Hoppin’ John Recipe

Cooking for a Crowd, Holiday Recipes, Recipes, Weekend Cooking


Last year, my friend Anita hosted an open house New Year’s Day party where her daughter, also a good friend of mine, made a big pot of Hoppin’ John, a simple black-eyed pea stew made with bacon, rice and banana peppers. Black eyed peas are said to bring upon good luck in the New Year.


This was new to me, but from here out I think I’m going to make it a tradition: 2016 has been a great year for me. I know it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for a lot of people and I am the first one to agree: there is a lot of scary shit happening in the world. Pain is local though and I find myself practicing gratitude regularly — not just saying I’m grateful for what I have, but actually feeling it and believing it.

Of course, I don’t owe it all to the Hoppin’ John.

At the beginning of 2015 I was stuck in a big fat rut — unhappy running an all-consuming PR business, struggling financially, and overall feeling kind of lonely. My friend Kelley told me, as cliche as it is, that “life is a roller coaster, and sometimes you’re at the top and other times you’re at the bottom.” I rang in 2015 closer to the bottom to the top, and I felt like I was watching everyone around me move forward in their lives: careers, relationships, travels. I felt like I was constantly taking one step forward and two steps back.

Sometimes good fortune comes from luck and sometimes, you make your own luck. In early 2015, I interviewed for a position that sounded like my dream job and started in my new role in March of that year.  A month later, I adopted a rescue dog and in July, found a great therapist. In October, I met Brad and after a year of dating, we moved in together in a neighborhood we love (as a bonus, our apartment is way more affordable than where I lived previously, so I’ve been able to make some financial headway, too).

In 2016, I ran two half-marathons, spent countless weekends with my wonderful and supportive friends, and moved in with a guy I am crazy about who is currently on our back porch building us a custom headboard. He might not realize it, but he makes mundane feel special and fun — shopping for furniture, sushi on a Tuesday night, taking Henry for the long loop around the block on Saturday morning and grabbing coffee before hitting the dog park (which I know he secretly doesn’t want to do).

In 2016 I’ve also been able to work toward some of my financial goals, founded an auxiliary board for a local non-profit that does amazing work in the community and rediscovered my love of cooking and writing about it, something that Brad has always supported in more ways that one, the most obvious being a reliable taste tester, and helping me evaluate whether our dinner was “blog-worthy.” I’ve also made a great deal of professional growth and met some amazing and inspiring people.

Sometimes I struggle with what to write here about my personal life: when things are bad, I don’t want to air my dirty laundry. Since I started this blog in 2008 there have been a lot of bumps in my proverbial road that you as my readers could probably relate to: professional woes, friendship troubles, dating woes, financial hurdles and all  of the mundane things that make life harder to navigate. There’s also the fear of how people will perceive you:  what if a client or potential employer was to see it and think I’m weak, or irresponsible?

On the flip side, I also hesitate to share the good. What if taking time to verbalize or appreciate my good fortune jinxes me and the bottom drops out? What if I say out loud, “I’m happy” only to get hit by a bus tomorrow? I know that rationally, the odds there are slim, but because there are dips in the roller coaster, that makes it even more important to appreciate when the going is good. It’s easier said than done, so I’m hoping I can will myself to be more open and honest here.

Starting with the good things though, because I’m determined to start 2017 on a high note as I started 2016. So, we’ll be starting the year with Hoppin’ John.

There are a lot of recipes online, but I really liked my friend Amanda’s. It was passed onto her by cousins who live in Kentucky, so it’s a good authentic Southern version of the dish often referred to as “Carolina Peas and Rice.” It’s usually served with collared greens, and is said to bring upon good luck in the New Year. I know I’m going to keep working on creating my own good fortune, but a little luck can’t hurt either.


Hoppin' John
Recipe type: Cooking for a Crowd, Holiday Recipes, Weekend Cooking
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 pound of bacon, diced
  • 1 16-ounce jar of mild banana peppers (with juice), chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ pound dried black-eyed peas, cooked (about 2 cups) or 2 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups cooked long-grain rice
  1. Cook bacon in a medium pot over medium-low heat until the bacon is crispy. Set bacon aside. *If using dried black eyed peas, cook according to package directions. This step may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  2. Place the onion and banana peppers in the same frying pan as the bacon grease and sauté until they begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir well and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the black eyed peas, Worcestershire sauce and dried herbs. Stir to combine and cook another 4-5 minutes.
  4. Stir in 2 cups of cooked minute rice and the cooked bacon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or transfer to a crock pot and keep warm on the lowest heat setting until serving.
For more Hoppin’ John recipes to bring upon good luck in the New Year, here’s some inspiration for you:


Hoppin’ John Rice Skillet from Diethood


Spicy Hoppin’ John Salad from Budget Bytes


Hoppin’ John Over Cornmeal Pancakes from Cupcake Project


Slow Cooker Hoppin’ John with Sausage from Weary Chef

Instead of making Hoppin' John, serve Black Eyed Pea Dip to guests on New Year's Day. A nod to the traditional Southern recipe, this app calls for similar ingredients. Chock full of black eyed peas, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, jalapeño and some green onions, this vegetarian dip comes together with a honey-balsamic dressing. Serve Black Eyed Pea Dip with corn or tortilla chips. What a scrumptious appetizer to bring prosperity in the new year!

Black Eyed Pea Dip from The Speckled Palate


Vegan Hoppin’ John by Tori Avey

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  • Reply
    January 2, 2017 at 11:28 am

    One of the first authentic Southern dishes I had in our travels last year were hoppin johns and they’re delicious! Can’t wait to try these!

  • Reply
    carrie @ frugal foodie mama
    January 2, 2017 at 8:52 am

    I LOVE Hoppin’ John! 🙂 I actually made a version similar to this in my slow cooker yesterday.

  • Reply
    Cathy Trochelman
    January 1, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    What a great post…and this Hoppin’ John is the perfect way to welcome 2017!

  • Reply
    Angie | Big Bear's Wife
    January 1, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    This is perfect for New Years! I’m glad 2016 was good for you! We had ups and downs in the year but it was ok. I’m ready to see what 2017 brings!

  • Reply
    Sandi G
    December 31, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Hearing your story was wonderful. I am so glad you have achieved your goals and are happy 🙂 I struggle to write about myself too, but I do feel it allows your readers to get to know you better. This is one of my goals for 2017 🙂

  • Reply
    Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet
    December 30, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    I love Hoppin’ John, such great southern comfort food!

  • Reply
    Lora @savoringitaly
    December 30, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    So nice to read how wonderful the past year was for you! I’m very happy for you, Maris! My mom reminded me we have to make our good luck lentils tomorrow!! Happy New Year!!!

  • Reply
    Kalyn Denny
    December 29, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    The recipe sounds fabulous and I am happy to hear things are going well for you!

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