Hoppin’ John Black-Eyed Peas

No one is sure where Hoppin’ John black-eyed peas originated. Some believe the recipe may have come from Louisiana and the French Creole name for pigeon peas, which are similar to black-eyed peas. The French Creole term for pigeon peas is “pois a pigeon,” which is pronounced “pwah peeJon.”

This explanation makes great sense to me. In my own family, my grandmother always made a recipe called “John Bazetti,” a goulash dish made in a skillet. As an adult, I discovered an almost identical casserole dish, called “Johnny Marzetti.” It seems obvious to me that my grandmother’s recipe evolved from Johnny Marzetti. So recipe names do evolve and get pidginized (pun!).

Wherever it came from, Hoppin’ John has become an American South/Cajun tradition, eaten for good luck and prosperity on New Year’s Day. Each pea is supposed to represent coins when eaten with greens, representing paper currency. Adding stewed tomatoes to the recipe is said to represent health and wealth. Cornbread eaten alongside the Hoppin’ John represents gold currency. And here I was just eating plain ol’ black-eyed peas for luck all these years!hoppin john black eyed peas

You might already be familiar with the Cajun holy trinity: celery, bell pepper, and onion. These three vegetables are the base for many Cajun recipes, and Hoppin’ John is no different. Cajun and Creole dishes like etouffee, gumbo, and jambalaya all start from this base.

I had never seen freshly shelled black-eyed peas in the grocery store. This year, Mr. Key Lime found some, so we grabbed them to try. The fresh peas have been pre-soaked, so you can skip that step. They keep in the fridge until you are ready to use them, within a few days. You could also use canned black-eyed peas with this recipe. The cooking time will be shortened, since the beans only need to heat up and not to actually cook.

I have been trying this new “excess water” method for cooking rice, which is like cooking pasta. Try cooking your brown rice this way: put 10 cups of water in your dutch oven or soup pot for cooking two cups of rice. Boil the water, then add the rice. Let the rice cook until tender, then simply drain the rice in a colander.* It’s so much easier! The rice doesn’t get gummy or sticky, and it doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pan if it overcooks. If you try this method, just be sure the holes in your colander are smaller than the grains of rice. Otherwise, hello, sink full of rice!

This vegan version of Hoppin’ John (from Food52) is meatless and made with vegetable broth – a lighter, healthier way to increase your luck. Oh, and it’s also a very tasty meal to start your new year! We ate ours with this Easy Vegan Cornbread.

You might also be interested in these New Year’s Eve appetizers: Guacamole Stuffed Red Potatoes or White Bean Dip.

*Update: I just read on the Celiac Disease Foundation website, if you cook your rice using the above “excess water” method, you can remove 50% of the arsenic from the rice. That’s a good reason to change cooking methods.

GLUTEN FREE OPTION: This recipe can be made gluten free as long as your paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper, and vegetable broth are all gluten free.

 

 

 

 

Print Recipe
Hoppin' John Black-Eyed Peas
A delicious Southern and Cajun black-eyed pea dish made with brown rice, vegetable broth, the Cajun holy trinity, and plenty of spices.
hoppin' john black-eyed peas
Cook Time 30 minutes or less
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cook Time 30 minutes or less
Servings
servings
Ingredients
hoppin' john black-eyed peas
Instructions
  1. If using dried black-eyed peas, place them in a pot of water and soak them overnight. Discard the water. Otherwise, drain and rinse canned black-eyed peas or rinse freshly shelled black-eyed peas, removing any bad peas.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or skillet. Add onion, pepper, and celery. Saute until the vegetables are soft and the onions are translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.
    hoppin john black eyed peas
  3. Add thyme, paprika, and drained peas. Add the vegetable broth. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered until the peas are tender, 35 to 50 minutes, or heated through if canned. If the black-eyed peas aren't tender as the broth cooks off, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup more of vegetable broth and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. While the beans are cooking, cook the rice according to package directions or using the "excess water" method, described above. Fluff and set aside.
  5. Strain the diced tomatoes and add them to the pea mixture. Heat the mixture for a few more minutes. Add black pepper, cayenne, and salt to taste.
  6. Serve each bowl with black-eyed pea mixture over the brown rice, and sprinkle evenly with chopped green onions. Season with your favorite hot sauce, if desired.
    hoppin john black eyed peas
Recipe Notes

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Leave any feedback in comments below. Also, share your comments on Instagram: @key_lime_coconut or on Twitter: @keylime_coconut. We love seeing hashtags #keylimecoconut #keylimecoconutblog and #beachbumvegan when you try our recipes.

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