As Southerners, our family tradition is eating greens and black-eyed peas for New Year’s to bring us luck and good fortune. Dating back to the Civil War, this tradition originates from General Sherman leaving the black-eyed peas untouched in the fields as he marched across the Southeast destroying, leaving destruction in his wake. Considered a crop for livestock, Sherman’s men didn’t deem the black-eyed pea worthy to plunder. The peas provided a steady food source for the surviving Confederate Soldiers and Southern citizens.
Today, most of us eat a version of Hoppin’ John, a dish made with salted pork and black-eyed peas. Variations can include adding greens and tomatoes to make a flavorful, savory stew. Here’s the recipe for my vegan version of Hoppin’ John. I make mine in a crock pot, but you can use the stove top as well. I’m not a big one for measuring spices in the kitchen, so when it comes to seasoning, add and taste along the way. You can adjust the liquid based on how thick you like your stew. I hope you and your family have a wonderful, lucky 2015!
Vegan Hoppin’ John
2 cups dried black-eyed peas (either parboiled or soaked overnight)
2 15oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
3-4 cups water
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Cajun seasoning of your choice
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all of the above ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours, then turn to low once the black-eyed peas soften. About 30 minutes prior to eating, add the greens of your choice. Swiss Chard, kale, and collards all work well. If using the stove top, cook on medium-low for about 1-2 hours until the peas are tender. Serve with your favorite hot sauce if you like it spicy!