The tradition to eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day dates back centuries. The origins have ties with the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. It wasn’t until the 1860s, or around the time of the Civil War, that the tradition to eat black eyed peas became an American practice, mostly by Southerners.
There are worse food traditions to have. Look at what we consume on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Valentine’s Day. Burgers and rich desserts aren’t bringing any good luck, or good health for that matter. But the black eyed pea does. These little beans belong to the bean and pea family, or legumes. A single, unprepared serving of black eyed peas has 200 calories and 1 gram of fat. Where they become really impressive is the whopping 11 grams of dietary fiber and 13 grams of protein that serving offers! The black eyed pea is also a quality source of essential vitamins and minerals.
With that much nutrition packed in to one little, tiny bean, it makes us wonder why we really only hear about or eat black eyed peas on a single day of the year.
The traditional American preparation is ham-and-beans style, with a ham hock and black eyed peas stewed together in a Crock pot. There are, of course, innumerable variations. In the South, Hoppin John is the name of the recipe typically served on New Year’s Day. Our recipe for a healthier Hoppin John uses turkey ham, brown rice, and fresh garlic, onion, and parsley to season the black eyed peas for a wonderful comfort food-style dish that’s actually good for you.
Our recipe developer, Terry Grieco Kenny, got a little creative this winter and came up with Hoppin John Burgers. She uses the traditional black eyed peas to ensure good luck for the upcoming year, and adds smoked ham, garlic, jalapaneos, and barbecue sauce for savory flavor that you’d typically save for summer.
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, minced
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 can (about 15 oz.) black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- 2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
- 1 egg white
- ½ cup cooked brown or white rice
- 2 slices smoked ham, diced
- ¼ tsp. salt, or to taste
- 1/3 cup Panko or regular bread crumbs
- 4 100-calorie whole grain thin rolls (like Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats) or whole grain light hamburger buns
- 1 cup torn romaine lettuce
- 1 small tomato, sliced
Need more options, to possibly enjoy throughout the year, look at this list of the healthiest and tastiest black eyed pea recipes that we could find.