New Year's Vegan Hoppin' John


Hoppin’ John is a good luck dish traditionally eaten in the South for the New Year. Other good luck accompaniments include greens or cabbage and pork. This vegan version omits the pork, but, nevertheless, magically bestows good luck on all who enjoy it for the New Year.

The dish is rich and benefits from a little vinegar. A few shakes of vinegary hot sauce can do the trick. Pickled jalapenos are also wonderful additions. Though not traditional, I like to serve a bit of sauerkraut as a garnish and double my luck. Though you can soak black-eyed peas overnight like other dried beans, I find that it is rarely necessary, as they tend to cook quickly.

Vegan Hoppin’ John

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 celery ribs
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Bay Leaf
2 cups dried black-eyed peas, picked through and rinsed
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 14 oz. can organic chopped tomatoes
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce (optional)

In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, and celery. Sauté until vegetables are tender and fragrant (about 10 minutes). Add the thyme and bay leaf and stir until you smell the aroma of the herbs. Add 6 cups water and the peas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until black-eyed peas are tender but still whole, about 45 minutes. Add rice, tomatoes, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, ladle into bowls and serve with corn bread, steamed or sautéed collard greens, and hot sauce on the side.

Happy New Year!

Recipe Copyright 2008 Vanessa Barrington

Image: Current

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.