New Years Hoppin John Salad

New Years Hoppin John Salad | The Full Helping

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!

New Years Hoppin John Salad | The Full Helping

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
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!

New Years Hoppin John Salad | The Full Helping

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.

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.

Till tomorrow,


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Categories: Meal Sized Salads, Salads
Ingredients: Kale, Rice
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Holidays

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  1. I know this website offers quality based articles and extra information, is there any
    other web page which gives these kinds of stuff in quality?

  2. 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!

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

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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 🙁

  7. 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

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

  9. 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. 🙂

    • 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.

  10. 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? 😉

  11. 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?

  12. 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!!) 😀 xo xo

  13. 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! 🙂

  14. 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!

  15. 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.