Vegan Hoppin’ John is one of my favorite simple Southern meals. For my version I use home-cooked black-eyed peas, long grain rice, and smoked paprika to achieve the perfect flavor and texture. This is one of those recipes that you can make once a week, and eat off of throughout the week. Pair it with other soul food staples like collard greens, biscuits, cornbread, or fried cauliflower “chicken” to round out its down home appeal.
Adapting Soul food staples into plants-only versions is so fun for me, and Hoppin’ John has really been asking for it all along. While the traditional recipe uses bacon for flavoring, this is at its core a rice & beans dish, and rice & beans is a perfect plant dish. Together these two staples make up a complete protein. They’re both affordable and reliable, and easy to prepare. It’s not a coincidence that rice & beans is the centerpiece dish of cultures throughout the Americas.
And one very cool thing about this particular rice & beans dish is its West African pedigree.