Hoppin' John with Turnips and Turnip Greens


Todd Richards spices up his family recipe for this Southern favorite (often enjoyed on New Year's Day) with harissa for extra heat. Richards makes the traditional ham hock is optional so that vegetarians can enjoy the dish as well, and adds smoked paprika and cumin to deliver a similar savory depth. Turnips become soft and tender after a quick braise, adding body to the dish.

Prep Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
7 hrs 15 mins


  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 medium-size white onion, finely chopped

  • 2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 8 (½-inch) wedges

  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste, divided 

  • 1 ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 2 medium celery stalks, halved lengthwise and cut into small cubes 

  • 4 small fresh jalapeños, seeded and diced

  • 4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and chopped 

  • 4 dried bay leaves or 2 fresh bay leaves

  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste, or more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin 

  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme or 2 thyme sprigs

  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable stock 

  • 1 (about 1 ½-pound) smoked ham hock (optional)

  • 8 ounces turnip greens or kale 

  • Cooked yellow or white rice

  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced

  • Sliced pickled jalapeños (optional)


  1. Rinse black-eyed peas; discard any debris. Place peas in a large pot or bowl. Add cold water to cover; let soak at room temperature at least 6 hours or up to 12 hours. Drain peas, and set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium. Add onion, turnips, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add celery, diced jalapeños, garlic, bay leaves, harissa, smoked paprika, cumin, and thyme; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add peas, stock, ham hock (if using), 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper; bring to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in turnip greens until just wilted. Let stand 15 minutes.

  3. Remove and discard bay leaves, thyme sprigs (if used), and ham hock. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste. Serve over rice; top with scallions, and, if desired, garnish with pickled jalapeños.

    Hoppin' John with Turnips and Turnip Greens
    Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen


Substitute a smoked turkey wing for ham hock, or omit for a vegan dish.

Make Ahead

Hoppin' John can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.

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