Happy New Year & My Paleo Hoppin’ John!

My version of Hoppin' John...a new New Year's tradition!

I grew up in the South and for as long as I can remember our family has eaten Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day…

Traditionally, the dish consists of slow cooked black-eyed peas, white rice and sautéed greens and it’s believed that when you eat Hoppin’ John on New Years Day it will bring prosperity and luck in the New Year, adding some sort of pork is said to symbolize progress and moving forward.  Besides being just down right tasty…why tempt fate by not partaking in the tradition?

Enter Paleo/Primal living…half the dish is wiped out!

Today was no different from any other New Year’s Day for my family, black-eyed peas, rice, fried cabbage and kielbasa graced our kitchen table and everyone was pleased.  My plate, however, looked a little different but was just as (if not more) tasty and I didn’t leave the table with a huge ‘ol carb bomb in my tummy!

My Hoppin’ John…diced sweet potatoes oven-roasted in coconut oil, stir-fried cabbage and kielbasa.  I skipped the grains and legumes and guess what?  I’m still gonna have a prosperous New Year filled with happiness, health and progress!

Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes (serves 6 generously)

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.  Place peeled and diced sweet potatoes in a large bowl and cover with cold water and set aside for at least 15 minutes.  Drain and pat dry.  Return sweet potatoes to bowl and toss with coconut oil, salt and pepper.  Spread into a single layer on baking sheet and roast in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking.  Remove from oven and season according to your taste.

Stir-Fried Cabbage

1 large head of green cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped

2 Tbsp. fat of choice (olive oil, coconut oil, bacon drippings, ghee etc…)

3 scallions, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

Heat fat of choice in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add cabbage, scallions and garlic and stir-fry until desired tenderness, or until just slightly wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.


2 pounds nitrate/nitrite and sugar-free pork kielbasa

Slice kielbasa diagonally and set aside.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add kielbasa to the heated pan and fry until golden brown.  Remove from heat and serve warm.

**Recipe Notes**

This dish can be cooked separately and then mixed all together as shown in the photo above or served as individual dishes…I ate it both ways and they are equally good!

The kielbasa I used was pork and it was pre-cooked so it only needed browning, some kielbasa is fresh so it will require boiling first before slicing and frying, check the package to be sure.  You could substitute chicken or turkey sausage but the theory is that eating winged fowl on New Year’s could make your good luck fly away! 😉

We always use cabbage as our greens (symbolizing economic fortune) on New Year’s Day but you could substitute any greens you like for this prosperous dish!

I haven’t been able to find any good information on whether or not sweet potatoes represent anything lucky or prosperous for New Year’s traditions but they are just darn good so they made the cut…butternut squash would be yummy too!

Here’s to 2012…I wish you all a year of health, happiness, love and peace!

This recipe is shared at:

Make Ahead Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays


  1. I was born and raised in Texas and MISS Hoppin’ John – I could (and think I shall) do this marvelous-looking Paleo version! Thank you!!

  2. This would a perfect throw together dinner too! I adore cabbage…but my hubby might shy….I am going to try this for lunch!

  3. Caroline says:

    Oh yummy – this looks so good! I’ll have to try it when I can find some paleo/SCD legal kielbasa…

    BTW, what sugar free, nitrate/nitrite free kielbasa and bacon do you use? I need a good/reliable source:)

    • I purchase all my pork products from a local farm here in Colorado Springs…Wellshire Farms has a sugar-free, nitrate/nitrite-free turkey kielbasa but their pork kielbasa has sugar in it. I have not tried the sugar-free beef bacon from US Wellness but it gets great reviews.

      • Caroline says:

        Thanks for the tip about Wellshire Farms! I checked out their other products at their website, and found a few sausages that might be legal for me as well. I’ll call them to ask more detailed questions because I have to be fanatically strict with the SCD.
        Looks like they only sell them at Whole Foods, which is why I’d never seen them before (closest WF is 2 hours away).
        I’m so excited about this! Thanks a bunch!

  4. This looks fantastic. I’m definitely adding cabbage to mine. I’ll use some of your recipe and some other recipes amongst the web.

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