Hearty vegan Hoppin’ John is a plant-based version of the smoky, savory Southern recipe of black-eyed peas and rice, and a longstanding tradition to serve on New Year’s Day.
Black-eyed peas are considered a good-luck food in the American South. And while this dish is a New Year’s Day tradition, you need not wait for any special occasion to serve this humble fare. Here’s more on the history of Hoppin’ John.
Prepared with the “holy trinity” of onion, garlic, and celery, you’ll be replacing animal-based bacon with plant-based bacon — a simple swap. You can also use 2 links of vegan sausage — or even leave out the plant-based protein altogether. It will still be good.
Start the year off on a lucky note with a brunch centered around this dish on New Year’s Day. A big “mess o’ greens,” as cooked collard greens were once commonly called, is a traditional companion. However, you can use kale and/or other greens that you prefer or have on hand. See a link to a basic method for preparing, following.
Cornbread isn’t a must, but sure does go well with Hoppin’ John. A simple slaw rounds out the meal. Here a few of these companion recipes:
A Southern-inspired vegan New Year’s Day menu
Adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5- to 6-ounce package vegan bacon, cut into small bits or 2 links vegan sausage, chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large celery stalks, diced
- 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (try fire-roasted)
- Two 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed, or 3 cups cooked
- 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1/4 cup sliced fresh basil leaves at the end)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons Cajun or barbecue seasoning, or more, to taste
- Dried hot red pepper flakes or hot sauce to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- Plenty of hot cooked rice (white or brown, as you prefer) for serving
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the vegan bacon or sausage. Sauté over medium-high heat, stirring often, until browned and crisp. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and celery and continue to sauté until all are golden.
- Add the tomatoes, black-eyed peas, dried basil (if using fresh basil, save for later), thyme, seasoning and black-eyed peas. Cook for 15 minutes over low heat.
- Stir in the vegan bacon. Add hot seasoning to taste, plus salt, and pepper.
- Stir in the parsley and fresh basil, if using (reserve a little of each, if you’d like. Serve at once over hot cooked rice.
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