Delicious Hoppin’ John Recipe: A Southern Tradition

One of my favorite traditional Southern dishes is Hoppin’ John, a flavorful combination of long-grain white rice and black-eyed peas, seasoned with dried thyme, bay leaves, and a hint of allspice. It’s a dish that’s often eaten on New Year’s Day to bring good luck and prosperity. As a vegan chef, I set out to create a recipe that’s just as delicious as the classic version but without any animal products. And the result is this delicious Vegan Hoppin’ John recipe.

This dish is packed with protein and essential nutrients from the black-eyed peas, which are also known to bring good luck in many cultures. Along with the fiber-rich long-grain rice, this recipe makes for a filling and satisfying meal that’s perfect for any time of year.

Whether you’re a vegan food enthusiast or simply looking to expand your palate with classic Southern dishes, this Vegan Hoppin’ John recipe is one you won’t want to miss. So grab your ingredients and let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Hoppin' John (Vegetarian)
Hoppin’ John (Vegetarian)

My dearest friends and fellow food-lovers, let me put it plain and simple, you will fall head over heels in love with this vegan Hoppin’ John recipe! If you’re unfamiliar with this traditional Southern dish, allow me to give you a little history lesson. Hoppin’ John has been served on New Year’s Day for generations to bring good luck and prosperity in the upcoming year. But, let’s not wait until January 1st to enjoy this flavorful meal!

Firstly, this recipe is packed with protein-rich black-eyed peas that will keep you feeling full and satisfied for hours. Secondly, it is nutrient-dense and contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals; making it a healthy addition to your diet. And last but not least, with its earthy flavors from dried thyme and smoky allspice, along with a kick from chili powder and fresh ground pepper, you can’t help but feel transported to the heart of the South.

But what sets this recipe apart from traditional versions is that it’s made entirely vegan! That means no butter or meat products needed – just wholesome ingredients such as long-grain white rice, vegetable broth, sliced mushrooms, celery stalks, green bell peppers, and okra. And don’t worry if you have certain dietary restrictions – this recipe is gluten-free too!

So whether you’re celebrating the new year or just looking for a comforting meal that packs a punch of flavor without compromising your health or the environment – this vegan Hoppin’ John recipe is the perfect choice. Trust me, one bite and you’ll be hooked!

Ingredient List

 A piping hot bowl of Hoppin' John on a chilly winter night
A piping hot bowl of Hoppin’ John on a chilly winter night

Here’s all you’ll need to make this traditional Southern dish vegan Hoppin’ John recipe:

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (or brown rice)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
    *I used English Bay Leaves, they are a bit milder than California Bay leaf.

Make sure to have all these ingredients ready so you won’t be scrambling around as you cook this delicious dish.

The Recipe How-To

 So flavorful and delicious, even meat lovers won't miss the bacon
So flavorful and delicious, even meat lovers won’t miss the bacon

Let’s get started with the Hoppin’ John (Vegetarian) Recipe! This dish is a traditional Southern favorite, often made on New Year’s Day to bring good luck and prosperity. But why limit good luck to one day? Enjoy this hearty and flavorful vegan hoppin john recipe anytime you want to add a touch of Southern comfort to your table.


To make this smoky vegan hoppin john recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 2 cups dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of dried bay leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

Step One: Cook the Rice and Beans

First, rinse both the long grain rice and brown rice. Place the white rice in a large pot along with the vegetable broth. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 18 minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed.

Cook the brown rice separately in accordance with its instructions. Once cooked, mix it with the white rice in a bowl.

While the rice is cooking, take out a pressure cooker, add the soaked beans (from the night before), and cook according to instructions for dry black-eyed peas. If you don’t have time to soak your beans overnight or use canned black-eyed peas as a substitute.

Step Two: Cook Vegetables

Preheat your pan over medium heat and add your one tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add vegetables including onions, celery stalks, green bell peppers, and minced garlic. Saute until the onions become translucent for approximately seven minutes.

Step Three: Add Rice And Black-Eyed Peas

Add black-eyed peas along with smoked paprika [Savory spice that adds depth into dish] , chilli powder [Adds richness into dish], thyme [Aromatic herb similar to rosemary], ground allspice [Warms flavour], pinch of bay Leaves [Earthy aroma], salt [Seasoning] & freshly ground pepper into pan along with vegetables.

