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Kalyn's Kitchen

Hopping John Soup or Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup (Video)

Hopping John Soup (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and  Collard Greens Soup) is my favorite dish to make for good luck in the New Year! This tasty soup is not really that photogenic, but it’s delicious. Use Soup Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

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Watch the video to see if you’d like to make Hopping John Soup
(Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup)!


Hopping John Soup for Good Luck in the New Year (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup) found on KalynsKitchen.com

For years I’ve been making this tasty Hopping John Soup with Black-Eyed Peas, Ham, and Collard Greens for good luck in the New Year, and if you’re willing to eat a few carbs to get good luck, I highly recommend this soup that has all the luck-bringing properties of Hopping John! If you want a lower-carb version use more ham and collards and less black-eyed peas. Hopping John is traditionally made on New Year’s Day, but make it ahead if you want to get started early on the luck.

If you’re not familiar with Hopping John, it’s eaten throughout the southern U.S. on New Year’s Day. The origin of the name Hopping John is uncertain, but it’s thought to have come from the Creole French pronunciation of the pigeon peas used in the dish.

Recipe variations for Hopping John abound, but all contain ham, black eyed peas, and collard greens, the peas representing coins and the collard greens representing dollar bills for financial luck in the new year. I took the Hopping John ingredients of black-eyed peas, ham, and collard greens and turned them into a soup a few years ago, and the recipe has been something I’ve made for New Year’s luck ever since. And if you want a version of this soup that’s lower in carbs, use less black-eyed peas and more ham, celery, and collard greens.

There are also more tasty Lucky Black-Eyed Peas Recipes on the blog if you want to get even more good luck!

What are Black-Eyed Peas?

Black-Eyed peas are legumes that are grown around the world. Here’s more about this tasty ingredient that are sometimes called Black-Eyed Beans. In the United States they are often made into a southern dish called Hopping John.

Hopping John Soup photo collage

How to Make Hopping John Soup:

(Scroll down for complete printable recipe.)

  1. Chop the onions and celery and cook them just until they start to soften, adding garlic the last few minutes.  While the onions cook, chop the ham.  (If you ham has a rind, save it to add to the soup for more flavor.)
  2. After onions/celery/garlic mixture is done, add the chopped ham and saute over very low heat for about 10 minutes.
  3. In a large soup pot, add the ham/onion/celery/garlic mixture, chicken stock (or if you have Homemade Ham Stock I would definitely use that for this recipe), black-eyed peas, dried thyme, and ham rinds if you have them.  Let this cook at a low simmer for about an hour.  (These photos are a double batch of soup.)
  4. While the soup simmers, cut away the thick inner rib of the collard greens, then coarsely chop the greens.
  5. After soup has simmered for one hour, taste for flavor, adding some ham flavor base (affiliate link) if needed and adding a little water if the soup seems too thick. 
  6. Add chopped collard greens to the soup and let simmer for about one hour more. When the black-eyed peas are as soft as you’d like, remove the ham rind and then use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup, being careful not to overdo it if you want a soup with some chunkiness to it. 
  7. Add the red pepper flakes and vinegar and simmer 10 minutes more (or longer;  I sometimes cook it an hour or so longer at this point.) 
  8. Serve hot and enjoy the good luck!

Hopping John Soup for Good Luck in the New Year (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup) found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Black-Eyed Peas for New Year’s:

Black-Eyed Pea Hummus with Olive Oil and Sumac ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas ~ Southern Plate
Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Sausage and Peppers ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Cowboy Caviar ~ Valerie’s Kitchen
Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Peppers and Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Black-Eyed Pea Salad ~ She Wears Many Hats

Hopping John Soup for Good Luck in the New Year (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Hopping John Soup (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup)

Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Hopping John Soup (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and  Collard Greens Soup) is my favorite dish to make for good luck in the New Year!


  • 1 small onion, chopped in fairly small pieces
  • 1 cup celery, chopped in fairly small pieces
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 cups diced ham (cut off the ham rind and save; you can get by with a bit less ham if needed)
  • 8 cups homemade chicken stock (see notes)
  • 2 16 oz. packages frozen black-eyed peas (see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh collard greens, chopped (see notes)
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar, or more to taste
  • Optional: ham flavor base


  1. In large frying pan, saute onion and celery in olive oil about 5 minutes, until starting to soften. Add garlic and cook about 2 minutes more.
  2. Then add ham and saute over very low heat 10 minutes. (Don't skip this step, which concentrates the ham flavor into the vegetables.)
  3. Transfer mixture to large soup pot, add chicken stock, black eyed peas, dried thyme, and ham rinds if available, and cook at very low simmer for one hour.
  4. After soup has cooked one hour, taste for flavoring. Add more water and ham flavor base if needed. (It will depend on your ham, but I usually add a tiny bit. I added about 2 cups more water to the soup at this point.)
  5. Add chopped collard greens, stir into soup and simmer one hour more, or until black-eyed peas are quite soft.
  6. When black-eyed peas are as soft as you want them, remove pieces of ham rind, then use an immersion blender, food processor, or hand masher to partially process about half the soup. You want a mixture of broken and unbroken black-eyes peas, with some thickening of the soup from the pureeing process. Be careful not to over process.
  7. Add red pepper flakes and vinegar and simmer 10 minutes more (or longer, I sometimes cook as much as an hour more at this point.)
  8. Serve hot.


