Black Eyed Peas aka Hoppin’ John

Happy New Year! Celebrating the turning of the page of the calendar fills most of us with hope, ambition and the intangible feeling of what could be. It allows us to dream big and make promises to ourselves and to others without our usual skepticism or cynicism. Oh the possibilities!

The truth is every new day is an opportunity to get closer to a goal, make progress towards a dream, and/or change your current course if you don’t like the direction in which you are headed. For some reason though, New Year’s day gives us the courage to feel like we can accomplish anything we put our mind to. I challenge you to keep this feeling with you all through the year and know that your destiny lies in your own hands.

New Year’s day is brimming with potential, which is why I believe different cultures have so many traditions to help usher in luck, health, wealth, and love. We want to start the year off auspiciously. For example, Cubans eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. A tradition that originated in Spain in 1865 during an exceptional grape harvest. Each sweet grape is said to bring prosperity to each month of the new year; if you happen to taste a sour grape, it foreshadows a particularly difficult month.

I grew up in a  Cuban household, but I also grew up in the South and for many of my friends it was tradition to eat Black Eyed Peas (also known as Hoppin’ John), collard greens, and cornbread on New Year’s day. The peas represent coins, the collards represent money, and the cornbread represents gold. By eating these dishes you are welcoming prosperity into your life. The traditional recipe for Hoppin’ John calls for pork, also believed to help bring luck, (although of course unlucky for the pig in question) and over the years I’ve not only adopted this southern tradition, but I’ve also perfected a vegan version of the peas which is every bit as delicious, smoky, and flavorful as the conventional one.

I make this recipe every New Year’s day and every year I’m reminded how much I really love the taste of Black Eyed Peas. I think to myself, I should make this more often. After all it’s full of fiber, iron and protein: very lucky indeed.

New Year’s day isn’t a magical day. If you haven’t been able to stick to your goals by mid February don’t get discouraged and give up until next year. Every day is a chance to make things better or keep things on the right path. You make your own luck just as easily as you can make yourself a big pot of Hoppin’ John stew. Buen provecho mis amigos!

Print Recipe
Black Eyed Peas - Hoppin' John Stew
Smoky, savory vegan black eyed pea stew for good luck on New Year's day.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Southern
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1.5 - 2 hours
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Southern
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1.5 - 2 hours
  1. In a large stock pot heat oil to medium heat, then add celery, pepper, and onion.
  2. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften, then add garlic.
  3. Cook for an additional minute or two before adding the oregano, garlic powder and chipotle.
  4. Stir to combine the spices in the oil, then add the pre-soaked peas.
  5. Stir to coat the peas in oil, then add six cups of water, salt, bay leaf and liquid smoke and bring to a boil.
  6. Once boiling, reduce to medium to high heat and cook for about 45 minutes uncovered. During this time stir frequently and add water if necessary (if water has boiled out too quickly.)
  7. Reduce to low to medium heat and cover, cooking for an additional 20-30 minutes stirring and watching the pot frequently. The stew should thicken and become gravy like and the peas should soften.
  8. Reduce heat to low simmer, add 1 TB of white vinegar stirring to combine.
  9. Cook for a final 10-15 minutes. 
  10. Once the peas are soft and the stew is thick, remove from heat and serve over a bed of white rice. For extra luck, I like to serve this dish alongside fried green tomatoes, macaroni and cheese, and corn bread. Enjoy!


Nutrition Facts per serving (5 servings) 
Calories: 246
Fat: 9 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Potassium: 94 mg
Carbs: 32 g
Fiber: 10 g
Sugars: 6 g
Protein: 11 g
Vitamin A: 4%
Vitamin C: 36%
Calcium: 5%
Iron: 21%

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