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Portuguese Recipe: Octopus Salad with Black Eyed Peas

Preparation 15 minutes 2 easy
Recipe type: Salad Cuisine: Portuguese

One of my favorite Portuguese appetizers is Octopus Salad, and as a meal, Octopus Salad with Black Eyed Peas (Salada de Polvo com Feijao Frade). . However, it’s not every day that I come across whole octopus in U.S. supermarkets. And, it’s not every day that I feel like slaving over a whole octopus, waiting 45 minutes (it will go faster on a pressure cooker, but those things scare the sh*t out of me) for it to boil to make my salad. That’s when our tinned treats come in handy. For this salad, I picked up my canned octopus at Seabra’s supermarket where they usually carry other Mediterranean brands, too, including some whose distributors actually use Portuguese product. 

For wine, I paired this dish with a white blend of Antao Vaz, Roupeiro and Verdelho from the Alentejo. Though the dish is simple, it does have strong, flavorful ingredients like raw onion and sweet bell pepper. It also contains meaty and smooth textures from the octopus and the beans, which beckoned for a firm white, the reason why I reached for something with Antao Vaz. The freshness and fruit from the Roupeiro (a.k.a. Siria) and Verdelho complemented the raw, cool and crisp veggies.

Try this recipe at home, and if you’re needing an excuse to come to Portugal to try fresh octopus taken directly from the coast, then book one of our Lisbon Food Tours, Porto Food Tours, Algarve Food Tours or a Custom Food Tour designed just for you!


  • 2 cans of octopus in oil
  • 2 cans of black eyed peas
  • ½ white onion (or whatever onion you have lying around)
  • ½ yellow or red bell pepper
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh black pepper
  • Coarse salt


  1. Mince the onion.
  2. Chop the bell pepper. Set aside.
  3. Run the beans through cold water, drain, and add to a large bowl.
  4. Drain the vegetable oil from the canned octopus and add to the bowl with the beans.
  5. Add the onion and bell pepper and mix.
  6. Add 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (or to taste) and cover with a generous amount of olive oil, about 6 tablespoons. NOTE: Because this dish is served cold, it’s a terrific opportunity to use your best olive oil, salt and pepper. You’ll really be able to taste what makes them so special, since they never touch heat.
  7. Mix it all up and finish with the salt, pepper and chopped parsley. It’s ready to serve!

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