This Hoppin John Recipe has black-eyed peas that are steeped in a flavorful vegetarian broth with okra, spices and served over nutritious quinoa for a healthy twist on this Southern classic.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- A healthy remake of a classic Southern dish.
- Black-eyed peas make a budget-friendly protein source for meals.
- An easy-to-make recipe that’s a terrific addition to meals throughout the year!
What Is Hoppin John?
Hoppin John is typically a combination of peas, vegetables, and meat served over rice. It is also referred to as Carolina Peas and Rice.
What my Mississippi forbearers commonly referred to as field, crowder, cow, or black-eyed peas are actually beans that grow and are ready to pick and eat during summer months.
Black-eyed peas are often hailed as only suitable for New Year’s Day but actually great served year-round.
Peas topped with chopped green onions alongside a piece of cornbread were frequent supper or dinner entrées when my mother was growing up.
This vegetarian version of the Carolina classic pairs black-eyed peas with quinoa instead of white rice which increases protein and fiber.
You won’t find ham hock, bacon, or other meats in this dish. Instead, I get a very deep flavor from the combination of ingredients. Here’s what you need:
- Garlic and celery: Cooked with the peas to add flavor and season the black-eyed pea as they cook.
- Okra: Makes a great addition to this vegetarian Hoppin John. If you aren’t a fan, you can leave it out.
- Black-Eyed Peas: You can make this recipe with fresh or dried black-eyed peas.
- Creole Seasoning: I am a big fan of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning but you can certainly use another brand.
- Liquid Smoke: I usually cook with Colgin Natural Hickory Liquid Smoke.
- Spices and Herbs: The peas are seasoned with cumin, rubbed sage, cayenne pepper, and thyme.
- Vegetarian Beef and Chicken Stocks: You can make your own vegetarian beef and chicken stock. Or you can grab some Better Than Bouillon Vegetarian No Beef Base or Orrington Farms Vegan Beef Broth and add it to water. It is very flavorful.
- Seasoned Salt: My favorite one to use in recipes is Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt.
- Quinoa: I usually cook the quinoa separately which gives you the flexibility to use it during the week in salads or with other dishes.
PRO TIP: If you don’t need this recipe to be vegetarian, you can use regular beef or chicken stock as well as add a smoked ham hock or smoked turkey wings.
How to Make Hoppin John
Making this dish is simple and only requires a few steps! Are you ready to get stared? Let’s go!
- Soak the dried peas overnight. If you’re using fresh peas you can skip this step and simply rinse them well. After soaking, drain the water and rinse them well. Place the peas in a large pot and add water.
- Chop the garlic and celery and add it to a pot with the peas and water.
- Add the olive oil, all the spices, and the vegetarian stocks. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and cook.
- Prep the okra. Wash it and then cut off the stems and discard. Then slice the okra into quarter-inch pieces.
- Add the okra to the pot after the peas have cooked for one hour. Continue cooking for up to another hour or until peas are tender.
- Toast the quinoa in a saucepan for one minute.
- Add the water, stock, salt, and walnut oil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for twenty minutes. Stir towards the end of cooking so it doesn’t burn.
- Serve up the quinoa topped with black-eyed peas and fresh chopped green onions.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months.
- If you don’t like spicy, feel free to leave out the cayenne pepper or use a bit less.
- Soak dried black-eyed peas overnight. Similar to my other bean recipes like Butter Beans and Red Beans, this helps them cook more quickly and makes them easier to digest.
- Serve up hoppin’ john with southern cornbread or hush puppies to soak up all the delicious juices.
Black-eyed peas are traditional but if you don’t have them you can also make this recipe with black beans or pinto beans.
Nothing too terrible. The peas may take a bit more time to fully cook and tenderize. They may also be a bit more difficult to digest.
More Southern Recipes
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Hoppin John Recipe
For the Black Eyed Peas
- 4 cups fresh or dried black eyed peas
- 6 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 ½ cups okra
- ¼ cup celery
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp vegetarian chicken stock
- 2 tbsp vegetarian beef stock
- 1 tbsp Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt
- 2 tsp rubbed sage
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 dashes Colgin Natural Hickory Liquid Smoke
- 1 dash cayenne pepper optional
For the Quinoa
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups quinoa
- 1 tsp vegetarian chicken or beef stock
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp walnut oil
For the Black Eyed Peas
- If using dried black-eyed peas: This is the norm, so the peas must be soaked overnight. Place the peas in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cool water being careful to remove any hard debris or blemished peas. Place the peas in a large pot and add water to about an inch above the peas and let them soak in an uncovered pot, overnight. The next day the peas will have absorbed some of the water they soaked in.
- If using fresh black-eyed peas, meaning you got them from a farm, someone’s garden or in the refrigerated section of a grocery store, place the peas in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cool water being careful to remove any hard debris or blemished peas.
- Add 2 Cups of water to the pot and place the pot on the stove, turning the burner to high.
- Mince the garlic and celery either with a paring knife or by using a food processor if preferred. Add to the pot. Add all remaining ingredients except the okra to the pot.
- Once the peas reach a rapid boil, turn the heat down to low. Wash the okra in the colander under cool water. Cut off the top stems and discard. Chop the remaining okra into ¼ inch pieces and add to the pot after the peas have been cooking 1 hour. Cook for 30 minutes to 1 additional hour.
For the Quinoa
- Place quinoa in a sauce pan on medium high heat to toast, allowing some of the grains to slightly brown. After approximately one minute, add the water and then the remaining ingredients and turn the heat down to low.
- Cook for approximately 20 minutes, stirring the last few minutes to ensure it doesn’t burn. Top with the black-eyed peas, fresh chopped green onions and enjoy!
A HUGE THANK YOU to Collards Are The Old Kale for guest posting and providing this wonderful recipe!
This post was originally published December 2019. It has been updated with new content and images.