This is the salad version of the Southern, down-home classic, Hoppin’ John. This is a perfect light, Summertime salad and it’s vegan, too. According to Southern tradition, eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day can bring good luck, particularly in the area of finances. Here’s hoping it works any time of the year.
While we were in Chicago a few weeks ago at the Pitchfork Music Festival, Wishbone, a restaurant vendor, had this salad on their menu and it was so good, I had it each day. I couldn’t wait to come home and make it for myself. I used canned black-eyed peas since I didn’t have a ton of time, but you can also cook your own or use frozen ones, cooked to package directions. I also added cucumber, which isn’t traditionally in the salad, but I wanted even more crunch and we have an abundance of cucumbers at our house. This salad is super light and has so much flavor, the longer it sits the better, all those flavors in the vinaigrette get soaked up. And, if you like a little heat, this salad is great with a little drizzle of a hot pepper sauce over top. Most traditional versions of this recipe include bacon, but it definitely doesn’t need it.
Hoppin’ John Salad
Serves 6 to 8
For the salad:
2 – 15-ounce cans of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed or 4 cups cooked (2 cups dry)
3 cups of cooked brown rice, cooled
3/4 cup finely sliced green onions
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 small cucumber, sliced and quartered
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 cup dry roasted, salted peanuts
For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste
Prepare rice according to package directions, allow to cool. Add peas, brown rice and next 5 ingredients to a large bowl, toss gently. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and pour over salad. Toss gently to coat evenly. Taste. Add more vinegar, oil or seasonings to taste. Top each serving with a bit of green onions and some peanuts. Chill 1 to 2 hours before serving, if time permits.