Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vegan Soul Food

I think I've found a new food addiction.

It comes in the form of vegan Hoppin' John. And really, Hoppin' John is just a fancy-pants name for rice and beans...with a fabulous factor of 2 million.

While one wouldn't normally pair Southern Creole cooking with the word "vegan," nobody does it better than Bryant Terry of The Vegan Soul Kitchen. This guy can turn even the most Southern, meat-centric of meals into a vegan-tastic delight (case in point: Barbeque Tempeh Sandwiches with Carrot Slaw).

Last night, Terry's recipe for Hoppin' John took my opinion of rice and beans to an entirely new level. I'm literally addicted. The rice is cooked times two: first, regular-style in a pot of water; second, it's slow-cooked in veggie broth (kind of like risotto). The veggie broth and spices are cooked down and absorbed into the rice, creating a powerful punch of flavor.

Adam sopped his Hoppin' John up with a cornbread bun (typical man-style), while I just ate mine plain (in a whopping two bowl-fuls).

Who says you need to fly 900 miles to New Orleans to get the best Creole cooking you've ever had? You've already got everything you need in your kitchen cabinets.

Hoppin' John (vegan)
(from Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen)

The flavor-intensity of this dish will undoubtedly keep you coming back for more--the lengthy spice list speaks for itself. You can substitute in your own bean of choice if you don't have black-eyed peas on hand.

  • 1 can (15 oz.) black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 TBSP + 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
  • Optional: red pepper flakes (only if you like HOT stuff!)
1) Bring 1 cup of water to a boil; add rice, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes--rice should just be starting to soften, but should NOT be fully cooked! Rinse and drain the rice in a strainer.

2) Add about 1 - 2 tsp. olive oil to a soup pot over medium heat; add rice and saute, stirring often, for about 5 - 6 minutes. Add the onion and all of the spices/seasonings. Cook until onion has softened, about 4 - 5 minutes. Pour the rice mixture in a bowl and set aside.

3) In the same soup pot (which is now empty!), combine the veggie stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and add the rice mixture and the black-eyed peas. Bring back to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 35 - 50 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated (watch carefully and you can be the judge of how long it needs--ours just took about 30 - 35 minutes).


  1. This looks so warm and comforting -- I like that it doesn't include soy or wheat, either, so I can eat it! Delicious!

  2. This sounds so amazing!! I love all the different spices that you always use. My hubby bought me a spice rack for christmas, and Im not going to lie. I totally love making your recipes because it gives me the opportunity to use all the different spices ;)

  3. As a Louisiana native,I get a little over-excited when I see recipes that actually sound tasty but don't have lard or bacon fat as the main flavorings. Thanks for the tasty-sounding recipe. I'll have to check out the book too.

  4. I love blackeyed peas! Thanks so much for this recipe! I have a can sitting my cabinet now I know what to bookmark!

  5. I just bought a plate simular... I love the lattice.. it looks so vintage... and ooohhh black-eyed peas. Dreaming of BoJangels (sp)?

  6. I love comfort food! This looks great :)

  7. OHMYGOOOOOOSH YUM! I am so sore and achy today I need something like this to comfort me! <3

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  8. Nothing like some good old fashioned soul food!

  9. I love anything with black eyed peas- they're my favorite! This looks great. :)

  10. i always think the paprika and chili powder are really what make a chili taste sooooo amazing! and theres so many good spices in here with thyme and oregano too! and its so nice to see other beans being utilized in chili too, like black-eyed peas! <3

  11. We always ate hoppin john on new year's day for good luck!

  12. That looks ah-mazing! I want!!!!

  13. I love the idea of double-cooking the rice. Plus, I don't particularly love the ham-component in hoppin' john to begin with. It makes no logical sense to me.

  14. Ooo, this sounds great!! I haven't ever really made it over to New Orleans (just for an audition), but it seems like it would be hard to find veggie-friendly dishes like this. It would make a great New Year's dish with those black-eyed peas! p.s. love the plate. :)