Traditionally made in celebration of the New Year, and to bring good luck, this Hoppin John recipe is a favorite during the coldest months of the year. Hearty and comforting, share this vegetarian Hoppin John with a side of cornbread for a hearty meal! This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and easily gluten free.
A New Year Tradition
A tradition in the new year always includes black eyed peas. In this hoppin John recipe, I’ve paired black eyed peas with collard greens, one of my favorite food pairings. They’re like peas and carrots! Bake up a big skillet of cheesy jalapeño cornbread to share with hoppin John stew because you’ll need something to soak up all that flavorful broth!
And don’t be shy about pulling out a vegetarian black eyed pea recipe year round. I mean, there’s so much goodness in these little lucky peas. They’re not just for the new year!
New to collard greens?
They’re a powerhouse of nutrition and are delicious to incorporate into your food rotation. Raw, they’re a sturdy thick green with a texture similar to kale but even heftier. Cooked, they become tender yet still hold their structure. Like kale, collard greens are an easy green to include in soups and stews when you want a little more texture, heft and that beautiful green color. They pair perfectly in this hoppin John recipe.
Traditionally hoppin John stew (and collard greens) is cooked with some sort of cured meat or ham hock. But to achieve that smokey flavor in this vegetarian hoppin John recipe, I use liquid smoke. It does the job without any meat (a vegetarian and vegan secret!).
How to Make This Hoppin John Recipe
This stew is simple to make with just a bit of advance prep. Soaking those lucky peas (aka black eyed peas) overnight creates a most tender and creamy pea. In summary, here’s how to make it (see recipe card below for full details).
- First, soak the black eyed peas in water overnight.
- Second, in a heavy bottom stock pot, saute the veggies; celery, bell pepper and onion. Add a bit of smoky paprika and pepper flakes.
- Third, stir in the water, tomatoes, garlic, bayleaf and soaked peas. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Fourth, while the stew is simmering away, whip up a batch of cornbread, cook the rice and chop and clean the collards.
- Next, once the black eyed peas are tender, stir in the collard greens. Lid and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
- Last, stir in the rice, warm through and this hoppin john recipe is ready!
This vegetarian hoppin John stew feeds a small crowd, but also freezes beautifully.
A Few Notes on Vegetarian Hoppin John Stew
- To soak or not to soak? Unsoaked black-eyed peas only take a bit longer to cook than soaked peas. If not soaking, simply simmer about 10-15 minutes longer or until tender, before adding the collards to the mix.
- Look for black eyed peas and rice in the bulk bins. They’re more economical and refilling a large jar cuts down on waste.
- Collards tend to carry a bit of soil on them. Rinse off any loose dirt, cut the stem/rib out and chop into bite size pieces before plunging them into a bowl of water. There, agitate the greens then drain.
- For Meal Prep: The rice can be cooked and the veggies chopped up to three days in advance and stored in a lidded container in the refrigerator.
- Find liquid smoke at your grocery where BBQ and other hot sauces are sold and look for the simplest ingredient list with words you can pronounce, gluten free if needed.
- Freezer friendly? Yes please! Store vegetarian hoppin John stew in a lidded container for up to three days in the refrigerator or up to two weeks in the freezer.
- Share this with your favorite cornbread. Have a look at my Jalapeño Cornbread or Gluten Free Cornbread!
More Black Eyed Pea Recipes to Love
- Black Eyed Pea Sweet Potato Cornbread Pot Pie
- Harissa Stewed Black Eyed Peas with Okra and Collard Greens
- Crock Pot Black Eyed Peas
- BBQ Black Eyed Peas Collard Rolls
- Black Eyed Peas with Smoky Collards and Cheesy Grits
Hoppin John Stew
- 1 1/2 C (275g) Dry Black Eyed Peas *soaked overnight, at least 8 hours
- 2 Tbs Vegetable Oil I use coconut or olive
- 1 1/4 C (165g) Yellow Onion medium dice, about 1/2 a medium onion
- 1 1/4 C (145g) Green Bell Pepper medium dice, about one medium bell
- 3/4 C (75g) Celery medium chop, about two ribs
- 1 tsp Smoky Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes or chili flakes
- 5 C (2.7kg) Water
- 1, 14.5 oz (411g) Can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes and all their juices
- 1 1/2 Tbs Minced Garlic about three large cloves
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 3/4 tsp Liquid Smoke gluten free if needed
- 1 lb (450g) Collard Greens tough stems removed, chopped into bite size pieces and throughly washed, about two bundles
- 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- Tabasco to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
For the Rice:
- 1/2 C (110g) Long Grain White Rice
- 3/4 C (160g) Water
- 1/8 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- *Advance Prep* Cover the black eyed peas with enough water to cover by about 3". Let soak overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse. *See note if you forget to soak.
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven add the oil and heat on medium until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and saute on medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until softened. Sprinkle in the paprika and red pepper flakes. Stir in to coat veggies, about one minute. Add the water, tomatoes, garlic, bayleaf, salt and pepper, liquid smoke and soaked black eyed peas. Bring to a simmer then turn down heat to low, lid the pot and cook for 25-35 minutes or until peas are just tender, not mushy.
- Meanwhile, while the peas are cooking, cook the rice. Rinse rice under running water until the water runs clear. In a medium stockpot add the rice, water and salt. Bring to a simmer, turn heat to low and put a lid on the pot. Cook on low for 17-20 minutes, until water is absorbed and rice in tender. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes with lid on. Fluff with fork.
- Once the peas are tenderish, stir in the chopped collards in two additions. Cook an additional 15 minutes on low, with lid on or until the collards are tender. Stir in the cooked rice, apple cider vinegar, taste for salt and add a few dashes of Tabasco. Warm through, just a few minutes.
- Garnish with chopped parsley if desired. Serve with cornbread, and more Tabasco. Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to two weeks.