This is a recipe that is greater than the sum of its parts. I first heard about it from my mother, whose aide made it for a potluck at school. I adapted it for a Western-themed baby shower I planned. It is one of those things people cannot stay out of, and it's actually fairly healthy - a nice discovery for party/potluck food! Obviously, you can customize it to your preferences.
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1 15 oz. can black-eyed peas or field peas, drained
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups frozen corn kernels, no need to thaw unless you're eating it within a half hour
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 green or red bell pepper, finely chopped I usually use the whole pepper
1/2 cup chopped pickled jalapeno peppers the jalapenos do not make it overly spicy
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt I know: fresh is better, but it's overpowering in this dip
1 cup Italian salad dressing I like something with the word "zesty" in the title
3/4 cup chopped cilantro slide the leaves off the stems and chop
Tostitos Scoops for serving this is great with Scoops, but it's also good as a side dish
Mix together all ingredients except the dressing and cilantro. Add dressing and cilantro; toss to coat. Refrigerate for an hour or until ready to serve. You can make this up to one day ahead.