Traditionally made in celebration of the New Year, and to bring good luck, this vegetarian and vegan Hoppin John Stew recipe is a favorite during the coldest months of the year. Nourishing 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. [ watch the VIDEO on the recipe card! ]
Vegetarian Hoppin John Stew 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.
How to Make Vegetarian Hoppin John Recipe
Traditionally hoppin John stew with 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!).
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!
Vegetarian and vegan hoppin John stew recipe feeds a small crowd, but also freezes beautifully.
A Few Notes on Vegetarian Hoppin John Soup
- 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.
- Bulk Bins: Look for black eyed peas and rice in the bulk bins. They’re more economical and refilling a large jar cuts down on waste.
- Collard Prep: 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.
- 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.
- About Liquid Smoke: 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
Vegetarian Hoppin John Stew Recipe
- 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 thoroughly 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.
Made this for New Year’s Day today to bring us some luck for the new year! It’s really tasty, so nice after all the rich food we’ve been eating lately. I used cabbage instead of collards which worked well. Thanks for another great recipe!
Hii Josie! Thank you for your note, rating and giving the recipe a go. But oh my goodness, cabbage instead of collards sounds amazing! I’m going to try it next time!
Making this now… sounds good EXCEPT – 1-1/2 TBSP of garlic? Sounds like a lot, and more than I would equate to 3 cloves. I’m going with 1-1/2 TSP.
Hi Lyric… three garlic cloves would be from plump/large garlic cloves. Adjusting to taste is a good idea!
LOL, Traci, you were right! The garlic sounded scary, but I truly could have used some more. I also didn’t have collards, so subbed spinach. So good!
It adds SO much to this recipe. Next time, Lyric! Spinach sounds delish!
Happy New Year Traci! This Hoppin’ John stew is soooo good – a great, healthy way to start off the new year! Hope you are doing well!
Hey Stef! Happy New Year to you :D I’m so happy you gave this recipe a go. We love it and have it year round… it’s SOooo comforting!
I’ve made this several times and it’s always a winner! Hearty and Flavorful.
I omitted the liquid smoke and added about 3 TBS molasses plus increased the smoked paprika to 2 tsp. I also used kale since I could not find collard greens in my area.
This recipe has definitely been added to my regular winter rotation.
Hi Annette! SO happy to hear you’re enjoying the stew. Thank you for your note and sharing your tips! I love the idea of molasses, and kale.
Rather than draining the greens, lift them out of the water—you’ll leave the grit behind at the bottom of the bowl. Looking forward to trying your recipe!
This was delicious. I went ahead and made this in the instant pot (I did not soak the peas but did rinse them thoroughly). Used the sauté for the first part of instructions (I did add 2 carrots and roasted the onion and pepper for more smoke flavor; as I did not have the liquid smoke) and then 17 minutes High Pressure with 15 minute natural release (collards on top). Will make again.
Hiii Lalita! Thank you for your note, rating and giving the recipe a go. Too.. for your IP notes! I know this will help others. So happy to hear you enjoyed the stew!
Simply delicioua and nutritious! 5 stars
Hiii Margaret! I loove this recipe sooo much too! Thank you for your note and rating… it truly made my day!
Really, really yummy and healthy!!!!
So glad you like it Margaret! Thank you for coming back and leaving a note!
Delicious! Super flavorful and the black eyed peas were perfectly cooked.
Hi Kristen! Thank you for coming back and leaving a note! Hooray for super flavorful! So happy you enjoyed the recipe. I looove this one!
Happy New Year!
Thank you so much for this recipe. I usually stick to your recipes exactly because you have such a good balance of flavor, but for this one I had to use what was on hand.
We had some cooked kidney beans and a ton of kale to use up, so I altered the cooking steps a tad but kept your seasonings and ratios. It was perfect. The spice level was great without hot sauce for me and with hot sauce for my husband.
We had never heard of Hoppin John stew before, but we will be making it on chilly days from now on!
Hi Samantha!Thank you for coming back and leaving a note, your kind words and sharing your adaptations! What great subs, to use what you have on hand – not having to make a special trip to the store is a WIN! I love kidney beans… they’re so creamy and just a perfect partner for this soup. So happy you two enjoyed the recipe! Thank you again!
Simply delicious! The house smells great. I made vegan cornbread to go with it, and it was amazing. Love your recipes.
Hi Andrea! Thank you for your note! So happy to read… and yes on making the house smell so good! Hooray!
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
I love these kinds of stews, Traci. The weather here has been cold and rainy and this would be perfect with a nice glass of wine. It’s filling, healthy and packed with veggies – a great way to start to the New Year eating right. Wishing you a wonderful New Year, Traci!
You and me both Geraldine! I love the addition of a glass of wine… I’m in! Happy New Year my friend!
Alexandra | Occasionally Eggs
Happy new year friend! I’ve never tried Hoppin John stew but it’s on the list, as soon as we have an oven to make cornbread in!
Hey Lady! It’s a must try! And yes, worth waiting for because you gotta have cornbread to go with it! xo
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
Happy New Year my friend!! First time I ever had Hoppin John was on my honeymoon in Bermuda, and I loved it. Believe it or not, Tom enjoyed it too. This is such a comforting dish and so perfect for winter. Love it with the cornbread on the side. Can’t wait to give it a try! Looking forward to all the deliciousness you’ll be sharing in 2019 Traci!
What a gorgeous place for a honeymoon! And Tom enjoyed Hoppin John?! I’m quite impressed! I hope you (and Tom) enjoy this version. Do you think he’ll go for the collards? LOL! Happy New Year Mare!
Liz @ Floating Kitchen
Happy New Year, Traci! Love this colorful stew! And yes, liquid smoke is such a great trick. And it lasts forever because you need such a small amount. I think I’ve had the same bottle for 10 years! Lol!
Yeah! It does last forever…. I think I’ve had the same bottle for about 3 years now, but 10?! Woah! LOL! Happy New Year Liz!
Laura | Tutti Dolci
Happy New Year, Traci! This stew looks perfect!
Thank you Laura! Happy New Year!