Ring in the new year with vegan Hoppin' John Casserole! In this easy-to-make dish, black-eyed peas and collard greens are baked together with spices and then topped with a cornbread crust. It’s not just for New Year’s Day, though! This warming casserole is the perfect comfort food for dinner throughout the cold winter months.
A few years ago, I read about the southern tradition of ringing in the new year with hoppin’ john, which is a dish made with black-eyed peas and collard greens. It’s said that it brings prosperity to the new year. The beans represent coins, and the greens represent paper money. It’s often served with cornbread, which signifies gold.
Ever since, Dennis and I have been celebrating New Year’s Day with vegan hoppin’ john. I don’t think it’s really bringing any extra dough our way, but it’s a tasty dish and a fun tradition, so I’m sticking with it again this year.
Vegan Hoppin’ John Casserole
Last year, we were enjoying hoppin’ john with cornbread muffins, and I realized it would have been faster to cook the two things together, the same way chili casserole with cornbread crust is made. And a recipe was born!
How to Make Vegan Hoppin’ John Casserole
Don’t let the long ingredients list fool you, this recipe is easy to make.
- First, you mix together the apple cider vinegar, vegetable stock, maple syrup, and spices.
- Then, you sauté the onion, celery, and garlic.
- Once they vegetables are translucent, you add the collard greens and vinegar mixture. Mix everything together and cover the pan.
- While the greens are cooking, you mix together the cornbread crust ingredients.
- After the greens have wilted and turned bright green, you mix in the black-eyed peas and tomatoes, and then remove the pan from the heat.
- To assemble the casserole, you place the vegetable mixture in a casserole dish and then spread on the cornbread mixture.
- Finally, you pop the dish in the oven and bake it for 20 to 25 minutes.
You can use freshly diced tomatoes and cooked dry beans if you like, but I like to convenience of canned. If you’re sensitive to heat, you can reduce or even remove the cayenne pepper.
Hoppin’ john is often served with hot sauce, drizzle a little on your casserole for an extra spicy meal!
Hoppin' John Casserole
For the Hoppin’ John
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon neutral-flavored oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large bunch collard greens chopped
- 1 14- ounce can diced tomatoes drained
- 1 15- ounce can black-eyed peas
For the Cornbread Crust
- 1 cup almond or soy milk
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup apple sauce
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 400°F and have a 9x12-inch baking dish ready.
Make the Hoppin’ John
- In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, stock, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, basil, and salt.
- Heat remaining oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic and cook for about 8 minutes, or until translucent.
- Add the collard greens and vinegar mixture. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, or until greens are tender.
- Stir in the beans and tomatoes and remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mixture to your baking dish.
Make the Cornbread Crust
- Combine the almond or soy milk with the apple cider vinegar and let stand for about 5 minutes. It will develop a buttermilk-like consistency. Whisk in the apple sauce and maple syrup.
- Whisk together the cornmeal, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a small well in the center and pour in the wet mixture. Be careful not to overmix.
Make the Casserole
- Pour the mixture over the hoppin’ john, using a wood spoon or spatula to spread it out evenly.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.