Throughout the Southern states, black-eyed peas and Hoppin’ John are associated with good luck in the New Year. Add in collard greens for a prosperous year ahead. Why not prepare a delicious and healthy dish for New Year’s that combines the two ingredients?

The custom of eating black-eyed peas and rice has its origins in Africa and was brought to the South, especially the Carolinas, where they are served in rice or pilau dishes with chicken or shrimp. Black-eyed peas cooked with a ham hock or bacon and rice is known as Hoppin’ John.

More Than Good Luck

Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, are chock full of nutritional benefits. As a member of the legume family, one cup of these small beans provides about half of the daily value for fiber, which promotes digestion and may help control blood glucose levels, a benefit for those with Type 2 diabetes.

These lucky legumes are especially high in folate, which is a crucial nutrient for women during reproductive years or who are in the early months of pregnancy. In addition, folate stimulates red blood cell production, important in preventing anemia.

Manganese is an essential trace element that helps with cartilage formation, as well as with metabolic function and protecting the structures in cells that produce energy. One cup of black-eyed peas contribute 40 percent of the daily intake for men and 52 percent for women.

Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, necessary to support the vision and the immune system, as well as providing antioxidant properties. Vitamin A maintains the health of skin and the mucous membranes in the respiratory and digestive tract that help protect against germs or infections.

The immune system responds to threats by sending in white blood cells to kill pathogens and degrade bacteria. These cells are dependent on vitamin A and one cup of black-eyed peas provides 43 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Health Benefits of Collard Greens

With so much talk about kale, collard greens have gotten lost in the spotlight. These leafy greens are in the Brassica family, along with cabbage. With only 32 calories per cup, collard greens are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which help control LDL cholesterol, as well as providing digestive health benefits.

Collard greens are a particularly good source of phytonutrients such as Di-indolyl-methane and sulforaphane, proven to inhibit prostate, breast, cervical, ovarian, and colon cancer cells, as well as providing cytotoxic effects. DIM also has antibacterial and antimicrobial functions

Collard leaves provide about 32 percent of the RDA for folate and about 59 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. The leafy vegetable also supplies 170 percent of the RDA for vitamin A and is a good source of carotenoid antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin, important for vision health.

While collard greens pack a powerful amount of B vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, copper, manganese, selenium, and zinc, the leaves provide a staggering amount of vitamin K, providing 370 percent of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin K is crucial for bone-building and may limit neuronal damage in Alzheimer’s patients.

Prepare these Slow-Cooker Black-Eyed Peas and BBQ Collard Wraps for not only good fortune in the New Year but to boost your health!

Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes


1 ½ cups dried black eyed peas sorted

1 cup purple onion, chopped

½ cups red bell pepper diced small

½ cup green bell pepper, diced small

2 cloves of garlic minced

2 teaspoons tabasco

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 teaspoon mustard

1 bayleaf

5 cups vegetable broth

¼ c chopped parsley for garnish


In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, and sauté until nearly tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the cauliflower and toss well to combine. Stir in the chile powder, coriander, and red curry paste, and cook until the whole mixture darkens slightly 1 minute.

Stir in the coconut milk and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cover the pot and continue to simmer until the cauliflower is tender 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the lid and squeeze lime juice into the curry, stirring well to combine. Add the chickpeas and peas, season with salt and pepper, and bring the mixture back to a simmer.

Serve with rice, if desired. Garnish each portion with 1 tablespoon cilantro and 1 tablespoon scallions.

BBQ Black-Eyed Pea Collard Wraps

Makes: 8-9 Rolls

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes


For the Rolls:

2 bunches of collards  for 9 whole large leaves, and 3 cups chopped collards 

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 1/2 cups slow cooked black eyed peas, drained*

2 cups crimini mushrooms, stemmed and chopped in small dice

3 dashes of Tabasco, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce:

Makes: 1 3/4 cups

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

1 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup apple juice 

2/3 cup ketchup 

1/3 cup Bourbon whiskey 

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce *** vegan-friendly

2 teaspoons Adobo Sauce**

2 teaspoons yellow mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke, optional 

1/4 teaspoons Tabasco, optional 

**Find chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Mexican ingredient section. It comes in a 7oz can.

***If gluten-free, sub-Tamari for vegan Worcestershire


For the Rolls:


Fill a large stockpot 2/3 full of water and bring to a boil. Rinse the collards well and chop off the stem at the base of all the collards. Choose the most intact 9 leaves available for the rolls, set aside. Chop enough of the remaining collards for 3 cups packed to be used in the filling.

Rinse these in a colander with plenty of water and set aside. Place the 9 whole collard leaves in the boiling water and boil for about 6 minutes. If you have a few whole leaves left, you can boil those too, using them to line the casserole dish.

Carefully drain the whole leaves in a colander and rinse with cold water. Place a few kitchen towels or paper towels on the counter. Place each leaf, flat, on the towel. Be careful here as the leaves are tender and tear easily.

In a large sauté pan, melt down 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Cook the mushrooms on medium heat until softened and fragrant, stirring only occasionally for about 5 minutes, then add the chopped collards. Cook until just wilted.

Turn the heat down to low and add the black eyed peas to the pan; stir to combine ingredients. Add 1/4 cup of the BBQ sauce to the collard mixture. Adjust Tabasco and salt and pepper to taste. 

To Assemble the Rolls

Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat the bottom and sides of a medium casserole dish with coconut oil spray. Line the casserole with any extra leaves.

Place one collard leaf flat on your work surface. Test the collard to see if the stem will easily bend as if you're rolling up the collard. If not, gently slice the stem out of slice it so it's thinner.

3Place about 4 1/2 tablespoons of the collard/mushroom/pea mixture towards the base of the collard leaf. Very carefully, begin to roll up the collard leaf, folding the sides over the mixture while continuing to roll like a burrito. If the collard tears a bit, just keep folding and rolling. Place the roll into the prepared casserole dish.

Repeat this process until all of the leaves and filling is used up. Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes, or until the inside of each roll is heated thoroughly (use a fork to heat-test a roll). If they bake too long, the leaves will begin to lose their vibrant green color.

Meanwhile, warm the remaining BBQ sauce in a pan on low for 5 minutes. Drizzle 1/2 of the remaining sauce on rolls and serve the remaining half on the side.

For Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce

In a small saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, apple juice, ketchup, Bourbon, vinegar, salt, Worchestershire and Adobo sauces, and mustard. Place over medium-high heat.

As soon as the mixture starts to boil, turn the heat to medium-low and bring the sauce to a simmer. This sauce will boil over and make a mess if left to boil, so watch it closely.

Simmer for 15 minutes; whisk as needed to incorporate all the ingredients. The sauce will start to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool. It will continue to thicken. Add the optional liquid smoke and Tabasco. Adjust Tabasco heat to taste.

Store for up to a week in the refrigerator in a lidded container or up to a month in the freezer. Be sure to leave at least a 1/2" headspace if freezing.