Hoppin’ John, a traditional southern black-eyed pea stew with collard greens for a lucky New Year.

vegetarian Hoppin' John a traditional New Years Day dish for good luck

This week, Constance at The Foodie Army Wife blog hosts our New Year’s themed #SundaySupper, as we share recipes that are either reflections of our past year or ‘resolution’ recipes for the next. A ‘resolution’ recipe can be a commitment to cook healthier, or to try new things. My resolution is to become a little less wimpy on the vegetarian path I’ve chosen. So I chose a vegetarian dish loaded with protein and nutrition. Even better, it promises good luck for the year ahead.

If you travel through the South on New Year’s Day, you may find black-eyed peas on the breakfast table. If you do, be sure to take a big helping for good luck. According to Southern folklore, if these legumes are the first thing you eat in the New Year, you will have luck and prosperity throughout the year.

Both of my parents grew up in Alabama, but this tradition was news to me. I did some research and it seems the black-eyed peas’ association with luck dates back to the Civil War. This was a big crop in the South, first planted as food for livestock and later as a food staple for slaves. When Sherman swept through, his soldiers destroyed and stole all crops, but left black-eyed peas behind. Survivors subsisted on this nourishing food, and would likely have perished without it.

Truthfully, even without this backstory, legumes are considered lucky because of their resemblance to coins. But black-eyed peas aren’t the only reason this Hoppin’ John dish, a traditional black-eyed pea and pork stew served over rice, may be the luckiest thing you make all year. First, the rice, which represents abundance for obvious reasons. Next, the collard greens; greens represents paper money or folded bills. If you include pork in your portion, like my husband, you get an extra dose of luck since pigs root forward, and are rotund. And not taking any chances with 2014, I took the added precaution of making some cornbread, which represents the wealth of gold.

So if you’re interested in having a lucky 2014, have this dish on New Year’s Day. Ideally for breakfast, if you listen to Southern tradition, so feel free to add a fried egg on top.

I hope you all have a very lucky 2014.

Cooking Notes:

Black-eyed peas and black-eyed beans are the same legume.

The dried chipotle pepper ingredient adds a distinctive smokiness to the stew, and is a great flavor substitute for the pork .

This dish can easily be made vegan by eliminating the cheddar cheese, or substituting vegan cheese.

For a strictly vegetarian stew, be sure to use cheddar cheese made with a vegetable rennet. Several are now available, and worth checking out. Rennet is used to coagulate (thicken) milk during the cheesemaking process so that curds form. Animal rennet comes from enzymes extracted from the stomach lining of a calf, ewe or kid (baby goat), something I was recently made aware of thanks to one of my readers here. Thanks Juls! Whole Foods is a great place, but not the only place, to look for alternatives that use vegetable rennet.

Notes for the Vegetarian – Omnivore (Turf and Turf) Table:

I left the pork out of my vegetarian portion. But for Myles, the Carnivorous Maximus, I chopped up six or seven pieces of pancetta and fried them up. I divided the soup in half, and added his half to the bacon. A better option for omnivores is adding a smoked ham hock to the beans as they cook.


Hoppin’ John for Good Luck

     by Susan Pridmore

     Serves 4

       Prep Time: 30 minutes

       Cook Time: 4 hours


  • 32 ounces vegetable broth
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper
  • 1 ½ cups dried black-eyed peas or beans
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • ¼ cup diced carrots
  • 1 red pepper, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, including any leaves (about ½ cup)
  • 1 Serrano pepper, seeded, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 2 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups stemmed and sliced collard greens
  • ¼ cup thinly slices scallions
  • ¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 cups of cooked rice
  • Cornbread


Bring the broth to a simmer in a large heavy pot. Add the dried chipotle pepper and black-eyed beans. Cover and simmer on low until the beans are tender, about 3 hours.

While the beans are cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion slices, carrots, red pepper, celery, and Serrano, and sauté for 20 minutes, or until the onion begins to lightly brown. Add the garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Add the vegetables to the soup pot, and stir into the beans. Add the vinegar to the sauté pan and scrape up any cooked bits. Add to the soup pot.

Add the thyme, mustard and all of the spices except the salt. Simmer until beans are very tender. Add the salt.

Ladle the soup out into bowls, and top each bowl with one tablespoon scallions and one tablespoon cheddar cheese

Serve over rice with a side of cornbread.

