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Vegetarian Hoppin’ John with Okra (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Sharon Palmer

If you’re looking for the perfect plant-powered recipe to add to your New Year’s Day menu (or for that matter, any day of the year!), look no further than this Vegetarian Hoppin’ John with Okra. In my mother’s Southern traditions, black-eyed peas are served with greens for good luck on New Year’s Day. My plant-based version of this dish—an homage to my mom’s Southern roots—leaves out the bacon or ham hocks in favor of another Southern favorite, okra. My mother grew black-eyed peas on her Arkansas farm, and they were on the menu regularly in our home in the Pacific Northwest. I remember a pot of black-eyed peas bubbling on the stove most weeks, their savory, earthiness filling the kitchen with such a comforting aroma. Rich in protein, black-eyed peas are a great way to replace animal proteins on your plate. In the pulse family, black-eyed peas are truly a sustainable star, requiring few inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, acreage, and even water to produce. Remember, you don’t have to wait until New Year’s Day to enjoy Hoppin’ John and cooked greens—you can get the delicious and nutritious effect of this traditional dish any day. This is also a great one dish meal for dinner or meal prep. The leftovers are just as good the second (or third or fourth) day too.

Follow along with me as I make this recipe for Vegetarian Hoppin John with Okra on my Plant Power Live show.

Join me for Plant Power Live today as I share me favorite plant based holiday recipe! You can get the recipe for Vegetarian Hoppin' John with Okra here:

Posted by Sharon Palmer: The Plant-Powered Dietitian on Friday, December 14, 2018


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Vegetarian Hoppin’ John with Okra

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  • Author: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


  • 11/2 cups dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 medium celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 cups sliced fresh or frozen okra
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice


  1. Soak the black-eyed peas overnight in enough cold water to cover them.
  2. Drain the peas and set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, carrots, garlic, cayenne, and thyme and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the drained peas, broth, 3 cups of the water, bay leaf, and liquid smoke to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  5. About 30 minutes into the cooking time, start to prepare the rice. If using a rice cooker, put the remaining 3 cups of water and the rice into the cooker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If cooking on the stovetop, bring 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed, 45 to 50 minutes.
  6. After the peas and vegetables have cooked for an hour, add the okra to the mixture and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
  7. Serve the pea mixture immediately over the hot rice.


*Variation: Substitute cooked barley, wheat berries, or quinoa for the brown rice for an interesting flavor variation.

*Star nutrients: Vitamin A (63% DV), vitamin C (21% DV), folate (26% DV), calcium (14% DV), manganese (36% DV)

*Recipe from The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today, copyright © Sharon Palmer, 2012.


  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups blackeyed pea mixture plus 1/2 cup rice
  • Calories: 314
  • Sodium: 59 mg
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 58 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 14 g

Keywords: okra, hoppin johns, peas, black eyed peas

Try my Instant Pot Black-Eyed Peas and Greens for another recipe featuring black-eyed peas.

For more information on the health benefits of pulses, check out The Plant-Powered Dietitian.

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