Vegan Hoppin’ John — made with black eyed peas and collard greens – is the ultimate New Year meal. Pair it with cornbread for a prosperous year ahead. This easy recipe is vegan and gluten free.
What is Hoppin’ John?
Hoppin’ John is a southern dish that’s supposed to bring good fortune to the new year. It’s traditionally made with black eyed peas, greens such as collards or kale and some sort of pork or bacon. The black eyed peas are symbolic of coins, and since the greens are the color of money they’re supposed to add extra wealth. (I’m not sure what the pork is supposed to represent, but omitting it from the dish seems to be more fortunate for pigs to me.) Serve your Hoppin’ John with cornbread, which is the color of gold, for added good fortune.
To quote Michael Scott, “I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little stitious.” A few years ago I ran in the new year with vegan hoppin’ john, and it’s become a yearly tradition every since. You don’t need to wait until New Year’s Day to make this tasty dish though. I mean, who couldn’t use a little good fortune on a day-to-day basis?
How to Make Vegan Hoppin’ John
This dish is super easy to make!
- First you mix together the stock, vinegar, agave, and seasonings.
- Then you cook the onion, celery, and garlic in a pan over medium heat.
- Next you add the collards and the vinegar-agave mixture and cover the pot. Allow it it cook for about 10 minutes, until the collards have wilted.
- Finally you stir in the beans and tomatoes and cook for just a few more minutes, until they’re heated throughout.
I like to serve my hoppin’ john with brown rice, cornbread muffins, and lots of hot sauce.
How to customize your Vegan Hoppin’ John
Hoppin’ John is traditionally made with black eyed peas and collards, but you can change things up, if you like.
- You can use black beans or kidney beans instead of black eyed peas.
- Kale or chard can be used instead of collards.
- You can add sliced tempeh bacon or vegan sausages, if you want a more meaty dish.
- If you’re sensitive to heat, you can omit the cayenne pepper.
How to Cook Black Eyed Peas
I use canned black eyed peas when making this dish, because it’s super convenient. I’ve even seen frozen beans at my local Whole Foods, which I’ve used a few times. If you’d rather cook dried beans, it’ll save a money but take a little more time.
To prepare your dried beans, first place them in a colander and check them for pebbles. Then give them a good rinse. Place your beans in a bowl with enough water to cover them and let them soak for 4 to 8 hours. Soaking your beans will cut down on the cooking time as well as make them more digestible. After soaking, rain the soaking water and rinse the beans again. You can skip the soaking step, but know that your beans will take longer to cook.
Now you place your beans in a pot with water to cook them. If you’re cooking 1 cup of dried beans, you’ll need about 3 cups of water. One cup of dried beans will cook up to about 2 cups. Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat, and then lower the heat to medium-low. Allow the beans to simmer uncovered. If any foam that may forms on the top of the water, you can skim it off with a large spoon.
Soaked beans will take about an hour to cook. If you didn’t soak your beans, they’ll take an hour and a half to two hours.
Here’s to a prosperous year ahead!
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon neutral-flavored vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large bunch collard greens chopped (about 8 cups)
- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes or 1 1/2 cups fresh diced tomatoes
- 15 ounce can black-eyed peas drained and rinsed (or 1 3/4 cups cooked beans)
- 2 cups cooked brown rice for serving
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Hot sauce for serving, optional
- In a small bowl, mix together the stock, vinegar, agave nectar, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, basil, and salt.
- Heat the 1 oil in large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic and cook for about 8 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.
- Add the collard greens, and vinegar-agave nectar mixture and cover the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until greens are tender.
- Stir in the beans and tomatoes and cooked until heated throughout, another 2 or 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over brown rice and top with hot sauce, if using.
More black eyed pea recipes include:
- Hoppin’ John Burgers
- Happy New Year Chili from The Plant-Based Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson
- Hoppin’ John Tofu Scramble