It's almost a new year, and who doesn't want a little good luck and good fortune? In the South, tradition says that serving black-eyed peas in the new year brings good luck and prosperity. The good luck comes from the bean's penny-like appearance, and the prosperity is due to the abundance of them.
Two dishes are particularly associated with black-eyed peas and good luck: Hoppin' John and Skippin' Jenny. These are traditionally served on the first two days of a new year. In reality, they're the same dish! When the Jan. 1 Hoppin' John is served as leftovers on Jan. 2, it's called Skippin' Jenny. We've rounded up a traditional and a vegetarian recipe for Hoppin' John/Skippin' Jenny, plus five more black-eyed pea recipes to keep the good luck going for a whole week.
- Hoppin' John: This simple ham and bean stew is often served on New Year's Day over rice. This recipe uses a ham hock, but also has directions to use cut-up ham or bacon in place of the ham hock, and ideas for adding more vegetables.
- Vegetarian Hoppin' John: This vegetarian recipe omits the ham and adds hot sauce for a little flavor. Done in the slow cooker, the flavors meld together all day long. Rice is added during the last hour so the entire dish is done in one pot.
- Good Luck Cornbread Skillet: Hoppin' John is frequently served with a side of cornbread, but this dish puts the black-eyed peas along with sausage, peppers and collard greens right underneath the cornbread in a skillet, where it starts on the stovetop and ends up in the oven for the cornbread to cook.
- Black-Eyed Peas Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese: Bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and fresh herbs are added to the peas and squash for a hearty salad that's dressed with a sweet and spicy vinaigrette.
- Sour Cream and Onion Roasted Black-Eyed Peas: The beans become a savory, crunchy snack by roasting them in the oven and then dusting with a sour cream and onion powder.
- Greek Black-Eyed Pea Salsa: Black olives, feta cheese and other Greek staples are combined with the peas to make a dip for pita or tortilla chips.
- Black-Eyed Pea Chili: Black-eyed peas replace kidney beans in this ground beef chili recipe that adds a bottle of dark beer for deep flavor.
Even if you don't believe in foods that can call forth good luck, adding black-eyed peas to your diet is a good idea. A half-cup serving of the beans has 100 calories, less than one gram of fat, about 5 grams of fiber and about 6 grams of protein. They're packed with vitamins and minerals, too, and are especially high in folate, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, and they contain no sodium. (Source: Self Nutrition Data)