Hoppin’ John

When I got my assignment for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I have to admit that my first thought was, “Oh, my gosh. What in the world am I going to do with this? ” That’s because my assigned blog was called We Heart Vegan and as y’all know I’m about as opposite from a vegan as night is from day! It’s no secret to anyone that I believe bacon is what they greet you with when you arrive in Heaven and if I had to choose one thing for my last meal it would be a perfectly cooked ribeye steak. But I was trying to keep an open mind and thought surely I could find something in common with a vegan blog. Surely. I read about the blog owners, two precious young ladies named Brittany and Julie, and I started going through the recipes. I have to tell you I was getting discouraged for a while. There were ingredients that I’d either never heard of or knew I’d have to make a one-hour round trip to the nearest Whole Foods to find. It wasn’t looking good.

And then I found something familiar! Hoppin’ John!Why, there’s not a Southerner alive who hasn’t been eating Hoppin’ John since they came into the world! I was all set for the Secret Recipe Club challenge. And although an authentic Hoppin’ John would have smoked ham hocks in it and I did use chicken broth where Brittany and Julie used vegetable broth, I stuck pretty closely to their recipe.

Hoppin’ John is a old, traditional New Year’s Day dish eaten throughout the South. Served alongside greens of some sort, it represents good luck and prosperity for the new year. I can honestly say that I have eaten black eyed peas every New Year’s Day for my entire life.  We take our traditions seriously in the South :-)

There are lots of theories about how the combination of peas and rice came to be known as Hoppin’ John. I don’t know which, if any, of them are true. I just know that this is honest, simple food that connects me to my roots. I also learned recently from Gwen at Bunky Cooks that the original components of Hoppin’ John were Carolina Gold Rice and Sea Island Red Peas. Not black-eyed peas. Sea Island Red Peas are pretty hard to find these days, but I did happen to have some Carolina Gold Rice from our recent trip to Charleston and I used it for this recipe. It was delicious!

Carolina Gold Rice

Start your rice by bringing water, salt and butter to a boil. Add the rice, lower the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Keep warm until the peas are ready.

Veggies for Hoppin' John

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic in olive oil until the vegetables are very tender.

Adding blackeyed peas to Hoppin' John

Add the peas, broth, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes or until the peas are completely heated through. Stir in the parsley.

Serve the peas over a bed of rice. Top with green onions and chopped tomato.


Hoppin John
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Hoppin' John is a traditional recipe of peas and rice enjoyed throughout the Southern states on New Year's Day.
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tblsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 15-oz. cans black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tblsp. chopped parsley
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
  1. Bring the water, butter and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir in the rice.
  3. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook approximately 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic.
  6. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent.
  7. Add the black eyed peas, stock, salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 10 minutes.
  8. Stir in the parsley.
  9. Serve the peas over a bed of rice.
  10. Garnish with chopped green onions and tomato.
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If you’d like to join in the Secret Recipe Club fun, just go on over to the site at http://secretrecipeclub.com and see what it’s all about. It’s a lot of fun. Why don’t you join us?

Other recipes for Hoppin’ John you might enjoy from around the internet:

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  1. says

    That’s part of the fun of Secret Recipe Club – getting taken out of your comfort zone! I love that you found something to make in the end and stuck to the vegan concept (well, almost!)

  2. says

    I don’t think I have ever seen such a delicious lookin’ Hoppin’ John. Interesting lil’ tidbit Gwen offered. I didn’t know!

    Great choice this month! :)

    • says

      I didn’t know that either until I read it in Gwen’s post. Her interview with Chef Brock was really fascinating. Love what he’s doing with bringing back heritage strains of vegetables and animals. Fabulous!

  3. says

    This Hoppin’ John look fabulous! I would be in “trouble” too with a vegan blog… still that’s all the fun, right? ;-) Great job!!!

  4. says

    Hi Lana,

    Thanks for the mention! If you can, order the Sea Island Red Peas. Those are soo good with the Carolina Gold Rice. Your version looks awfully good, too and reminds me that I need to make another pot of these. :)

    • says

      You’re welcome, Gwen. I so enjoyed your post about Chef Brock and his efforts to revive some of the heritage strains of plants and animals. So nice to hear that this work is going on close by!

  5. says

    I grew up eating my grandma’s black-eyed peas, deliciously flavored with bacon grease. This is clearly a much healthier option. It looks both beautiful and yummy!

    • says

      I’m always doubly pleased when I can bring back a pleasant memory for someone with the recipes I cook. So glad you liked it, Barbara!

    • says

      Well, it’s normally nowhere near vegan. It usually has either bacon or smoked ham hocks in it to season the peas. This version without it wasn’t bad, though. Just not authentic :-)

  6. says

    I am from the west and have never seen a hoppin john before, but your dish looks delicious. I love how you styled it too. The plate is gorgeous! Great SRC pick!

  7. says

    Reminds me a little of the Korean tradition of eating Rice Cake Soup (Duk Gook) every New Year’s day. You gotta have some traditions to keep life flowing at a comfortable pace and maintain a connection with prior generations.

  8. says

    This looks great (and I have the same passion for bacon that you do!) Not sure I could convince hubby to try it (he loves his meat more than I do), but I guess it could pass as a side dish. Great SRC choice!

  9. says

    I think that would be a tough task for me too, a vegan hoppin’ john recipe that I could say tasted good, but I think, heck, I know you nailed it… many thanks for the link… hope you have a great week… let me hear from you on some football recipes now… I know you know how to serve hungry football folks…

  10. OrahLee says

    I know this is an old post, but still is inspiring. I’ll have to try this. Last New Years I made a Hoppin’ John and it wasn’t very good (the next day’s left-overs were though). I want a good first day’s dish—I’m not too good at planning too far ahead!!! Happy New Year and a Half!!


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