Ring in 2022 with symbolic foods

11 Recipes
A bowl of black-eyed peas and rice (Hoppin' John) from a recipe by chef Ray Anthony Barrett.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

On New Year’s Day, eat these symbols of wealth and prosperity.


In the American South, there is a saying: peas for pennies, greens for dollars and cornbread for gold. Hoppin’ John, (black-eyed peas and rice), Sauteed Collard Greens and Iron Skillet Corn Bread are dishes that, for many, are connected with prosperity and luck in the New Year. They also feature ingredients and techniques associated with Black foodways. For your New Year’s Day meal, try serving one or more of these traditional dishes — or variations of them.

Jonathan Gold’s Hoppin’ John simplifies the preparation and cooks spicy heat into the dish rather than adding it at the end. A Senegalese preparation, this Black-Eyed Pea Salad, dressed with lime juice and olive oil, is a riot of color on the plate. Little Beast’s Black-Eyed Pea Hummus takes the concept of Hoppin’ John in an entirely different direction.

Give collards a different flavor profile with Sukuma Wiki, a Nigerian, garlicky, gingery sauté of collard greens. Collard Squares are like a very dense quiche with no cream and no troublesome crust. And these California Greens use a variety of greens and get a smoky flavor from grilling the chard stems.

This vegan Cast-Iron Cornbread is a terrific variation. Brothers’ Jalapeno Corn Bread adds some heat to the cornbread party and Zynodia’s Bruleed Cast-Iron Cornbread adds, yes, a thin, crispy layer of caramel on top.


Any combination of these tasty dishes will make for an enjoyable meal and some good conversation about what you and your dining companions seek in the coming year.

Sauteed Collard Greens

Collard greens quickly cooked with leeks develop sweetness while staying fresh.
Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Iron skillet corn bread

Creamed corn and fresh corn kernels in addition to the cornmeal make for a rich corn flavor also and lend texture to this hearty cornbread.
Time 55 minutes
Yields Serves 12

Hoppin' John

Time 2 hours, plus 7 hours soaking time
Yields Serves 2 to 4

Sukuma Wiki (Sautéed Collard Greens)

Thinly shredded collard green leaves are sautéed with tomatoes, garlic and ginger in this quick vegetable side dish.
Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Black-eyed pea salad

This easy black-eyed pea salad (salatu niebe) is a riot of colors on the plate -- cooked peas (native to Africa), diced tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, scallions and parsley.
Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 8

Little Beast's black-eyed pea hummus

Hoppin' John inspired chef Sean Lowenthal's black-eyed pea and cannellini bean hummus and the salsa that accompanies it.
Time 1 hour
Yields Makes 3 ½ cups

Collard squares

Collard squares are like a dense quiche with no cream and no troublesome crust. Cook the greens with salt and garlic until soft, chop and mix them with eggs, shiitakes and cheese.
Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 12

Brothers' jalapeno corn bread

The secret to the incredible lightness of this sweet cornbread is the cake flour. Flecks of green jalapeno and red bell pepper add flavor, texture and a little bit of heat.
Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 10 to 12

California Greens

This recipe allows cooked greens to be all they can be — spicy (mustards), pleasantly bitter and slightly astringent (chard), deeply verdant (Tuscan kale) or bright (micro greens).
Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 4 as a side dish

Jonathan Gold's Hoppin' John

This low country staple for New Year's Day combines smoked pork, black-eyed peas and rice into a warming Southern dish.
Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Zynodoa's bruleed cast iron cornbread

Lightly sweet and with a delicate crumb, the cornbread at Zynodoa is served piping hot in a cast-iron skillet, topped with melted butter and a thin crust of caramelized sugar.
Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 8 to 12