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43 Responses to “Hoppin’ John for Good Luck: #SundaySupper” Subscribe

  1. Constance @FoodieArmyWife December 29, 2013 at 5:47 am #

    Growing up in Wisconsin, I had never heard of this tradition – until I married a southern boy and spend my first New Year’s with his family. I think your version looks WAYYYY better than the beans-straight-out-of-a-can that my father-in-law ate! Happy New Year!
    Constance @FoodieArmyWife recently posted..Italian Vegetable Soup | #SundaySupper Happy New Year!My Profile

  2. apuginthekitchen December 29, 2013 at 6:01 am #

    Love it Susan, I am also planning on making Hoppin John. Love this recipe, sounds delicious!! Happy New Year to you and Myles.
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..Red Kuri And Butternut Squash SoupMy Profile

  3. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious December 29, 2013 at 6:18 am #

    I only tasted b-e peas in the last, oh, 5 or so years, but I fell in love with them. This version looks fantastic!
    Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious recently posted..Snowman Eggnog Pancakes for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  4. Family Foodie December 29, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    It has been such a pleasure getting to know you this past year. Thank you so much for your support and friendship. I hope we have the opportunity to meet IRL in 2014.
    I love traditions and this dish is just fabulous!
    Family Foodie recently posted..Chicken Stuffed with Prosciutto and Mozzarella #SundaySupperMy Profile

  5. Renee December 29, 2013 at 6:29 am #

    Would you believe I’ve lived in the South all my life and have never had Hoppin John? I need to remedy that and make it one of my goals for the coming year.
    Best to you and your family for 2014!
    Renee recently posted..Apricot Fizz for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  6. Shannon @VillageGirlBlog December 29, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    Love the story with your recipe! I have never made these but they look great so I have to add it to my must make list. Happy 2014!!
    Shannon @VillageGirlBlog recently posted..Pancetta & Goat Cheese Crostini for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  7. Liz December 29, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    I have a ham bone in the freezer…and Hoppin’ John would be a great dish for New Year’s since comfort food is needed with the chilly temps. Wishing you a Happy New Year, Susan!

  8. Cindys Recipes and Writings December 29, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    I’ve seen Hoppin John made so many ways. I love your version, Susan! Best to you in the new year!
    Cindys Recipes and Writings recently posted..Champagne Shrimp and Pasta for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  9. Courtney @ Neighborfood December 29, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    This really looks fabulous. So hearty and full of flavor (and luck!) Wishing you a happy New Year!

  10. Cut 'N Clean Greens December 29, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    Susan, love your version of Hoppin’ John. We can feel the good luck flowing already!

    –Your friendly Southern California farmers at Cut ‘N Clean Greens

  11. Renee - Kudos Kitchen December 29, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Delicious! This looks like a dish that would stick with you all day! I’m printing it and will try and make it as close to new years day as possible. I’m hoping my luck will still hold out if I make it on the 3rd or 4th as opposed to January 1st? Guess I’ll find out :) Thanks for the recipe and Happy New Year!!!
    Renee – Kudos Kitchen recently posted..Spicy Pumpkin and Spinach Quiche – #SRCMy Profile

  12. TerriSue December 29, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    I always make Hoppin’ John on New Years Day. I have always made it with spinach instead of collard greens. I was wondering because I have always wanted to know…..in all of your research did you find out the origin of the name? Or perhaps one of your readers know and could enlighten us. I do now know why we have never had prosperous years, lol. I didn’t know it was supposed to be the first thing you ate on NYD. We have always had it for dinner. I grew up in Kansas, and my husband grew up in several cities across the mid-west. It wasn’t until we became vegetarians shortly after we married 33 years ago that I heard of Hoppin’ John. Thus a new family tradition was born in our little family. After reading through your recipe, I think our old recipe is about to be discarded, and your recipe will now be on the table every January 1st.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian December 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

      Thank you so much TerriSue! And see, now we know it should be eaten for breakfast :-). Seriously not sure it’s going to be breakfast here, but surely later in the day is fine too LOL. You’ve made me curious about the name now and I’m going to research. I’ve got some ideas around it, but I really don’t know for sure. I’ll report back if I find anything out :-) Thanks for stopping by, and a very Happy New Year to you and your family!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Hoppin’ John for Good Luck: #SundaySupperMy Profile

  13. Laura Dembowski December 29, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    I’ve never had black eyed peas, but I could certainly use some luck for 2014, so I should make a pot. Yours look delightful!
    Laura Dembowski recently posted..Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts #SundaySupperMy Profile

  14. Bea December 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    We love black eyed peas and I also make them for New Year’s Day. Actually I may have made Hoppin’ John before on regular days as well because we just love black eyed peas.

