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Hoppin' Johns (Southern Black-Eyed Peas)

I am not really one to be superstitious except for one thing: I have to eat my Hoppin’ Johns (Southern Black-Eyed Peas) on New Years. It’s one of those weird Southern things that was rubbed off on me since I was old enough to chew. I can just see my mom forcing me to eat black-eyed peas on New Years as a one-year-old.. haha! 

Never heard of this tradition? Well, word on the Southern streets is that Black Eyed peas bring you good luck and fortune in the New Year. Collard Greens are also said to bring money into your new year so I’ve ridiculously decided to combine the two. I know, I know. It’s as silly sounding to me as it is to you but it’s just something I’ve grown up doing so that tradition just must carry on. Plus, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t just really love black-eyed peas. 

Many folks claim that black-eyed peas taste like “a wet dog” and “eww, they are disgusting”. Well, I don’t know who was cooking them for you because good grief my family always made them bursting with flavor and oh-so delicious. In fact, I freaking love black-eyed peas! This Hoppin’ Johns (Southern Black-Eyed Peas) recipe here is especially fantastic. They’ve got great, deep flavor from the sautéed holy trinity (celery, onion, and bell pepper), some heat from the jalapeno and cajun seasoning, and cooked down with the delicious smokey ham– you have a pot full of some seriously delicious lucky charms. 

Hoppin' Johns
Serves 6
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Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
  1. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1/2 cup celery, diced small (or 1 large stalk)
  4. 3/4 cup green bell pepper, seeded and diced small (1/2 medium pepper)
  5. 1 cup finely diced yellow onion (or 1/2 medium onion)
  6. 2 tablespoons jalapeno, seeded and diced fine (or 1 large jalapeno)
  7. 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
  8. 1 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
  9. 12-ounces diced, smoked and fully cooked ham
  10. 24-ounces pre-soaked black-eyed peas (*see note)
  11. 1.5 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  12. 1 bunch collard greens (or 2 cups packed, chopped)
  13. 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  14. 2 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  15. 2 green onions, sliced thinly for serving
  1. Heat oil in a dutch oven or pot over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the garlic, celery, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, kosher salt, pepper and ham and cook, stirring often, until the onions are tender, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add in the black-eyed peas, chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, and cajun seasoning and stir to combine. Bring contents in the pot to a boil then reduce heat so that it is lightly simmering.
  3. Strip the leaves from the tough stems of the collard greens and discard the stems. Stack the leaves on a cutting board and roll them (like a cigar) then slice into thin strips. Add the sliced greens to the pot and stir to incorporate.
  4. Cover and cook, simmering, until the black-peas are tender, about 45 minutes.
  5. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
  6. Serve alone topped with sliced green onions or over cooked rice.
  1. *If you cannot find pre-soaked black eyed peas in the fridge section at your local grocery store you can use dried black-eyed peas but you must pre-soak them first by pouring them in a bowl and filling the bowl with water until covered by 2 inches. Let soak for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
The Defined Dish
If you love black-eyed peas like me, try this fantastic black-eyed pea soup!

Welcome! I’m Alex.

I’m a food lover sharing healthy, simple, delicious, recipes from my kitchen to yours. Here you’ll find lots of Whole30, lots of healthy, and a little indulgence here and there because…it’s all about balance y’all!

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  1. I made these tonight and had to use dried peas and soaked them overnight and when I went to make the dish the pea wouldn’t get soft. How many dried peas should you soak? Does pre soaked peas equal the same amount as dried peas?

  2. Just made this for New Years. Omg! Im going to incorporate this dish into our go to meal rotation it is SO delicious. I did add more apple cider vinegar at the end to give it a “bite” but even without this dish is a winner! Thank you for sharing it!

  3. Making these tomorrow! Directions for my 16 oz bag of frozen black eyed peas says to bring 3 cups water to a boil then to reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 mins. Should I do this and then add them into the pot the last 20 minutes?

    1. I typically have leftover ham from Christmas that I use here; however, you can buy pre-cooked sliced or diced ham at the grocery store that comes in smaller portion sizes. Or I love Pederson’s Farm brand for a sugar-free and cleaner brand.