Hoppin’ John and Football

poached egg wih crispy kale and hoppin' john

Eating Hoppin’ John with blackeyed peas is a Southern New Year’s tradition to bring good luck and, with the addition of greens, which represent money, prosperity in the new year.  Some suggest that the origin of this “good luck” tradition dates back to the Civil War, when Union troops, especially in areas targeted by General Sherman, typically stripped the countryside of all stored food, crops, and livestock, and destroyed whatever they couldn’t carry away. At that time, Northerners considered “field peas” and field corn suitable only for animal fodder, and didn’t steal or destroy these humble foods.

I enjoy changing it up, but every new year is ushered in with a slightly different version of Hoppin’ John. This year it was a perfectly soft poached egg on a bed of crispy kale and Hoppin’ John popping with vibrant red pepper, sweet corn, and a dash of heat.  Posting a Hoppin’ John recipe as my first recipe of  2012 seemed like an excellent idea; not only are blackeyed peas inexpensive, fitting right in with a recession budget and inflated credit card bills from holiday shopping, but they also fit right in with any good intentions you may have to eat healthier in 2012.  Did you know that  black eyed peas are really beans not peas and beans, whether dried or canned, are packed full of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.  (If you’d like more specific information on the health benefits of beans and legumes visit the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.)

Plus, January is an exciting month for NFL football fans, especially if the team you rally behind has made it to the playoffs.  We happen to have an avid New England Patriot‘s fan living in our midst and the past few years have seen me skillfully substituting lower fat, more nutritious fare masquerading as the best football food you’ve ever had. Hoppin’ John Nachos have become a signature crowd-pleaser during weekend marathons; universally appealing to pizza-loving sports fans and the more health and body conscious.  The Bowl games may be over, but there’s plenty of football to come. If you’d like to slip a bit of good stuff in with the standard football fare without raising any eyebrows, bookmark or print this easy recipe. Munch away with a clear conscious during the NFL playoffs or Super Bowl which, FYI, is on Sunday, February 5th this year.

blackeyed peas, Hoppin John

Hoppin’ John Salsa
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
No New Year's celebration is complete without Hoppin' John and greens - a Southern New Year's tradition to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year.
Serves: About 2-1/2 cups
  • 1 cup Melissa's Ready-to-Eat Blackeyed Peas
  • 1 cup cooked corn
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper*, seeded and diced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. chili or cajun spice
  • Juice from 1 fresh lime
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Slice red pepper in half, remove core and seeds. Roast in oven or toaster oven at 450 degrees until skin is charred. Remove from oven and place in a paper bag. When cool enough to handle, remove the charred skin and chop the pepper.
  2. Seed and dice the jalapeno. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Allow flavors to meld for at least an hour.
*use jalapenos if you like it spicy, green chiles for mild

Shown served on a bed of crispy kale (kale flash fried in a tablespoon of olive oil) and topped with a soft poached egg.

Variations: serve as a salsa with tortilla chips, in place of refried or black beans in nachos or, sprinkled on a fresh green salad for a burst of flavor, color, and texture.

Enjoy :-)



22 Responses to “Hoppin’ John and Football”

  1. Angie@Angie's Recipesa January 6 at 10:53 am #

    I would love that as dinner! Looks so tasty.

  2. Nancy January 6 at 2:50 pm #

    That first image is just all around perfect Priscilla! The runny egg yolk has my mouth watering. I never knew about this traditional meal. Well I never lived in the south so that could be why :) It looks so healthy and delicious. Foodball? I’m clueless. Have a great weekend!

  3. Lisa January 6 at 3:58 pm #

    Your Hoppin John’s look so colorul and delicious. For some reason – I always thought Hoppin Johns were cornmeal pancakes. No idea why LOL I really need to eat black-eyed peas more often. Will definitely try this in 2012!

  4. Maris (In Good Taste) January 7 at 6:20 am #

    Looks like a delicious way to welcome the New Year.

  5. Colleen @ The Taste Place January 7 at 4:34 pm #

    Yum! We finally gave Hoppin’ John a try last year for New Year’s Day, and it’s now a tradition. Love the stuff, especially with ham. Although next year, I think I’ll attempt it in the crockpot since we’re usually out hiking on New Year’s Day.

    • Priscilla January 11 at 7:52 am #

      I love it, too – black eyed peas are largely overlooked which is too bad, it’s a great way to change things up from black beans, etc. I need to do more hiking!

  6. Magic of Spice January 8 at 8:35 am #

    That’s some interesting history behind this dish. I have not tried this but love everything there. Such great color and balance of flavors!

    • Priscilla January 11 at 7:56 am #

      Give it a try, Alisha! Simple, nutritious down-home goodness, you will love it :)

  7. wok with ray January 10 at 7:35 pm #

    Looks delicious! Love the addition of cilantro and jalapeno. Happy 2012 to you Priscilla!!

    • Priscilla January 11 at 7:54 am #

      Thanks, Ray :) Happy New Year to you and your family!

  8. Monet January 10 at 7:49 pm #

    Smile. My mom makes this every year. I love the kick! Thanks for sharing with me. I just finished baking and decorating three cakes…I’m exhausted! Now I’ll dream delicious eats! I hope you have a blessed week, my friend!

    • Priscilla January 11 at 7:58 am #

      Three cakes! I’ll have to take a peek. So happy that you’re baking prowess is being rewarded with orders – have a joyful rest of the week, Monet :)

  9. Tanantha January 11 at 3:46 pm #

    I can dig in right at this min to the runny egg yolk while my husband will clean up the rest on the plate. He loves blackeyed peas especially a Southern style!

  10. Victoria January 12 at 7:46 am #

    Hoppin’ John nachos sound like a winner to me, as a fellow Pats fan, hehe. It was so great meeting you last weekend!

  11. Kiri W. January 13 at 10:24 am #

    Mmm, looks great! This way I might even stomach watching football 😉

  12. Steph@stephsbitebybite January 13 at 10:44 am #

    This looks so delicious and filling! My team isn’t in the playoffs…dang cowboys! But I think I’m going for the Packers now LOL

  13. Liz January 13 at 11:43 am #

    Oh, I’d love to scoop this up with big tortilla chips…mmmmmmmm. Fabulous idea for salsa, Priscilla!

  14. RavieNomNoms January 13 at 11:52 am #

    Looks awesome to me! I would have no problem gobbling down spoonful after spoonful of this. Thanks so much for sharing the history too. You learn something new every day right??? :-)

    Have a great weekend!

  15. Lou January 25 at 6:57 pm #

    Love this recipe! And the name sounds so fitting :)

    My tastebuds can’t wait to try it!


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