Given the ongoing rise in grocery prices, Diana Wind, RD, a nutritionist at Inspira Health, stresses that making sustainable ingredient choices is just as important as making healthful ones. In her grazing board for New Year’s, she does both, with the star of the show being black-eyed peas. They’re affordable, full of protein and fiber, and have been shown to improve cholesterol levels in menopausal women, according to a study published in April 2022 in the Asian Journal of Health Research.
“Black-eyed peas (sometimes called cowpeas) bring good luck in the new year,” Wind says. More specifically, Hoppin’ John — a stewed black-eyed pea dish made popular in the American South, particularly in Black households — is a holiday favorite, and Wind makes it grazing-friendly (and healthier) by enacting a few ingredient swaps. “For a grazing board, Hoppin’ John is best served in a bowl as a dip surrounded by whole grain crackers,” she explains, as it’s typically served over rice. Her recipe also eliminates some of the dish’s saturated fats by removing the ham hock the beans are typically cooked in, and subbing in olive oil, aromatics, and greens.
With the beans being the main event, Ward recommends incorporating side elements of sweetness and creaminess with fresh fruit — grapes, apples, strawberries, clementines — and cheese, such as pepper jack. These add-ins will bring antioxidants, calcium, and a bit more protein to the party.
Additional reporting by Kayla Blanton.