Stir well so that vegetables get evenly distributed into mixture. Reduce heat to low; let your addition sit covered for next fifteen minutes or until heated through.

Step Four: Serve Warm & Enjoy!

Serve warm in a big bowl or individual bowls. [Pro Tip] A side of collard greens would perfectly complement this dish but its not necessarily required for serving

Substitutions and Variations

 A hearty vegetarian meal that's quick and easy to make
A hearty vegetarian meal that’s quick and easy to make

Savoring a vegan Hoppin’ John with its traditional ingredients is an authentic way to embrace Southern cuisine. However, if you wish to add a modern twist or make adjustments based on dietary preferences, there are numerous substitution ideas that you can consider.

One substitution option is to use brown rice instead of long-grain white rice. Brown rice is a healthy alternative that is high in fiber and essential nutrients. The only downside is that it takes longer to cook than white rice, so be sure to plan ahead and allow more time for the cooking process.

For those who prefer a bit more heat, you can adjust the chili powder quantity or add fresh chopped jalapeños or serrano peppers for some extra spiciness. If you’re looking for a smoky flavor, try adding smoked paprika or liquid smoke.

In place of black-eyed peas, other legumes like field peas or black-eyed beans will fit scrumptiously in your dish. Moreover, soy chorizo might provide a savory edge while diced tempeh could give it a nutty finish.

For those who are gluten-free, replace wheat flour with cornstarch to make the roux thicker. If okra is not readily available in your area or country, leaving it out will not spoil the recipe’s authenticity entirely.

Vegetarians can also dive into the classic Southern dish using vegetable broth instead of chicken stock and omitting butter from their recipe. Vegans can skip butter entirely and substitute it with olive oil or vegan butter for added richness.

Whether you keep it traditional or get inventive with this southern rice dish, we encourage exploring variations in keeping with your taste preferences, experimentation levels and accessibility of ingredients to bring forth exciting new ideas!

Serving and Pairing

 Serve with a side of cornbread for the ultimate Southern comfort food experience
Serve with a side of cornbread for the ultimate Southern comfort food experience

When it comes to serving and pairing vegan hoppin’ john, the possibilities are endless! This beloved southern dish pairs perfectly with a variety of sides and toppings for a well-rounded meal.

For a classic southern-inspired meal, consider pairing your vegan hoppin’ john with a side of collard greens or field peas. These tasty sides not only complement the flavors of the dish but also provide an additional vegetable component.

If you’re in the mood for something more hearty, try adding slices of vegan sausage or even mushrooms to your hoppin’ john for some extra protein. For a touch of spice, sprinkle on some hot sauce or cayenne pepper seasoning to really bring out the flavors.

If you’re looking for a lighter option, consider serving your hoppin’ john with a side salad or roasted vegetables. The fresh and crisp flavors will balance out the warm and comforting taste of the dish.

I also recommend serving your vegan hoppin’ john with a side of long-grain white rice, which provides an additional texture and flavor profile to your meal.

No matter how you choose to serve and pair your Hoppin’ John recipe, this smoky Vegan delicacy is sure to be filling and satisfying – perfect for any occasion from casual weeknight dinners to New Year’s Day feasts!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Don't forget to top with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt for added creaminess
Don’t forget to top with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt for added creaminess

Planning ahead is a vital element of success in every aspect of life, including cooking. Fortunately, Hoppin’ John is one of the dishes that you can prepare ahead of time and still enjoy a delicious meal. You can make this recipe on the weekend and reheat it for dinner during the week, saving you precious time and effort.

If you want to make Hoppin’ John in advance, store the peas and rice separately in airtight containers in your fridge. By storing them separately, you will prevent your rice from becoming mushy and your peas from drying out. When you’re ready to serve it, add a little bit of vegetable broth or water to the mix to help loosen it up.

Storing Hoppin’ John is easy: simply place it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to three months. Just make sure that it’s completely cool before transferring it to the freezer.

