New Year’s Hoppin’ John Salad

by Gena on January 2, 2013

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In the last few days, you’ve probably seen quite a few recipes for “Hoppin’ John,” a Southern New Year’s dish with black eyed peas, rice, onion, and (sometimes) bacon. That’s the traditional variant; there are lots of other renditions. Most vegan versions of the dish omit any animal fat (obviously) and add different herbs and spices. I’ve seen Hoppin’ John-ish dishes with collard greens, with tomatoes, and with spinach. This year, I figured it was about time to create my own version. What I created—a Hoppin’ John salad with kale, black eyed peas, and pecans–wasn’t truly authentic, because it’s far more salad than it is grain dish. But heck, it’s delicious, and a wonderfully healthy way to welcome in a new year.

I wasn’t really sure how to dress my Hoppin’ John salad, so I went with the flow and used ingredients I had at my mom’s. These ended up being balsamic vinegar, tahini, and chickpeas. (I’m pretty sure tahini does not qualify as a traditional Southern ingredient, but whatevs.) This dressing, which just sort of happened, turns out to be one of the best dressings I’ve made in quite a while. I’m excited to start making more often!

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Hoppin’ John Salad with Kale and Pecans (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Serves 2-4

1 large bunch kale, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces, washed, and dried
1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup pecan halves or pieces
1 cup black eyed peas, dried, or 1 can cooked
Water
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp maple syrup
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

1. Soak peas overnight. Drain them and transfer them to a pot. Submerge with enough water to cover them by 3 inches. Bring water to a boil and cook the peas for 30-45 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and let cool.

2. Blend the vinegar, chickpeas, tahini, water, syrup, and salt/pepper in a blender till smooth.

3. Massage about 1/2 cup dressing into the kale, till it’s creamy and soft. Add the pepper, pecans, and cooked peas (if you are using canned peas, you’d skip the first step and simply add them here). Add more dressing as needed, and mix the whole salad together till it’s evenly dressed. Serve!

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By the way, I used my mom’s regular ‘ole blender for the dressing, and it was fine—no high speed blender necessary. It also occurred to me that the dish would be particularly tasty with candied pecans. Or, if you remember the traditional dish fondly with bacon, salted pecans might mimic the saltiness! There are plenty of ways to customize this one.

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I hope you all have been welcoming 2013 in with green, nutrient packed, and beautiful dishes like this one. The colors alone make me happy to celebrate a new year.

Speaking of healthy, I wanted to mention that Vitacost (a favorite personal resource for specialty ingredients and supplements) is having a 13% off sale tomorrow. And they’re offering some free shipping today (for orders over $25) AND a January super sale. Good reason to stock up!

And my final announcement is the winner of my giveaway for free membership in Christy Morgan’s wellness wellness reboot. The winner is #40, Steph! Steph, I’ll be in touch to connect you with Christy.

Till tomorrow,

xo

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Elisabeth January 2, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I wish you a happy New Year! I’m from the South, so eating black-eyed peas, collard greens, and (vegan) cornbread on New Year’s day is a tradition for me. Thanks for this great-looking kale salad recipe and the sale memo.

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Molly January 2, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Frankly, I don’t care whether tahini is traditional or not; it’s become such an essential ingredient in my massaged kale salads! Definitely going to try this one!

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Gena January 3, 2013 at 7:46 am

Yeah, tahini 4eva. Happy new year Molly!

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Lauren January 2, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Looks great! Happy new year, gena!

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Ashley January 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm

This looks excellent! I’ve never heard of hoppin’ john before! I have been obsessed with making dressing with tahini + maple syrup but love your addition of chickpeas. Happy New Year, Gena! :)

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Ricki January 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Mmm, looks delish! The dressing reminds me of hummus–so of COURSE it’s delicious! Happy New Year, Gena! Hope this one is a stellar year for you in every way (including orgo–ha ha!!) :D xo xo

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Emily January 2, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Great new year’s dish!

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Rebecca January 2, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Tahini/balsamic combinations are my favorite dressings (my go-to is the juice of 2 lemons, 1/2 – 1 TB tahini, and 1 TB balsamic), so I’m super excited to try this one. How long do you think it can keep in the fridge?

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Gena January 3, 2013 at 7:47 am

Kale salad usually has a decent shelf life. Maybe two full days?

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lovely_psycho January 2, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Maybe it’s my being Australian, but until this post, I’ve never heard of this John fellow or his energetic feet-related hobby! :) Alas, I’m still not inclined to find out because I spy a most ridiculously wonderful-sounding dressing in this post that I absolutely must go play with!

hmmm, sorry? John who? ;)

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janet @ the taste space January 3, 2013 at 6:18 am

Yum! After making hillbilly hummus, I feel like swapping peanut butter for tahini is in order. :-) however, this dressing looks like a lightened up version of your balsamic tahini one which I adore, so I can’t wait to try it with the chickpeas in there. :-)

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Gena January 3, 2013 at 7:47 am

I love hillbilly hummus, too, though I always end up returning to tahini. That said, it’s hard to go wrong with PB. Anywhere, anyplace.

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Stephen@HappyHeart January 3, 2013 at 8:37 am

Nothing like a big bowl of kale to give yourself a nutritional boost in the New Year!!! Love it!

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hannah January 3, 2013 at 10:17 am

This looks lovely – bet it would be nice with some brown rice too – what did you serve it with? I do love your “balance your plate” notes
O and Happy New Year may 2013 bring you joy and sweetness and excitement xxxx <3

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Gena January 3, 2013 at 10:43 am

Hannah,

I actually ate this one for lunch, solo, but brown rice or millet would definitely round it out for dinner or a fuller meal! (Any grain, really.)

G

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hannah January 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm

delicious! (I opted for millet) xx

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Gena January 6, 2013 at 8:13 am

Good!

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the delicate place January 3, 2013 at 10:52 am

i have never actually had a black eyed pea before! i need to change that! this year is full of changes already…why not add another one to the list! i’m trying to adapt to some shocking news i got today. a sad day for medicine and my work in the lab :(

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Gena January 6, 2013 at 8:15 am

Oh gosh, Melissa, I’m thinking of you. Reading your post now.

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Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian January 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I’ve never heard of this salad before, and I also have never tried a black eyed pea! I’m planning to eat greener this year and have already started incorporating more veggies and less junk/dairy into my diet

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Lia @ Sojourning January 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I’ve never heard of that dish before, but I’m SO not Southern Food Savvy. We can never have too many hearty salads for winter. Thanks for sharing and also for letting us know about the Vitacost sale.

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Hannah January 3, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Happy New Year sparklepants! This salad just might prove to be my first ever experience of cooking/using black-eyed peas.

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Christi January 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

I’m always looking for new ways to try kale. I’m a little afraid of black eyed peas, but I am really trying to branch out, so I will give it a shot the next time I have kale I need to use up. Thanks for the recipe!

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Gena January 6, 2013 at 7:59 am

Oh, don’t be afraid! They’re just a bean; if you like navy beans or black beans, you’ll like them.

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