If you don't have homemade chicken stock you can use water with Better than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base (affiliate link) or canned chicken broth (affiliate link) instead. I also like to use Goya Ham Flavor Concentrate (affiliate link) for more ham flavor. (Or if you have Homemade Ham Stock I would definitely use that for this recipe, in which case you won't need the ham flavor base!)

You can also use 6 cups freshly cooked black-eyed peas or 4 cans black-eyed peas to make this soup. One bunch of collard greens is about 2 cups when measured after chopping, but next time I would use more.

This recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from The Gourmet Cookbook.)

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 1023mgCarbohydrates: 28.5gFiber: 9gSugar: 9gProtein: 31g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Hopping John Soup thumbnail photo

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Black-eyed peas are not low in carbs, but if you want to reduce the carb count for the soup use more ham, celery, and collard greens in proportion to the other ingredients. However, even with that lower-carb version if you’re strictly limiting carbs you’ll have to miss out on the black-eyed pea luck! This Hopping John Soup would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but limit serving sizes for phase one. 

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Pinterest image of Hopping John Soup or Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup

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    74 Comments on “Hopping John Soup or Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup (Video)”

  1. Hey Kalyn! I linked to your recipe in my Butternut Chili post. 🙂

  2. I went to Kalyn’s party and tried some of the soup. Now I am not much for collard greens, but I did like the soup very much. Kalyn always has many wonderful choices of soup at this party—I loved all of them.
    Thanks Kalyn for letting us enjoy your cooking and your company.

  3. Thanks SO MUCH for this recipe and for creating this site!! I have a dear friend who lives in British Columbia. I will tell her about your site and send her this recipe! *Blessings*

  4. Chigiy at Gardener’s Anonymous said:

    Oh, this time of year I crave soup all the time. It’s raining here tonight and this soup looks soooo good.
    Happy New year.

  5. mmmmmmm thx for the good luck soup 🙂 loooks goooot

    happy new yr 🙂

  6. Hi Kalyn! I want to wish you and yours a very Happpy New Year with all the best in 2008 🙂

  7. my boyfriend’s mother always seeks out black eyed peas on new years day — i’ll have to show her this soup!

  8. I love Hoppin’ John. Thanks for the reminder! Have fun at your soup party.

    Sending warm wishes for a healthy, safe and creative New Year, Kalyn! xoxo

  9. I have lurked for a long time but never posted. I started SB Diet yesterday, and can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog.

    Thank you so much for a ton of SB inspiration.

    It is a truly wonderful diet

  10. Mrs. L., honeybaked ham wouldn’t be good for South Beach, but otherwise there’s no reason you couldn’t use it in this recipe. I’m not sure about subbing spinach for collard greens, the flavor is quite different. Collard greens have a very mild, almost sweet flavor when they’re cooked. Swiss chard would be a closer substitute, or cabbage would also be a good choice. If all you have is spinach, of course you could use it, but it would be a very different soup. Let me know if you try it that way.

  11. I just brought home fresh black eyed peas for a party on Sunday. The soup looks wonderful. My mom always served black eyed peas on New Years Eve and Day!!

  12. I know Kalyn is not blogging right now but does anyone know if leftover HoneyBaked ham would work here (taking off the glazed crust of course)? And also can spinach or something else be substituted for the collard greens?

  13. This is the start of new comments from December 2007 when I updated this recipe.

  14. Kayln,
    I discovered your blog recently and have been scoping out many recipes to make.
    I made this soup tonight (a little skeptical), but it is WONDERFUL!
    Thanks so much for posting,

  15. This soup looks so good, and so good for you! And I love the idea of a soup party.

    Very nice blog!

  16. Melissa, Indira, Sailu and Paz, Happy New Year to all of you. Paz, the party was great. I’m lucky to have a lot of good friends.

  17. Very filling, this looks like! I’ve never heard this name before. I think that everyone must have had a fun time at your party. Happy New Year!


  18. Wishing you and your family a wonderful and safe NEW YEAR and may it bring you more lovely meals, friends, laughter, and so much more.The soup is looking lovely.

  19. Wishing you happy and fulfilling new year, Kalyn!

  20. Wow Kalyn, it looks delicious! Thank you for joining us in the party! Feliz Año Nuevo! Love,