Healthy Vegetarian Hoppin’ John Recipe for Soulful Eating

As you sit down to enjoy a warm, comforting bowl of Hoppin’ John, you can feel the rich cultural history and delicious flavors seeping into every bite. This iconic Southern dish has been enjoyed for generations as a staple in soul food cuisine, traditionally made with ham hock and served on New Year’s Day for good luck.

But as a vegan chef, I believe that everyone should be able to enjoy the soulful taste of Hoppin’ John – without compromising their dietary restrictions or beliefs. That’s why I’ve crafted this Simple Vegetarian Hoppin’ John Recipe, using wholesome ingredients like dried black-eyed peas, brown rice, and aromatic vegetables.

This dish is not only flavorful and satisfying but also packed with plant-based nutrition. And my recipe is free from animal products, so even strict vegans can indulge in this southern classic.

So let’s honor tradition while staying true to our values with this classic vegan Hoppin’ John recipe. As we dive into each hearty spoonful, we’ll celebrate the flavors that bring us together at the start of each new year.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Simple Vegetarian Hoppin' John
Simple Vegetarian Hoppin’ John

Folks, listen up! Are you looking to tantalize your taste buds with a hearty meal that is not only filling but also healthy? Look no further because the vegan hoppin’ john recipe is the one for you! This dish uses black-eyed peas and brown rice, both of which are high in fiber and plant-based protein. It’s an excellent way to nourish your body while enjoying something truly delicious.

What makes this recipe stand out from the rest is the combination of herbs and spices that add depth and complexity to the flavors. The use of chili peppers gives it a pleasant kick that will leave a lasting impression on your palate. Furthermore, this recipe requires minimal ingredients, making it easy to prepare without compromising on taste.

Hoppin’ John is traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day in Southern America as it is believed that doing so brings good luck and prosperity for the year ahead. But who needs an excuse for great food, am I right? This dish is perfect for any day of the week! Whether you’re vegan or not, this recipe has all the soul food flavor you could ask for.

So whether you’re cooking for friends or family, or just want to enjoy a satisfying meal by yourself, give this recipe a try. It’s easy, nutritious and sure to please everyone at the table. Trust me; it’ll be hard for anyone to resist this delicious Southern-style staple!

Ingredient List

 A soulful bowl of Hoppin' John waiting to be savored.
A soulful bowl of Hoppin’ John waiting to be savored.

Get your shopping list ready, here are the ingredients you’ll need for this vegan Hoppin’ John recipe.

  • 1 cup of wild rice
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 chili peppers, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Salt to taste

For the black-eyed pea mixture:

  • 2 cups of dry black-eyed peas
  • Water for boiling
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 vegan ham hock (optional), or substitute with smoked paprika
  • Salt to taste

This recipe calls for a mix of long-grain brown rice and wild rice. If you can’t find wild rice, you can substitute it with more brown rice.

To save time, you can use canned black-eyed peas instead of dry beans. However, if you choose to use canned beans, drain and rinse them before using.

Also, be sure to finely dice your chili peppers to add some heat to the dish without overwhelming it.

The Recipe How-To

 Get ready for a tasty journey to the South with this vegetarian variation of Hoppin' John.
Get ready for a tasty journey to the South with this vegetarian variation of Hoppin’ John.

Now comes the fun part – let’s get cooking! Below are the detailed steps on how to make this Simple Vegetarian Hoppin’ John Recipe.

Step 1: Soak and Rinse

Firstly, rinse the 1 cup of dried black-eyed peas and soak them overnight in a bowl filled with water. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans.

Step 2: Cook Rice

Next, cook 1 cup of wild rice and 1 cup of brown rice each in separate pans, according to package instructions. When cooked, allow them to cool.

Step 3: Sauté

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in 1 medium diced onion, 2 chopped celery stalks, and 1 chopped green bell pepper. Stir for a few minutes until they start to soften. Next, add in 4 cloves of minced garlic and stir for an additional minute.

Step 4: Mix Ingredients

Then add in your cooked rice mixture – that’s the cooled wild and brown rice – by pouring it into the pot with the sautéed vegetables mixture. Mix well until blended together. Next, add in 2 cups of vegetable broth, soaked black-eyed peas, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Reduce heat to low and let all ingredients simmer for about 45-60 mins until peas are tender.

Step 5: Seasoning

Season your Veggie Hoppin’ John with additional salt or spices as needed to meet your desired flavour preference.

That’s it! Your Simple Vegetarian Hoppin’ John is ready to be served!