    Your recipe sounds delicious and the suggestion to use chipotle instead of pork is perfect.

    I would like to wish you and your family a Happy, Healthy, and Successful 2014!
    Bea recently posted..New Year’s Brezel {#Dairyfree} for #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian December 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

      So much of my time has been spent finding substitutes for meat that won’t make me look longinly at the plate of my husband, the Carnivorous Maximus. And adding smoky flavors from peppers has really helped. Have a very Happy, Healthy and Properous year in 2014!!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Hoppin’ John for Good Luck: #SundaySupperMy Profile

  15. Shannon R December 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Thanks for the fantastic recipe! I plan on making a version in my slow cooker this week.

  16. laurasmess December 29, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    This looks so delicious Susan, gorgeous photo too! I’ve never really eaten black eyed beans, they’re not very readily available here in Australia. I’d love to try this dish though, possibly with some other kind of bean substitute? Do you think borlotti beans would work? Lovely recipe, thanks for the cooking notes and the recollections too :) I had no idea that beans/legumes and rice were auspicious in the new year! Happy New Year… only a couple of days to go! xx
    laurasmess recently posted..Fresh Egg Noodles with Coriander, Chilli and Toasted Peanuts (with Hippy Vic)My Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian December 29, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

      Thanks so much Laura. I think borlotti beans would work GREAT here. I even think adzuki beans would be interesting in this dish and want to try that version too. And really any legume is going to be lucky for us in the New Year. A very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year to you in 2014!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Hoppin’ John for Good Luck: #SundaySupperMy Profile

  17. Martin D. Redmond December 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    Your Hoppin John looks great! I haven’t seen a recipe that includes collard greens before. Definitely pinning. Happy New Year Susan!

  18. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers December 30, 2013 at 6:12 am #

    What a wonderful dish! I am sooooo loving it! Happy New Years to you and your family!!

  19. Sarah December 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    I adore black eyed peas! Never had Hoppin John though because I’m the only one here who eats them

  20. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl December 31, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    What a great recipe you posted here, it looks like it would hit the perfect spot for dinner! Happy New Years!

  21. mjskit January 2, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

    Great looking bowl of Hoppin John! Hope it brings you a great and prosperous year!!!!
    mjskit recently posted..Red Chile Chicken TamalesMy Profile

  22. Laura January 3, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    Hubby and I have decided to go back to our old habits of only having meat a few times a month so I have been looking for some new vegetarian recipes to add to our menu. These beans look fantastic.

  23. Tom Salamone January 7, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    Susan: I am a new cook and do not understand why so many cooking sites have recipes that start with dried beans that take hours to cook versus beans out of a can. Perhaps I should try the dried route to see for myself, but first thought to ask – why dry versus cane? I do look for vegetarian sites as our daughter and grandson are vegetarians and I love to cook for my little 4 year old buddy. Thank you for your consideration. Tom

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 7, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

      You raise a great question, Tom. No question canned beans are more convenient to use. And canned beans have the same vitamins and nutrition benefits as dried. But they also have some disadvantages, and cooking beans from dried have a couple of extra benefits:

      (1) Canned beans typically have a high sodium content for preservation;

      (2) There is strong evidence that the bisphenal A (BPA) in the plastic lining of cans contributes to certain cancers and insulin resistance;

      (3) Dried beans are much cheaper (by nearly 50% in many cases);

      (4) I think the texture and especially the flavor is far better with dried;

      (5) dried beans have a longer shelf life – up to 10 years.

      So here’s what I do: I make the beans ahead and keep a stash in the refrigerator and in the freezer in ziplock freezer bags. And luckily not all beans take a looooong time to cook. For example, lentils only take 25 minutes. So if I don’t have a stash, I can just cook up some lentils.

      Hope this helps, Tom! I’m really glad you asked this question!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Sweet Endings: Chocolatey Chocolate BrowniesMy Profile

  24. Tom Salamone January 8, 2014 at 7:51 am #

    Susan: Very kind of you to reply to my question, in particular so completely. Sodium and BPA alone will now keep me from using canned foods as often as possible. Thank you and take care, Tom

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 8, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

      I thought it a very good question, one that I hear from friends a lot. I’m so happy you want to cook for your little buddy. I love cooking with my grandchildren.

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