Thursday, January 9, 2014

Recipe: Vegan Hoppin John Redux

A few years ago I attempted to make vegan hoppin John for New Years. To this day, I think that was one of my biggest cooking fails. It was smoky, gritty, and awful. I never thought I'd attempt to make the dish again. Until I saw a seemingly easy (and liquid smoke-free) version posted at Hot From the Kettle.

My fiance is a good sport and is always up for these types of cooking adventures, so a few days after ringing in the New Year, I decided to whip up this dish for dinner. It took a bit longer than I expected to cook and was hotter than I wanted it to be (I toned down the spices because I'm a big wuss when it comes to spicy foods) but I really like how it turned out. My fiance thought it was too spicy, but...he really can't tolerate any heat. When I make this again (and I will because I liked it so much) I'd probably omit the rice. It really isn't needed. The veggies and beans make a hearty meal on their own. For some added protein, I think you could add some vegan sausage to the mix. (some meat based Hoppin John recipes call for bacon and sausage)

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock + more for cooking diced vegetables
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less if you're not into spicy food)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large bunch collard greens, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2+ cloves garlic, minced (original recipe called for 2 cloves - I really like garlic so I used ~8)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 can cooked black eyed peas
  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce, optional

Vegan Hoppin' John


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, agave nectar, 1 tsp. olive oil cayenne pepper, spices, salt and vegetable stock. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic and cook for about 8 minutes, or until translucent. Add vegetable stock as needed to prevent vegetables from burning/sticking to the pan. 
  3. Stir in tomatoes and juice and then add the collard greens, vinegar-agave nectar mixture. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to put handfuls of collard greens in at a time until they cook down a little. 
  4. Cover, and cook 10 minutes, or until greens are tender. (covering is very important! the greens won't really wilt otherwise!)
  5. Stir in the beans and cook until heated throughout. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve over rice and top with hot sauce, if using.
Another thing to note is how much food this recipe makes. I have a pretty hearty appetite, but this could have lasted me for days on my own, and there was definitely enough for another meal even after I had two heaping bowls the first night and my fiance had a small bowl. 

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