Theories abound as to the origins of the Southern dish, Hoppin’ John. I’m no historian, so I won’t delve too far into it, but here’s what I know:
- Folks eat it on New Year’s Day for luck, peace, and prosperity in the coming year.
- It’s traditionally made with black-eyed-peas, rice, and bacon or ham. Obviously, this version does not have the meat. But it’s still delicious!
In fact, this version breaks tradition in a couple of ways. I mean, as we’ve discussed, it’s vegan, so that makes it pretty clear that it’s not your typical Hoppin’ John. It’s also cooked in the Instant Pot, which I’m pretty sure – I mean, I’m no historian – was not something that was available in the 1800s.
So what is this Instant Pot Vegan Hoppin’ John all about?
Deliciousness! I promise. And trust me, I’ve tried whipping up a few different vegetarian Hoppin’ John recipes over the years, and none hit the spot. Until last New Years’ Day, when my family really thought that this version nailed it. And so, this New Year’s, I’m sharing it with you!
This Hoppin’ John is hearty, savory, and a little smoky, with the teensiest touch of heat.
It’s truly a meal-in-one, with veggies, black-eyed peas, and rice. And it all cooks up in the Instant Pot. Boom! Or something like that. I’m not really a “boom” person but it felt right to say right there.
So, first, you cook up your black-eyed peas. Please start from dried and don’t even consider canned! Canned ones, in my opinion, don’t hold a candle to dried – and it’s not too much extra work to cook up the black-eyed peas in the Instant Pot. Plus, it’s an opportunity to infuse so much flavor into those bad boys! Cook up those beans with smoked paprika, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and a strip of kombu. Kombu, in case you were wondering, is dried seaweed that supposedly helps reduce the, er, gassier properties in legumes. But I add it for the nice hit of umami flavor it contributes.
The, you drain the peas, reserving a bit of the cooking liquid. Wipe out your Instant Pot and saute some veggies. Add the black-eyed peas, some rice, and broth. Set your Instant Pot at 15 minutes and go work on your list of resolutions.
And then just scoop into bowls, garnish liberally with scallions and parsley, and there you go!
Folks often serve Hoppin’ John with collard greens and maybe even some cornbread. I support both of these ideas.
Happy New Year!
Instant Pot Vegan Hoppin' John
For the black-eyed peas:
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas (sorted and rinsed)
- 1 medium yellow onion (peeled and halved)
- 3 medium cloves garlic (peeled and halved)
- 4 dried bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 strip kombu
- 8 cups water
For the Hoppin' John:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced (about 1 cup))
- 3 stalks celery (diced (about 1 cup))
- 1 medium red bell pepper (seeded and diced)
- 1 cup brown basmati rice (rinsed)
- The cooked black-eyed peas
- 1 cup reserved broth from the beans
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 jalapeño pepper (seeds removed, minced)
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more to taste
- 1 bunch green onions (scallions, chopped)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Add the black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, bay leaves, smoked paprika, kombu, and 8 cups water to the Instant Pot. Cook on manual/high pressure for 15 minutes. Release and drain the peas, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid and discarding the onion, garlic, kombu, and bay leaves. Set aside the peas and reserved cooking liquid.
- Clean and dry the Instant Pot. Add olive oil. When hot, add the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Saute until soft, about 8 minutes.
- Add the rice, cooked black-eyed peas, 1 cup reserved cooking liquid, vegetable broth, jalapeno pepper, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine.
- Cook on manual/high pressure for 15 minutes. Quick release. Remove lid and remove thyme stems. Taste and add more salt and pepper to taste. Scoop into bowls and top portions with scallions and parsley.