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What?!?!?!?  A Southern dish without pork?  Not even the slightest hint of bacon?  Blasphemy!  I know.

Just glancing through the pages of Southern Living (my absolute favorite magazine ever, sorry Cosmo) or a trip down South of your own will tell you that the modern South is bursting with innovative chefs and home-cooks reveling in the wonderful produce of their land and local artisan food products.  So who’s gonna stop me if I make up a vegan-Southern recipe?


I really like this dish because the rice is earthy and a bit spicy but the vegetable saute is bright and happy tasting.  My fireman was pleasantly surprised by how hearty and delicious this vegan meal was.

Hoppin’ John and Vegetable Saute

Serves 3-4 – cost approx $.85 per serving


  • 1 cup dried black eyed peas, cooked, liquid reserved ($.47)
  • 4 Tbs olive oil, divided use
  • 1 onion, half minced, half sliced – divided use ($.33)
  • 1/2 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dry sage
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup long grain rice ($.34)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • vegetable stock
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced ($.69)
  • 1/4 head cabbage, sliced ($.38)
  • garlic, sliced – to taste
  • 1 bunch collards, sliced ($0 from my neighbor’s garden last fall, they were all blanched and frozen up)
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice ($.25)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced ($0, they’re the only thing I’ve managed to grow so far this year!)
  • 4 Tbs toasted nuts – I had a mix of pepitas, pinenuts and sunflower seeds ($.25)

Start by making the Hoppin’ John part of the meal.  It’s a simple rice pilaf with black eyed peas in it.  Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a large saute pot or small regular pot.  Saute the onion gently for 5 minutes or so, until cooked and translucent.  Add in the rice, sage, thyme and crushed red pepper, saute for 2 minutes or so.  Measure out how much leftover bean cooking liquid you have and add enough vegetable stock to make 2 1/2 cups.  Add in the liquid, the black eyed peas and bay leaf, bring to a simmer and cover.  Cook on low (like the lowest setting your range has!) for 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

While the rice is simmering away, move on to the vegetable saute.  Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saute pan and cook the bell pepper, onion, garlic, cabbage and collards until cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Season with the soy sauce and a bit of salt to taste.  Finish the saute with the lemon and scallions.  To make the finished plate, fluff up the rice and black eyes and scoop some out, put a little pile of saute’s veggies on top and garnish with the toasted nuts.