Substitutions and Variations

 This hearty dish will make your taste buds sing with delight.
This hearty dish will make your taste buds sing with delight.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to switch things up, there are a few ingredient substitutions and variations you can try that’ll bring a different flavor to your vegan Hoppin’ John. Here are some interesting ideas to give you more flexibility in your cooking:

1. Black-Eyed Peas: Although the traditional recipe calls for black-eyed peas, there’s no harm in using other types of beans or legumes like field peas, navy beans, or red kidney beans. Feel free to experiment with a variety of pulses – it’s healthy and good for you.

2. Rice: The classic Hoppin’ John recipe uses brown rice or long-grain rice, but you can substitute them with other grains like bulgur wheat or quinoa. You can also try using wild rice in place of brown or long grain rice to give your dish a nuttier taste.

3. Spices: If you like heat and spiciness, consider adding more chili peppers to the dish or using hotter varieties like jalapenos or habaneros. For a complex flavor profile you can add smoked paprika or cumin.

4. Vegetables: Nothing beats some sautéed vegetables on your plate to boost the nutrition content and taste of your meal. Adding green bell peppers, cabbage savory collard greens, kale and carrots will make your vegan hoppinjohn even better

5. Meat Alternatives: Substitute sausage by adding smoked tofu or tempeh – this is what I do! Or omit it altogether for a vegetarian take on the recipe that’s still rich in proteins an nutrients.

Experiment with these different variations to create exciting dishes that not only warm your soul but also provides nutritional value that nourishes your body from within! Just be creative and enjoy the process because cooking is all about having fun while treating yourself with delicious and nutritious meals!

Serving and Pairing

 A medley of colors and flavors that will light up your dining table.
A medley of colors and flavors that will light up your dining table.

The best way to savor the deliciousness of vegetarian Hoppin John is by serving it hot and fresh. I love to serve it as a one-bowl meal, with a dollop of vegan sour cream, a sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro, and a few slices of avocado on top.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can present it on a bed of wilted collard greens or sautéed spinach for an extra boost of nutrition. You can also serve it as a side dish with roasted vegetables or a hearty salad that balances the flavors and textures.

As for drinks, I suggest going for cold and refreshing beverages like lemonade, iced tea, or even a cooler with sparkling water and fresh fruit slices. For adults who want a boozy twist to their meal, serve it alongside an ice-cold beer or a crisp glass of white wine.

Hoppin John is perfect for bringing people together. Whether you’re sharing it with family during the holidays or hosting a get-together with friends, this soulful Southern dish will warm everyone’s hearts and bellies alike.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A full serving of wholesome ingredients, a full serving of comfort.
A full serving of wholesome ingredients, a full serving of comfort.

Now, I know you’re thinking, “how in hell am I supposed to make this and still have time for my busy schedule?” Well, my friend, that’s where make-ahead meals come into play.

To get the most out of your vegetarian Hoppin’ John, I recommend making it ahead of time. This dish is perfect for meal prep because the flavors only deepen as they sit. Plus, it tastes just as delicious when reheated.

Once your Hoppin’ John has cooled, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. When you’re ready to eat, simply reheat it on the stove over medium heat. You can add a touch of vegetable broth or water to thin it out if necessary.

But wait! There’s more! If you want to freeze your Hoppin’ John for later use, simply let it cool completely before portioning it into freezer-safe bags. This dish can be frozen for up to three months but try not to forget about it in there!

When reheating from frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge and then follow the stovetop reheating instructions.

Trust me when I say that having a stash of homemade Hoppin’ John in your freezer will be a lifesaver on those busy weeknights when you need something quick, easy and tasty.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Celebrate the diversity of food with this dish that transcends cultural borders.
Celebrate the diversity of food with this dish that transcends cultural borders.

Cooking Hoppin’ John requires patience, skill and a whole lot of love. As a vegan chef, I know the importance of the perfect texture, flavor and aroma of this soulful dish. Here are some tips that would ensure perfect results every time you make this healthy one pot meal.

1. Soak the peas overnight: Soaking the black-eyed peas will help them cook faster and more evenly. It also helps in removing impurities and improving digestibility.

2. Use the right ratio of liquid to rice: To get perfectly cooked vegan Hoppin’ John, you need the right amount of liquid for the amount of rice you’re cooking. 2 cups of water or vegetable broth for every cup of brown rice is ideal.

3. Let it simmer on low heat: Letting your Hoppin’ John simmer gently for 30-40 minutes allows all the flavors to come together perfectly. Keep an eye on it, stir occasionally and add more liquid if needed.

4. Use fresh ingredients: Using fresh ingredients like vegetables, spices and herbs ensures maximum flavor and nutritional benefits.

