Have I told y’all about our yearly New Years day meal? I can’t remember. My parents are Southern and with that come traditions. Traditions that go back so far, no one dares to mess with them. This particular tradition consists of eating Ham, Black-Eyed Peas, and Collard Greens for our New Years Day meal. The only saving grace was the fresh corn bread.
I wish I had a photo from back then.. I’m sure it would have consisted of my parents happily dishing out the meal while my brother and I grimaced and tried to figure out if we could hide the peas in our napkin.. or just how far we could spread everything around our plate to make it look like we’d eaten more than we had. (My parents never fell for either… but it was always worth a shot). Needless to say we hated that meal.
One year, on a fluke, I spent New Years Day with a girl friend… and her family’s tradition was take out Chinese Food. You can only imagine my delight and my confusion in that I thought EVERYONE ate the same terrible meal on New Years as we did. Apparently not – my parents were just “mean“.
I’d like to say that my poor kids have been spared the miserable New Years meal… but they have not. They attempt the same food hiding/spreading around/complaining that we did… and when asked “WHY DO WE HAVE TO HAVE THIS??” I simply say “Because it’s tradition” and then turn away so they can’t see me giggling.
This year I kept all of the usual dishes from our traditional southern meal but decided I also wanted to try something new with the black-eyed peas. All these years later I still barely tolerate them on New Years Day. I searched around and found a dish called Hoppin’ John that was getting rave reviews. Wanting it to be vegetarian I modified it slightly and I must say it was delicious. I love a good Cajun Red Beans and Rice dish… and that is very similar to how this ended up tasting to me.
Vegetarian Hoppin’ John
- 1 cup of dried black-eyed peas (these will need to be soaked overnight)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 1/2 chopped red pepper
- 1/2 chopped green pepper
- 1 chopped jalapeno (remove seeds for less spice)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- salt & pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon tabasco
- 1 to 2 vegetarian sausage links – chopped ( I used Field Roast Grain Meat Mexican Chipotle)
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (drain them)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup prepared rice (follow rice cooking instructions on box/bag)
1. Soak black-eyed peas 8 hours or overnight – Make sure the water is about 2 inches over the beans.
2. Chop peppers, onions, and jalapeno
3. Heat olive oil in large pot or dutch oven and saute garlic
4. Add diced onions, peppers and jalapeno to garlic, saute for until vegetables are tender about 6 mins.
5. Add paprika and the next 9 ingredients (through bay leaf). Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for 50 minutes (peas will be tender).
6. Remove bay leaf. Stir in prepared rice .
7. Serve and eat. Yum
This dish got rave reviews from everyone who joined us for New Years Day meal. It probably could have been a little spicier for me but nothing a little added Tabasco sauce couldn’t fix. To make it less spicy, you could go with a regular vegetarian sausage (vs the chipotle one I used), remove the jalapeno, and hold off on the Tabasco sauce and just let people add it to the dish once plated.