Hoppin’ John

by Lana Stuart on August 29, 2011 · 51 comments

Hoppin' John from @NevrEnoughThyme

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.
All text and photographs on Never Enough Thyme are copyright protected. Please do not use any material from this site without obtaining prior permission. If you'd like to post this recipe on your site, please create your own original photographs and either re-write the recipe in your own words or link to this post.

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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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pam @ From Apples To Zucchini August 29, 2011 at 7:55 am

Leave it to you to find a southern staple on a vegan blog! It looks wonderful. I had your blog this month and hope I did your cookies justice : )


2 Lana August 29, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Loved what you did with the Forgotten Cookies, Pam! Great job.


3 Corina August 29, 2011 at 8:10 am

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!)


4 Chris August 29, 2011 at 8:15 am

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! :)


5 Lana August 29, 2011 at 7:50 pm

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!


6 Manu August 29, 2011 at 9:01 am

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


7 Noelle @Opera Singer in the Kitchen August 29, 2011 at 9:15 am

Yeah, this has me. I have to make this. Protein and rice. Thanks for such a great choice. Now I discovered 2 great blogs!


8 Kita August 29, 2011 at 9:17 am

I never knew hoppin john could look so sexy! What a beautiful presentation and wonderful choice for SRC.


9 Lana August 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Thanks, Kita. I never thought of Hoppin’ John as sexy, either :-)


10 Rhonda August 29, 2011 at 9:24 am

I love me some Hoppin John! I don’t make it often…I need to change that! You reminded me of how good it is.


11 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective August 29, 2011 at 9:34 am

Yes please! This looks so fresh and hearty–I’ll take two bowls!


12 Bunkycooks August 29, 2011 at 9:39 am

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. :)


13 Lana August 29, 2011 at 7:53 pm

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!


14 misschels August 29, 2011 at 10:00 am

Looks amazing! Very pretty picture!


15 Rachel @ Time for Good Food August 29, 2011 at 10:10 am

I love this post — your photo is gorgeous! Back around New Year’s, I was obsessed with getting to the bottom of the Southern New Year’s tradition of eating Hoppin’ John (and greens). I thought you might enjoy this:

Of course, Hoppin’ John is good any time of year. I can’t wait for the weather to cool down so I feel inspired to cook some peas!


16 Monica August 29, 2011 at 10:12 am

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!


17 Katrina August 29, 2011 at 10:21 am

Ha, I love your theory about bacon an the Pearly Gates. ;) Great adaptation of the recipe and finding something that will work!


18 Lana August 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Yes, I’m convinced of it Katrina :-) Bacon = Heaven in my book.


19 Feast on the Cheap August 29, 2011 at 10:29 am

Love that SRC forces us out of our comfort zones!


20 bkiebel August 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

You did it again! Me. You. Southern memories. Great photo Lana, makes me wish I had some for breakfast!


21 Lana August 29, 2011 at 7:56 pm

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!


22 Stephanie@PlainChicken.com August 29, 2011 at 11:55 am

Beautiful photos.! Black eyed peas are a MUST on New Years in the South!


23 Kate August 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Yum! I have never tried Hoppin’ John but am thinkin’ this looks mighty good! Great SRC selection.


24 DessertForTwo August 29, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I love a good pot of hoppin’ john! Never even noticed it was vegan :)


25 Lana August 29, 2011 at 7:57 pm

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 :-)


26 Eliot August 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm

OK–I love Hoppin’ John, but mine has too much bacon in it to be vegan. But I love this take. (Much healthier.)


27 Delishhh August 29, 2011 at 1:55 pm

LOL – too funny! I was laughing as I was reading this. But you did a fabulous job on the SRC. Nice work!


28 Lana August 29, 2011 at 7:58 pm

It was pretty funny, Ewa. You should have seen my face when I saw that I had to cook something vegan :-)


29 Katherine Martinelli August 29, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Such a classic dish! Great recipe, even without the ham hocks :-)


30 India-leigh @ aveganobsession August 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm

hey the pics are great and the dish has such simplicity. Well done for being open to the vegan blog. I’m loving being part of SRC and being challenged to think outside the box.


31 Lisa~~ August 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I’ve never tried Hoppin’ John even though I live in the deep south. I’ll have to give it a go one of these days as you’ve made it look delicious.

If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to check out my Group ‘A” ~ SRC recipe this month: Cilantro Lime Chicken

Cook Lisa Cook


32 Anne-Marie @ This Mama Cooks! August 29, 2011 at 4:53 pm

THAT’S what Hoppin John is! Gorgeous!!


33 Lana August 29, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Yep, that’s it Anne-Marie. Well, a lightened up nearly veganized version anyway :-)


34 veronica gantley August 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Hoppin Johns, mostly black eyed peas are a serious southern staple. It is what a lot of the confederate soldiers ate to stay alive. What a lovely post for our SRC.


35 Andrea {From the Bookshelf} August 29, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Great SRC pick! Wonderful photos!


36 Gloria August 29, 2011 at 10:52 pm

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!


37 Jeanie August 29, 2011 at 10:57 pm

I’m always trying to pretend to be a southerner. this will help me in my quest.


38 Tina @ MOMS CRAZY COOKING August 30, 2011 at 12:29 am

I just LOVE your blog name…. coming over from SRC

I was in Secret Recipe Club: Group B. Here are my two posts I hope you have time to check them out, if you haven’t seen them already.




39 Tamar August 30, 2011 at 2:23 am

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.


40 heidi August 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm

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!


41 Nutmeg Nanny August 30, 2011 at 8:58 pm

This looks great! Great pick for SRC :)


42 Rivki Locker August 31, 2011 at 11:32 am

I eat mostly vegetarian and this looks RIGHT up my alley. Great choice, and congrats on the kitchn feature.


43 Lana August 31, 2011 at 11:36 am

Thanks, Rivki!


44 Emily | Nomnivorous August 31, 2011 at 11:36 am

You are adorable! I had a similar feeling with my SRC assignment last month, but wasn’t brave enough to put it out there. Congrats on the Kitchn link, too!


45 Drick August 31, 2011 at 12:56 pm

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…


46 Concetta August 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I love your recipe – perfect choice and the picture is just gorgeous!


47 Barbara @ Barbara Bakes August 31, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I have never eaten Hoppin’ John. Looks like a hearty, delicious meal.


48 marla September 3, 2011 at 8:19 am

Lana, I love the recipe you chose for SRC this month. A perfect meal for any time of year!
Awesome to be in the Secret Recipe Club with you. Here is my post for September :) http://su.pr/1Sizv9


49 OrahLee May 19, 2014 at 1:33 pm

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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