5. Add salt at the end: Adding salt at the beginning can result in tough peas or rice, so wait until your vegan Hoppin’ John is almost done before seasoning it to taste.

6. Experiment with toppings: While Hoppin’ John is traditionally served with collard greens or sausage, as a vegan chef you can experiment with different toppings to add flavors and textures. Try roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed kale or avocado slices.

Following these tips will guarantee that your vegan Hoppin’ John recipe comes out wonderfully every time you cook it, making it perfect for any occasion from New Year’s Eve to a hearty weeknight dinner with your family.


But wait, there’s more! Some questions may still linger in your mind about this vegetarian Hoppin’ John recipe. Don’t fret, I have gathered some frequently asked questions and provided answers to put your mind at ease. Read on for more information.

What is traditional Hoppin John?

Hoppin’ John is a culinary delight that has been a part of southern American culture for centuries. It comprises of a simple yet delicious combination of black-eyed peas, rice, and meat, typically pork, commonly served on New Year’s Day. Other items like collard greens and cornbread can also be part of the meal. This dish has a rich history dating back to the 1800s.

What is the difference between Hoppin John and black-eyed peas?

The popular Southern dish known as Hoppin’ John is made with black-eyed peas, which were believed to have been brought to America by enslaved Africans who labored on rice plantations. This hearty meal includes a simmered blend of cow peas, rice, and spicy sausage, ham hocks or fat pork.

What are the variations of Hoppin John?

Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, are used in various regional dishes across the world. For instance, in Guyana, they are used in a dish called “cook-up rice,” while in Cuba, black beans are substituted for black-eyed peas in a dish called “Hoppin’ Juan.” Similarly, in Peru, they are used in a dish called tacu-tacu, whereas in Brazil, they are used in a dish called baião-de-dois along with other ingredients.

Why do they call it Hoppin John?

The origin of the name “Hoppin’ John” is a topic of debate among historians. Some believe that the dish was popularized by an elderly man named Hoppin’ John who sold peas and rice in Charleston. Others speculate that the name comes from the way excited slave children hopped around the table when it was served. However, it is widely accepted that the term “Pois Pigeons,” which is French for dried peas, is also a possible origin of the name.

Bottom Line

Are you ready to dive into the flavorful world of Hoppin’ John? With this simple vegetarian recipe, you can enjoy this classic Southern dish with all its delicious twists and textures, without sacrificing your vegan lifestyle.

Whether you’re craving a satisfying meal or looking for a new dish to add to your traditional New Year’s Day celebration, Hoppin’ John is the perfect choice. It’s rich in nutrients and protein, thanks to its blend of wholesome ingredients like wild rice, brown rice, and black-eyed peas.

Plus, there are endless ways to make this dish your own. Substitute ingredients and experiment with flavors to find your perfect combination. You might try adding diced green bell peppers or chili peppers for a spicy kick, or sautéing some diced sausage for an extra layer of flavor.

No matter how you choose to make it, Hoppin’ John is sure to become a beloved addition to your plant-based recipe repertoire. So why wait? Start cooking up some soulful Hoppin’ John today and taste the Southern tradition for yourself!

Simple Vegetarian Hoppin' John

Simple Vegetarian Hoppin’ John Recipe

This is part of a really hearty meal we serve to our vegetarian friends. If there is any leftover, it freezes well, and it can also be used as refried beans in burittos.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Southern US
Servings 1 pot of Hoppin' John
Calories 467.4 kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 chili peppers (fresh, one chopped, one whole)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup brown rice (raw)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup wild rice


  • Rinse and sort black-eyed.
  • Combine with water, and boil gently 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, take off heat, and cover for one hour.
  • Return to heat, bring to a boil, then cook over low heat 30 minutes.
  • Add peppers, salt, and onion, and continue to simmer gently until done, about 1 1/2 hours until done.
  • While beans are continuing to cook, start the rice.
  • Bring the 2 1/2 cups of water and butter to a boil.
  • Slowly stir the rice into the boiling water.
  • Cover and simmer gently 20 minutes.
  • Remove cover, add wild rice, stir gently, and cover again, simmering for another 30 minutes.
  • Uncover for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Serve rice covered with the hot black-eyed peas and generous amounts of their sauce.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 378gCalories: 467.4kcalCarbohydrates: 86.6gProtein: 20.7gFat: 5.3gSaturated Fat: 2.3gCholesterol: 7.6mgSodium: 335.9mgFiber: 9.7gSugar: 7.8g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Beans, Brown Rice, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, Rice
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