Hippie John

By • February 8, 2015 9 Comments

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Author Notes: I make this dish every New Year's Day. It's my take on Hoppin' John, the traditional luck-bringing dish in the American South. The classic version is made with collards, black-eyed peas, and rice stewed with smoked pork hocks; my version is vegetarian, a salad made with chard and brown rice. It's different enough from the original that friends who grew up with Hoppin' John have been sure to point out to me that my dish is nothing like the real thing. Hence the name change, which more accurately reflects my Berkeley roots anyway.

Eat it any day of the year, or try it with chickpeas or white beans. The proportions are easy to adjust if you want, say, extra greens or less rice, and there is plenty of room for variation of the kinds of vegetables you use. Don't be alarmed by the large amount of dressing; there will be more than you need, so just store the excess in the refrigerator for use later (hint: toss potatoes in it before you roast them). The greens hold up well and even benefit from sitting in the dressing for a while, so go ahead and make this a few hours ahead of time and keep it cold. It's even held up well overnight for me. It works great as a side dish for a big dinner, but on its own, it's also a filling meal.


Serves 8-10 as a side dish

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 1 medium shallot, very finely minced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 bunch chard (6-8 leaves)
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 rib of celery including the leaves, finely diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (equivalent to 1-15.5-ounce can, drained)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (any style is fine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the oil, juice, vinegar, mustard, and shallots until well combined (or shake them together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid). Set aside.
  2. Trim the very ends of the chard stems; split the leaves down the middle of the rib, stack them up, then cut across them horizontally to from thin strips.
  3. Put all the vegetables, beans, and rice in a large bowl and toss them together. Pour on about half of the dressing plus the salt and pepper, and toss again. Taste, and add more dressing if you like; I usually end up using about a cup, maybe a little more. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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