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Hoppin' John with Collard Greens
and cornmeal muffins / honey butter

Active: 1 hr 30 minTotal: 1 hr 30 min

This is a meal that takes inspiration from the food of the Southern United States and was requested by many of our community members for New Year's Day. Although the black-eyed peas in the Hoppin' John are traditionally cooked separately from the collard greens in this meal, in our version we combine the peas and greens to save some time and dishes.
Smarts #1: Be sure to give yourself some time to work through this recipe. It takes longer than most Cook Smarts meals. While the cornmeal muffins can be made ahead of time, we think they're best served warm out of the oven.
Smarts #2: This recipe could be made in the Instant Pot. For tips, join the Cook Smarts Instant Pot Facebook Group.


Hoppin’ John with Collard Greens:
  • Rice, white and uncooked - 1 cup
  • Onions, medium - 1, diced
  • Collard greens - 5 leaves, stems discarded, leaves roughly chopped
  • Bacon, thick-sliced - 1/3 lb, chopped
  • Thyme, dried - 1 tsp
  • Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/4 tsp
  • Black-eyed peas, dried - 1 cup (sub any dried beans)
  • Stock, any type - 6 cups
  • Vinegar, apple cider - 2 Tbsp
Cornmeal Muffins:
  • Buttermilk, low-fat - 1/2 cup
  • Butter - 6 Tbsp
  • Eggs - 1
  • Cornmeal - 1/2 cup
  • Flour, all-purpose - 1/2 cup
  • Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
Honey Butter:
  • Butter - 4 Tbsp
  • Honey - 2 tsp

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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  1. Rice - (If prepping right before cooking, get the black-eyed peas cooking before starting the rice.) Rinse white rice until clear. Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice), and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water, ~20 minutes. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Onions / Collard greens / Bacon - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Make honey butter - Soften butter (portion for honey butter) in the microwave. Stir in honey. If using unsalted butter, add some salt. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)


  1. Heat oven to 350F / 177C.
  2. Measure buttermilk for the muffins and set it out at room temperature. If honey butter was made ahead, remove it from the refrigerator so it softens.
  3. While oven is heating, heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and saute until it has released some grease but is not yet browning, ~2 minutes.
  4. Add onions to bacon and saute until onions are very soft, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add thyme and red pepper flakes and stir for 1 minute.
  6. Stir in peas and stock. Bring to a simmer. Simmer peas, uncovered, for 30 minutes. (Note: Keep an eye on the peas and reduce heat to keep them at a low simmer.)
  7. While peas simmer, grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or rub with some cooking oil.
  8. Make cornmeal muffins by melting butter (portion for muffins) in the microwave. In a small bowl whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, and eggs.
  9. In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir just until combined (don’t overmix).
  10. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin (this should make about 5 muffins for 4 servings; adjust if customizing). Bake until set in the middle and light golden brown on the edges, ~15 minutes.
  11. Return to peas. Stir in collards (they will quickly shrink down) until fully submerged in liquid. Continue simmering peas and greens together, uncovered, until peas are fully soft, ~30 minutes more. (Keep an eye on the pan and add some more stock or water if needed; you want there to be a small amount of liquid at the bottom of the pan at the end of cooking as this will create a gravy to serve over rice.)
  12. When peas are tender, stir in vinegar. Taste and season with some salt and pepper.
  13. If rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
  14. Serve Hoppin John and collard greens over rice. Enjoy muffins with honey butter on the side.

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This meal has 27 reviews

Great and would have been better if I hadn't tried to use corn flour instead of corn meal. Learn from my mistakes. They are NOT interchangeable. I did not realize until this meal how wonderful black eye peas and collards were. Recommend using pre-chopped collards as a timesaver.

By: Jennifer
Posted: Jan 15, 2020
Diet: Vegetarian

The honey butter carrots were the star of the show for this meal at our house. So good! I couldn't find collards so I just sauted kale with coconut oil and granulated garlic. I used some penzey's seasoning on the pork chops. My family really enjoyed this meal!

By: Stephanie
Posted: Jan 08, 2020
Diet: Paleo

Recipe was good as is. Next time I may use smoked bacon/smoked turkey or maybe splurge with a smoked ham hock.

By: Michael
Posted: Jan 08, 2020
Diet: Original

Something felt a little off for me, I’d make it again but it just seemed a little bland this time. I only used 4c of stock and ended up removing almost 1.5c just to have it be less soupy in the end. Also I made a different vegan cornbread recipe and had the muffins with coconut honey “butter” for a plant based meal :)

By: Delaney
Posted: Jan 07, 2020
Diet: Vegetarian

We subbed red beans and while it took a long time to cook, we really liked it. Cheap and flavorful and will be added to our regular rotation. Oh and we made cornbread muffins using a mix then added the honey butter.

By: Jamie
Posted: Jan 07, 2020
Diet: Vegetarian

Tried this and it was a win, though I did some major substitutions. Didn't have 1.5-hrs (and also couldn't find dried black eyed peas) so boiled collard greens for a half hour before adding them to the sauteed (red because it was all I had) onion and canned black and garbanzo beans with some veggie broth (I wish I had used some of the boiled greens water). Served over quinoa because eaten too much rice over the last couple weeks. Made vegan version of cornmeal muffins which I think had too much oil, but were still very tasty! Also, honey (vegan)butter didn't work for us, just drizzled honey on the muffins.

By: Shawn
Posted: Jan 06, 2020
Diet: Vegetarian