Reheating your Hoppin’ John will be simple, too. You can reheat individual portions in the microwave, or reheat larger portions on the stove over low heat with an additional splash of vegetable broth or water if necessary. Remember that reheated Hoppin’ John may lose some of its texture, so consider adding more liquid if needed.

By utilizing these simple tips, you’ll be able to enjoy this flavorful southern dish anytime without sacrificing its quality and flavor.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Vibrant, colorful ingredients make this dish a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach
Vibrant, colorful ingredients make this dish a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach

Cooking is an art that requires attention, patience, and a bit of talent. To ensure that your vegan hoppin john dish comes out perfectly every time, I am sharing some tips for perfect results.

One essential tip is to use the right type of rice. A long-grain white rice is ideal for this recipe because it will remain firm after cooking and absorb the flavors of the other ingredients perfectly. Also, rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking.

Another secret for perfect results is to add fresh ground pepper and salt in moderation throughout the cooking process. This way, you will get an evenly flavored dish without overpowering any ingredient.

To achieve a smoky flavor in your vegan hoppin john recipe, use chopped okra instead of mushrooms. Okra’s natural gel-like substance adds thickness and body while enhancing vegetable flavors.

If you want to cut down on preparation time, steamed brown rice can be used in place of long-grain white rice. It will give your dish a nuttier flavor and a slightly chewy texture.

Adding sliced collard greens or field peas to your vegan hoppin john recipe brings dimension and nutrition to your beloved Southern classic. Plus, they add their own unique flavors to the mix.

To create a gluten-free version of this traditional Southern dish, be mindful of ingredient choices such as vegetarian butter or vegetable broth, eliminating chili powders with wheat ingredients in them.

I find using an instant pot or pressure cooker to cook dried black-eyed peas quicker than overnight soaking time. Adjusting cook times according to the appliance’s manual ensures your beans are tender but not mushy.

By following these tips for perfect results, you’ll end up with a delicious pot of vegan hoppin john that everyone at the table will be talking about long after it’s been devoured!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this vegan Hoppin’ John recipe is a delicious and healthy option for the traditional Southern dish that is commonly eaten during New Year’s Day. The combination of black-eyed peas and rice makes it flavorful and satisfying, while the addition of various spices enhances its taste even further. By following the simple cooking instructions and adding your own preferred ingredients, this dish can be easily customized to your taste.

Not only is this recipe vegetarian-friendly, but it is also gluten-free, making it an ideal choice for dietary restrictions. This recipe can be cooked using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, allowing you to save time and energy while preserving the same great taste.

Overall, Hoppin’ John is a comforting and nourishing meal that I highly recommend trying. Whether you’re looking for a healthy dinner option, a traditional Southern treat or a festive New Year’s Day meal, this vegan Hoppin’ John recipe has got you covered. So go ahead and give it a try–you won’t regret it!

Hoppin' John (Vegetarian)

Hoppin’ John (Vegetarian) Recipe

This is a vegetarian version of a traditional New Year's dish, said to bring luck when eaten before noon. Recipe from The Vegetarian Table: America by Deborah Madison, as adapted by the Chicago Tribune. A tasty and flavorful dish.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion
Calories 493 kcal


  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chipotle powder or 1/2 teaspoon regular chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 4 cups frozen black-eyed peas or 4 cups rehydrated black-eyed peas
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice


  • Melt butter with oil in large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, bay leaves, thyme, chili powder and allspice. Cook, stirring often, until onion is lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  • Prepare rice by your preferred method.
  • Add black-eyed peas to the onion mix; cover with water. Increase heat to medium-high; heat to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer; cover. Cook until peas are just tender, 20-25 minutes, checking pan and adding more water if needed. Uncover; cook over medium heat until water is mostly absorbed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice.
  • Note: I used vegetable broth instead of water. My broth had no salt, if you use a commercial broth, cut down on or eliminate the salt.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 256gCalories: 493kcalCarbohydrates: 81gProtein: 18.2gFat: 11.2gSaturated Fat: 3.4gCholesterol: 7.6mgSodium: 625.8mgFiber: 9.4gSugar: 1.7g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Beans, Beginner Cook, Easy, Healthy, Inexpensive, Low Cholesterol
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