Hoppin’ John is a traditional southern dish made with black-eyed peas, lots of veggies, and rice. We love making this on New Year’s Day, as the dish is said to bring good luck and prosperity to those who eat it. It’s also super comforting and delicious! Serve it with a side of collards and cornbread.
Happy New Year! (Well, almost.) If you’re anything like me, you’re welcoming 2020 with a vengeance. Don’t get me wrong, 2019 was great, but I love the start of a new year. It feels like a fresh beginning and a way to reset everything and start new.
What Is Hoppin' John
We have a tradition in our family of eating Hoppin’ John each year on New Years' day. Hoppin’ John is an old southern dish with a rich history that contains black-eyed peas, which are considered to bring luck and prosperity in the New Year. Are we from the south, you might ask? No! But this dish is a fun and tasty way to ring in the New Year, and I love making it as a way to bring my family together, share in a fun tradition, and talk about what the New Year might bring. And if it brings us a little extra luck, even better.
The ingredients in Hoppin' John are so simple, healthy, and tasty. It's a great way to ring in the New Year and a good cleansing meal after all the heavy holiday food you've likely been consuming. It includes:
- Veggies. This dish relies on red peppers, jalapenos, onions and garlic to add tons of spice and flavor.
- Black-eyed peas. These are the stars of the show and are what makes this food so hearty and filling.
- Pork. You can use different types of pork to alter the flavor slightly. Add a spicy sausage, chopped ham or even bacon to add a touch of smoky saltiness to the dish. Of course, you can also omit the meat altogether if you're looking to keep this vegetarian.
- Toppings. The toppings really add to this dish so mix them up if you'd like but don't omit them. We love to top it with chopped scallions, parsley, white cheddar and hot sauce. Yum!
How To Make Hoppin' John
This is a simple dish to make, especially if you use canned black-eyed peas!
- We load this dish up with veggies, starting with sauteing onions and peppers.
- Once the peppers and onions have softened, add in the black-eyed peas, chicken broth, and sausage (or bacon or ham), if using. The pork isn't necessary, but it adds a lot of extra flavor!
- It’s then all served in a heap over cooked rice and garnished with hot sauce and cheese. (You can omit the cheese and meat if you’re trying to keep this vegan – it’s still delicious!)
Can I Use Canned Black Eyed Peas Instead Of Dried?
I usually make Hoppin' John with canned black-eyed peas to avoid having to soak them. But, if you find yourself with dried peas, no problem, it will just take a bit of extra time. Soak about 1 cup of the dried peas in water overnight, then drain and rinse in the morning. The peas will still be a bit tough even after an overnight soak, so just add a bit more broth, and cook them for longer until they’re tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.
This Hoppin' John Recipe is comfort food at its best, and a great way to start out the New Year on a (mostly) healthy note. It’s also super customizable - throw in extra veggies, omit the meat to make it vegetarian, or even omit the cheese garnish to make it vegan.
For extra good luck, we usually serve Hoppin’ John with a side of wilted greens (collards, sautéed in a bit of oil and garlic, then sprinkled with a dash of salt and crushed red pepper are a favorite, although chard or spinach would also work) and a side of cornbread, both of which represent money (both paper and gold).
Start your own tradition and make Hoppin’ John this New Year to bring you and your family good luck. We like to place a penny underneath each steaming bowl of Hoppin John for some extra fun, which is thought to boost good fortune even more in the New Year.
If you make this Hoppin’ John recipe this year, let me know what you think by adding a comment below or tagging me on Instagram – I love love love to see your creations!!
Looking for some sides to serve with this Hoppin' John? Check these out!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 diced jalapeno (stemmed and seeded) Optional
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 15 oz cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup vegetable broth or water (plus more if needed)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 3 green onions, sliced
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, minced
- 1 cup cooked and chopped sausage, bacon, or ham optional
- cooked rice, shredded white cheddar, and hot sauce for serving
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add yellow onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño pepper. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.
- Stir in black-eyed peas, broth, salt and pepper. If using, add your cooked sausage, bacon, or ham. Reduce the heat to low and cook 10 minutes more. (If your liquid becomes scarce, just add a little more as the peas are simmering). Remove from heat and add you green onions and parsley.
- Pile bean mixture to the top of cooked rice and garnish with cheese, and hot sauce if desired.