Hoppin’ John Cakes

These savory appetizers are inspired by the traditional southern dish served on New Year’s Day and are perfect for a New Year’s Eve party.

Serves: 8Hands-on: 50 minutesTotal: 50 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 8


  • 2 cans (15.5 oz.) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 2 tsp. hot sauce
  • 6 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1⁄2 small onion, peeled and minced
  • 3 cups stemmed and finely chopped kale
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1⁄2 cup canola oil


  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine peas with 1 teaspoon salt and hot sauce. Set aside.
  • Add bacon to a small skillet set over medium heat and cook until the bacon is crispy, about 8 minutes. Strain the bacon away from the fat with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion to the bacon fat and cook until the onion is soft, about 7 minutes.
  • Add chopped kale to a small saucepan with water, baking soda, and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the kale is wilted. Drain and squeeze out all the liquid.
  • Combine the rice, pea mixture, onion, kale, and flour in a large bowl. Take handfuls of the mixture and form into balls. Flatten the balls into cakes, and coat in corn meal. Set on a baking sheet.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cakes and fry, turning halfway though cooking until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Repeat the process of frying until all of the cakes are cooked. Serve with remaining hot sauce.
  • The cakes can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. To make ahead, completely prepare and fry the cakes. Cool and refrigerate until shortly before serving. Heat in a 400ºF oven for 10 minutes before serving.