Hopping John Gluten-Free VeganA fresh take on this traditional New Year’s Day dish featuring festive red rice, black-eyed peas, fresh parsley, and a smoky cashew-tahini sauce. Liquid smoke stands in for bacon, so you start the New Year super-healthy.

Why is Hoppin John supposed to bring luck? It’s a holdover from the Middle Ages, when beans or peas represented coins. The dish may have come to the American South via African traditions. The greens in the dish represent money. Serve it with cornbread, the color of gold. Leave three peas on your plate to bring Luck, Fortune, and Romance.

Suitable for:
vegan, gluten-free, low-sodium, reduced-sugar diets

Not for:
migraine diets

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Hopping John GlutenFree Vegan

Hoppin' John

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


Hoppin John

  • 1 cup brown rice red rice (180 g)
  • 1 cup black-eyed peas dried, (160 g) or 11 ounces fast-cooking black-eyed peas
  • 3/4 tsp liquid smoke divided
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 onions (green) scallions, spring onions, large
  • 1 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley (fresh) (50 g)

Smoky cashew-tahini dressing

  • 1 lemons juiced
  • 1/4 cup cashews raw (30 g)
  • 2 tbsp tahini (no-salt-added
  • 1 clove garlic large, or 3 small
  • 1/4 cup water (filtered or spring)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika pimenton
  • 1/2 tsp smoked salt (omit for very low-sodium diets)


Hoppin John

  • Cover the cashews (for the dressing) with filtered water and set aside to soak.
  • Rinse the peas and pick over to remove any pebbles or bad peas. Put in a large pan with 3 C. (750 ml) of filtered water and the liquid smoke and bring to a boil. Turn down to a bubbling simmer and cook for one hour until tender. If using Frieda's black-eyed peas, wait until there is 20 minutes left on the rice, and follow the package directions to cook until tender. Drain well.
  • Rinse and drain the rice, then add 2 C. (500 ml) of filtered water, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, leave the lid on, and cook for 40 minutes on low. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and let stand 5-10 minutes with the lid on. Fluff with a fork.
  • Finely chop the kale and the green onions, and the parsley. Set aside the parsley. Mince the garlic.
  • Heat about 1 T. olive oil in a large saute pan until it shimmers. Add the kale, green onions, and garlic and saute until wilted.
  • In a large serving bowl, mix the rice with the drained peas and the dressing until evenly coated. Stir in the greens and the parsley.

Smoky cashew-tahini dressing

  • Drain the cashews and put in in the blender with the rest of the dressing ingredients and blend until very smooth.


Per serving:
  • 202 calories
  • 5 g fat
  • 1 g saturated fat
  • 1 g monounsaturated fat
  • 1 g polyunsaturated fat
  • 0 g trans fat
  • 0 g cholesterol
  • 175 mg sodium (39 mg sodium with salt omitted)
  • 343 mg potassium
  • 37 g carbohydrate
  • 8 g fiber
  • 2 g sugars
  • 10 g protein
  • 6 Weight Watchers Points Plus
California cooks will find these partially cooked black-eyed peas at Ralph's. While I liked how quickly they cooked up, I am trying to reduce my use of plastic, so probably will continue to buy the dried black-eyed peas and take the extra time to cook them.
Required FTC disclosure: My thanks to Frieda's for the black-eyed peas. I was not paid to write this post.