Hoppin' John and Collards

I didn’t grow up in the south, but I did grow up eating my dad’s hoppin’ john every new years day. It’s supposed to bring you good luck for the year – and while I’m not necessarily superstitious, I’m not one to break with tradition, either.

My dad’s version always involved some kind of smoky pork product. I was hoping I would be able to achieve an equally delicious vegetarian hoppin’ john. Instead of the pork, I cooked the dried beans with a dried pasilla chili (an idea I saw floating around the internet). I started with a flavorful base of onion, celery, red and green bell pepper, and garlic. I also added some Spanish paprika for some smoky flavor, and spiced it up with a little chili powder. Authentic? Probably not. Delicious? Absolutely.

On the side, I made some simple braised collard greens. I like my collards cooked until they’re soft, but not too mushy. My favorite way to cook them is simply braise them with some chopped onion. I add a little sweetener (honey, in this case) and apple cider vinegar at the end, both of which cut the bitterness nicely.

Matt and I both agreed that this meal shouldn’t be limited to just new years day. A dish this tasty and healthy should be enjoyed year round.

Vegetarian Hoppinโ€™ John with Braised Collard Greens

Hoppin' John and Collards

Ingredients (serves 4)

    For the Hoppin’ John

    • 9 oz. dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight
    • 1 dried pasilla chili
    • 4 cups unsalted vegetable broth
    • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
    • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
    • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
    • 1/2 tsp. hot chili powder
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2 scallions (green part only), sliced
    • Rice, for serving

    For the Collard Greens

    • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1/2 cup onion, minced
    • 1 lb. collard greens, stems removed, rinsed, and roughly chopped
    • Red chili flakes (optional)
    • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp. honey
    • Salt


    For the Hoppin’ John

    Put the soaked black eyed peas, chili, and vegetable broth in a large pot along with about 4 cups of water (enough to cover the black eyed peas by an inch or so). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the black eyed peas are soft, but not mushy (about 40 minutes). Drain the black eyed peas, reserving the cooking liquid.

    Hoppin' John

    Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or high-sided pot. Add the onion, peppers, celery, thyme sprig, and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened and add the garlic. Cook a couple more minutes, or until the garlic is softened but not browned.

    Hoppin' John

    Add the paprika and chili powder. Cook for a minute, mixing it into the cooked vegetables.

    Hoppin' John

    Add the drained black eyed peas along with about two cups of the cooking liquid (you can add more or less depending on how liquidy you want the dish). Season with salt and pepper.

    Hoppin' John

    Simmer for about 20 minutes, and test for seasoning again.

    For the Collard Greens

    Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.


    Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook until softened.


    Add the collard greens and chili flakes (optional), and cover the pot. Take off the lid every couple of minutes to stir the greens around as they wilt. When they have wilted, add a little bit of water and cover the pot again. Keep cooking them this away, adding a small drop of water when they get too dry, for roughly 40 minutes, or until they reach desired tenderness. If there is still water left in the pot at the end, remove the cover and let the water evaporate.


    Season with salt, and add the honey and vinegar. You can add more or less honey depending on how bitter your greens are.

    Hoppin' John and Collards

    Top the hoppin’ john with the scallions and serve everything over rice. It can be served with a vinegar-based hot sauce, though I found it had enough of a kick on its own.

    What do you do to ring in the new year?

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    • http://twitter.com/MichellePC Michelle Collins

      This looks great!! After my recent New Orleans adventures, it’s nice to see some vegetarian Southern recipes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne (eats well with others)

      I SO intended to make a vegetarian hoppin john yesterday but it just didn’t happen. This week though…I’m making this!

    • http://megan-deliciousdishings.blogspot.com/ Megan

      I’ve always wanted to try making hoppin’ John for New Year’s, but I haven’t done it yet. Maybe next year! It sounds like a great dish.

    • http://twitter.com/tri2cook Shannon G

      i’ve never made collard greens! but this looks like just the way i should try it ๐Ÿ™‚ and i’ll take luck any time of year… bring on the black eye peas!

    • http://twitter.com/TraveleatloveMM Meghan M.

      What a delicious tradition!

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      oh what a fun meal! this looks so good!

    • Sacha

      This looks delicious and much fresher than the version of hoppin john’ I know. Happy New Year to you!

    • http://www.acambridgestory.com Emily

      What a great idea to make a veggie version. I’m not enjoying meat much these days and am always looking for new dishes to make. This one is great!

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