Hopping John Salad with Molasses Vinaigrette for New Year’s Day Luck

We can all use a little luck as we start the New Year of 2017. In the South, tradition says that blackeye peas symbolize luck and prosperity. They are served on New Year’s Day along with cabbage which symbolizes money and wealth. Here’s a recipe for Hopping John Salad made with blackeye peas and a molasses vinaigrette. I’m just a little superstitious and know if you fix this recipe on January 1, that your new year will be full of good luck!hopping-john-blackeye-pea-salad

Blackeye Peas

Blackeye peas were brought to this country from Africa in colonial times and gradually spread throughout the South. They are a legume, which means the blackeye peas are a high quality and complete protein. Very healthy.

Blackeye peas have a little black spot on the pea so it is easy to identify this this bean. Unlike other beans, dried blackeye peas don’t take hours and hours to cook. After an hour of simmering on the stove, the dried beans swell up and are tender. Here are boiled blackeye peas.

Blackeye peas have a distinctive and earthy flavor. Not necessarily my favorite legume or bean. So I added plenty of seasonings to help tone down the taste.ingredients-for-hopping-john-blackeye-pea-salad-img_2641

In traditional recipes, the blackeye peas are cooked with salt pork, bacon or smoked ham to add flavor. To keep the saturated fats at a minimum, I added diced lean ham to the finished salad, rather than cooking the beans with the ham. The ham can be omitted for a vegetarian option.

The dressing is a vinaigrette make with molasses, cider vinegar and canola oil. Molasses adds sweetness and it really sets off the bean salad. This salad turned out well!hopping-john-blackeye-pea-salad-with-molasses-vinaigrette-img_2658

And for extra luck, make sure to leave 3 beans on your plate — for luck, fortune and romance.

Hopping John Salad with Molasses Vinaigrette by MayleesKitchen

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/2 lb of dry blackeye peas (1/2 of a 1 lb package)
  • 6 cups water, more if needed
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper (about 2/3 bell pepper)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1/4 large onion)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (2 stalks)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 oz (1 cup) diced smoked, cooked ham (optional)


  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp dark molasses
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Method and Steps:

  1. Sort blackeye peas, removing any foreign objects.
  2. Add blackeye peas to large heavy pot.
  3. Add 6 cups water. Bring pot to boil on stove, reduce heat to low to simmer for 1 hour. Add more water if needed so beans don’t become dry. This should yield 3-1/2 to 4 cups cooked beans.
  4. Drain beans. Transfer to large bowl and cool.
  5. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, jalapeno pepper and garlic. Gently stir to combine.
  6. Make vinaigrette. Add molasses to cider vinegar in small bowl. Sir well to combine. Add salt and black pepper. Slowly stream in canola oil.
  7. Pour dressing over the blackeye pea salad and toss gently to combine.Chill.
  8. When ready to serve, add ham pieces (optional) around salad bowl.

Happy New Year!

2 thoughts on “Hopping John Salad with Molasses Vinaigrette for New Year’s Day Luck

  1. mmm. . . I love your interpretation of this traditional New Year’s food. I’m particularly intrigued by the molasses vinaigrette dressing. I wonder how it would work on a salad with greens.

    • That would be interesting; it think it might really taste great with kale greens, for example, or sort of a Wilted Spinach Salad or perhaps even a carrot salad. The molasses has sort of a brown sugar taste so that would be a factor. I’ll have to try it out! Yum, more experiments.

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