In the southern United States, eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls. During the late Middle Ages, there was a tradition of eating beans on New Year's Day for good luck in parts of France and Spain. The European tradition mixed with an African food item to become a New World tradition.
There are almost as many theories as to how Hoppin' John got its name as there are ways to cook the dish. One story attributes the name to the custom of inviting guests to eat with, "Hop in, John." Another suggestion is that it is derived from an old ritual on New Year's Day in which the children of the house hopped once around the table before eating the dish. Whatever its origin, it was definitely a staple for many in the early South, and remains an important dish today.
The traditional version of this recipe uses fresh pork or bacon. Here is your vegan edition!
- 3 cups cooked black eyed peas
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 large stalk celery (with leaves)
- 1 medium-sized sweet onion
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 2 TBS Tamari (or other type of low sodium soy sauce)
- 1 TBS yellow mustard
- 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
- 2 TBS coconut sugar (or any raw, brown sugar)
- Dash of your favorite hot sauce (optional)
- Melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a deep pan.
- Slice the onion and celery and add them to the pan.
- Chop the peppers and when the onion is soft, add them to the pan.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low until peppers are soft.
- Serve over rice and/or with some sauteed greens.
Serves 4. Enjoy!