Hoppin' John

Source: Cooking Matters

Serving size: 1 1/3 cup

Servings per recipe: 6

This Southern inspired dish is traditionally eaten at New Years and thought to bring a year of prosperity and good luck. This Hoppin' John recipe is not only lucky, but also nutritious and tasty any day of the year!

View Nutrition Facts


  • 2 medium celery stalk
  • ½ large red bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 (8-ounce) slice smoked, lean, low-sodium ham
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1½-3½ cups low-sodium chicken broth*
  • 2 cups instant brown rice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch ground black pepper


Knife, Cutting board, Can opener, Colander, Large pot with lid, Measuring cups, Measuring spoons, Mixing spoon


  1. Rinse and dice celery and bell pepper. Peel, rinse, and dice onion. Peel and mince garlic.
  2. Dice ham.
  3. In a colander, rinse and drain black-eyed peas.
  4. In large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add celery, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add broth to pot. Bring to a boil. Add rice. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in ham, black-eyed peas, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.


At the deli counter, ask for 1-2 thick slices of lower-sodium ham for this recipe. Or, look for a thick piece of prepackaged ham in the meat section. In a pinch, use presliced deli ham.

For a twist, try using quick-cooking barley instead of instant brown rice. Adjust liquid and cooking time according to package directions.

More About Onions

How to Select

Choose onions that are firm and dry with bright, smooth outer skins.

How to Store

Before storage, onions should be dry, with papery skin and shriveled roots. Store whole onions in a cool, dark, well ventilated place for use within 4 weeks. Refrigerate cut onions in a tightly sealed container for use within 2-3 days. Discard, or trim and cook, any bruised onions. Long term: Braid and hang upside-down, store in bags with some holes for ventilation in cold, dry place at 32-40 degrees. Can last up to 8 months. Do not freeze.

How to Prepare

Rinse. Trim off ends. Remove dry, papery skin. Cut in half. Peel away thick outer layer. Chop or slice. Eat raw: Sweet and red onions are milder and can be added to salads and sandwiches. Eat cooked: Yellow and white onions are stronger and great for cooking. Sauté, stir-fry, microwave, steam, boil, or braise. Add to soups, sauces, casseroles, dips, and vegetable, pasta, rice, and meat dishes.