The Spiced Hoppin’ John: Black-Eyed Peas and Rice with Indian Spices

Classic Hoppin’ John gets an Indian spice upgrade (and goes vegan)! This Instant Pot recipe transforms your favorite Southern comfort food into a flavorful journey. Black-eyed peas and rice are infused with a vibrant blend of Indian spices, creating a quick, easy, and delicious vegan meal. A generous portion of spinach completes the dish with its freshness and subtle earthiness.

Indian-style black eyed peas and rice in blue bowl and plates.

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Hoppin’ John is a classic Southern comfort food featuring black-eyed peas and rice. It is traditionally enjoyed on New Year’s Day for good luck and prosperity. In this recipe, I am giving it a flavorful twist with vibrant Indian spices!

Black-eyed peas and rice are cooked together in an Instant Pot for a quick and easy meal. Vibrant Indian spices transform the familiar Southern flavors, creating a unique and satisfying dish.

This vegan recipe is perfect for busy weeknights or a flavorful change of pace. Serve it on its own for a light meal, or pair it with your favorite Indian flatbreads for a more complete experience.

Ingredients

Ingredients to make spiced hoppin john on a marble surface.

Dried Black-Eyed Peas: Soaking the dried black-eyed peas is an important step. It ensures they cook at the same pace as the rice in the Instant Pot. If you’re short on time, you can use a quick-soak method.

Basmati Rice: This long-grain rice is known for its fragrant aroma and fluffy texture. It pairs perfectly with the spiced black-eyed peas. Rinse the rice before cooking to remove any excess starch. This will result in fluffy and separate grains once cooked.

Frozen Spinach: Frozen spinach is a convenient option, and it is already cleaned and chopped. It doesn’t need any thawing and can be used straight from the freezer. Fresh spinach can be used as well, but be sure to wash and chop it finely.

Aromatics: Finely chopped onion, ginger, and garlic form the base of the flavor profile.

Spices: I am using cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, ground coriander, turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala. Adjust chili powder or cayenne to your spice preference.

See the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and quantities.

Step-by-step Instructions

Sauted onion, garlic, and ginger in the Instant Pot.

Step 1: Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and heat the oil. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick, and saute for a few seconds. Add onion, ginger, and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until the onion begins to soften.

Cooked tomatoes and spices in the Instant Pot.

Step 2: Next, add the tomato puree, salt, and spices (ground coriander, turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala). Mix well and saute for 3-4 minutes.

Black eyed peas, rice, spinach, and water added to the Instant Pot.

Step 3: Drain all the water from the soaked black-eyed peas and add it to the Instant Pot along with rinsed rice, spinach, and water. Stir well.

Cooked spiced hoppin john in the Instant Pot.

Step 4: Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook mode for 5 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then quickly release the remaining pressure. Add the lemon juice and gently mix the rice.

Expert Tips

  • Rinse the dried black-eyed peas thoroughly and soak them in water for at least 4-6 hours or overnight. Soaking is an important step that cannot be skipped. It ensures they cook evenly with the rice.
  • If you want to skip soaking the black-eyed peas, use brown rice instead of basmati rice. Unsoaked peas and brown rice can be cooked in an instant pot.
  • While spinach is delicious, feel free to experiment with other chopped greens, such as kale or Swiss chard. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes after cooking. This allows the flavors to continue melding and prevents mushy rice.

Serving Suggestions

Serve black-eyed peas and rice hot as a standalone meal or alongside raita. For a complete meal, pair it with your favorite Indian flatbread, such as naan or roti. Pair the khichdi with masala papad for an added kick.

Cucumber raita or tangy mango chutney complements the flavors nicely. Enjoy it as a comforting weeknight dinner, or serve it at gatherings for a flavorful and nourishing dish that will please a crowd.

Storage Tips

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 5 days. For longer stashes, portion the dish into freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw frozen portions overnight in the fridge or use the defrost setting in your microwave. Reheat gently on the stovetop with a splash of water or in the microwave until piping hot.

Recipe FAQs

What is Hoppin’ John?

Hoppin’ John is a classic Southern dish made of black-eyed peas. It is traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year. The classic version’s main ingredients are black-eyed peas (or cowpeas), rice, onion, and pork.

Can I use brown rice instead of basmati rice?

Yes. You can certainly use brown rice for this recipe. In that case, skip soaking the cowpeas, as brown rice requires a longer cooking time in the Instant Pot. The cowpeas can be cooked alongside the brown rice, saving time and ensuring both ingredients are perfectly cooked.

What other greens can I use besides spinach?

Feel free to experiment with other chopped greens, such as kale or Swiss chard. Adjust the cooking time accordingly. Kale may require a few extra minutes compared to spinach.

Can I use fresh spinach instead of frozen?

Yes, fresh spinach can be used instead of frozen. Simply chop the spinach finely and add it to the dish after pressure cooking.

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes, this dish can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Simply reheat before serving, adjusting the seasoning if necessary.

Spiced hoppin john in a blue bowl.

More Indian Recipes

  1. Looking for a quick & easy weeknight dinner? This Indian Yellow Lentil Buddha Bowl is your answer! Protein-packed lentils, roasted cauliflower, and a cooling raita dressing – all in under an hour.
  2. Turn weeknight dinners into cozy escapes with a warm bowl of Palak Khichdi! This vegetarian recipe combines rice and lentils with vibrant spinach for a complete and flavorful meal.
  3. Start your day right with these savory Indian-inspired red lentil pancakes! They’re vegan, gluten-free, and oh-so-delicious. Pair them with flavorful cumin-spiced potatoes for an impressive breakfast or brunch.

If you tried this Indian-Spiced Black-Eyed Peas and Rice / Spiced Hoppin’ John Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below.

Indian style black eyed-peas and rice in a blue bowl.

Black Eyed Peas and Rice

Classic Hoppin' John gets an Indian spice upgrade (and goes vegan)! This Instant Pot recipe transforms your favorite Southern comfort food into a flavorful journey. Black-eyed peas and rice are infused with a vibrant blend of Indian spices, creating a quick, easy, and delicious vegan meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Shilpa Kerur

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Soak the black-eyed peas for 4-6 hours or overnight. This is important as it ensures that the beans and rice are cooked together evenly.
  • Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and heat the oil. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick, and saute for a few seconds. Add onion, ginger, and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until the onion begins to soften.
  • Next, add the tomatoes, salt, and spices (ground coriander, turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala). Mix well and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  • Drain all the water from the soaked black-eyed peas and add it to the Instant Pot along with rinsed rice, spinach, and water. Stir well.
  • Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook mode for 5 minutes. Do a natural pressure release 10 minutes, then do a quick release of the remaining pressure.
  • Add the lemon juice and gently mix the rice. Serve warm.

Notes

    • Rinse the dried black-eyed peas thoroughly and soak them in water for at least 4-6 hours or overnight. Soaking is an important step that cannot be skipped. It ensures they cook evenly with the rice. Unsoaked black-eyed peas take longer to cook.
    • If you want to skip soaking the black-eyed peas, use brown rice instead of basmati rice. Unsoaked peas and brown rice can be cooked at the same time in the Instant Pot.
    • While spinach is delicious, feel free to experiment with other chopped greens, such as kale or Swiss chard. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
    • Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes after cooking. This allows the flavors to continue melding and prevents mushy rice.
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Nutrition

Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 712mg | Potassium: 910mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4810IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 160mg | Iron: 6mg
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