas, with just enough twang and bite. If your tailgating menu is heavy on fried foods or not-so-healthy dishes, adding this to your feast is a good way to add a healthy and vegetarian alternative.


By the end of the summer there should be plenty of fresh peas to be had. Frozen or canned Black Eyed Peas or Purple Hull Peas will do the trick. I love it with Lady peas and an added splash of class – champagne.

It’s a great dish everyone will enjoy and can be served with tortilla chips or by itself.

Mississippi Caviar

  • 6 cups of cooked and cooled Black Eyed Peas
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3 small fresh jalapeños, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Red Wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup champagne
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

If using fresh peas, make sure your peas have fully cooled. Cover fresh peas with water and cook on low at least an hour to get the fullest flavor. You can add fatback or bacon, but I usually just put in a drab of olive oil, making it veggie-friendly for everyone eating it. Canned peas need to be rinsed and drained.

Chop your vegetables up, maintaining a consistent size, diced and small.


Place your cooked and cooled peas and chopped vegetables in a large glass bowl and mix well.

Stir together the Dijon, salt, pepper, vinegar, champagne and oil with a whisk to emulsify the liquid.

Pour over the vegetables and toss. Place in an airtight container.

Refrigerate overnight for the best flavor.

Other additions: fresh cut corn, cilantro, cumin, celery.

Vegetarian and vegan friendly.



Twinkle VanWinkle has more than 22 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks. She baked 300 apple pies for the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and appeared on “The Best Of…” for her signature desserts. Along with producing dynamic lifestyle content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.

Follow Twinkle on Foodspotting, Tumblr and Twitter.

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