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Hoppin’ John Veggie Burgers

I’ve had a visual in my mind the last two weeks of this heck of a year.  It’s a horse, with me on it (imagine Beyoncé on a stallion and that’s me in my own mind), galloping fiercely towards the end of this year.  It’s not that the end of this dang year has me feeling aaaaanything like Beyoncé, it’s just that I’m trying to make it to the end with passion, and grace, and strong thighs.  

A strong, smokey, veggie burger seems like a fitting meal for the Cowgirl Beyoncé version of Me.  

Also.. I know this makes sense to you because we all need a galloping version of ourselves making our way to the finish line of this year and straight on into the next.  I’m right, we all know it. 

I’ve always wanted to make a Hoppin’ John something or other to commemorate the new year.  It’s a tradition I’ve always wanted to be a part of without… actually eating a bowl of beans on New Year’s Day.  There’s got to be a more delicious way, right?

Burger is the answer.  Burger with potato chips / tater tots / oven-fries is definitely the answer.  Ps.  No one (/everyone) in their right mind starts their diet on New Year’s Day… that’s a free-day and national holiday and if you don’t get mail in the mailbox that means it’s a day when you can eat however many tater tots you want.  Known fact.

Superstitiously, black-eyed peas are said to bring a prosperous and lucky year.  Eat a bean?  Sure.  I’ll layer on all the luck I can yet. 

Here’s what you’ll need: 

Black-Eyed Peas.  Dry beans: soaked, hydrated, simmered to soft.  OR canned beans because sometimes you just need beans faster than soaking.  

Slivered almonds: we’ll toast.  Bread crumbs: for body.  If you have a nut aversion for any reason, you can just double down on the bread crumbs. 

Cooked quinoa + sautéed onions and garlic + so many spices + egg + barbecue sauce.  

In a food processor we’ll combine toasted slivered almonds, and a mega amount of spices like chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, mustard powder, salt and pepper.  

All the good stuff.  Beans need a lot of help easin’ on down the road with flavor.  

Place most of the beans in a large bowl.  Mash, unceremoniously.  Really get in there with your elbow up and your brow certain. 

To the mashed beans we’ll add all sorts of nonsense:

The toasted almond and spice mixture.  

The cooked quinoa. 

The beaten egg and bread crumbs.  Cooked onion and garlic and barbecue sauce. 

The remaining whole beans are added to the mashed mixture. 

And all of the mixture is shaped into big patties.  Pressed, patted, shaped to thick, round disks.  

Buns and burgers are cooked on a well-greased grill pan.  A regular skillet would be just fine too.  A grill (using a thin metal spatula) would also be a good bet.  Get some good char and grill love on these burgers.  

Toasted buns are prepped with sauce and all the stackable veggies in your crisper. 

Havarti cheese is melted over the burgers.  Burgers on the buns and… you know how the rest of this works. Topple it together, smash it gracefully and get it in your face as best you can. 

Add beer, add a potato of some sort.  Revel in the sure prosperity of the year ahead.  We’ll do better than our best, that’s for damn sure. 

Happy New Year!

Photos with Jon Melendez

Hoppin' John Veggie Burgers
Serves 6
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
  1. 2 teaspoons canola oil
  2. 1 small yellow onion, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 cup raw slivered almonds (or sub panko bread crumbs)
  5. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  6. 1 tablespoons cumin powder
  7. 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  8. 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  9. 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  10. 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  11. 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  12. 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (get two cans if you're using canned)
  13. 1 cup cooked quinoa
  14. 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  15. 1 large egg, beaten (If you find that your mixture is very crumbly, add another egg)
  16. 3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
To Assemble
  1. havarti cheese
  2. brioche buns
  3. sliced tomato
  4. romaine lettuce leaves
  5. sliced cucumber
  6. sliced avocado
  7. 1/3 cup mayonnaise + 2 tablespoons dijon mustard + sea salt and black pepper for sauce
  1. In a small saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they become translucent and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
  2. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until well browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, or food chopper combined toasted almonds, all of the spices, salt and pepper. Pulse to a fine grain.
  4. In a large bowl, add 1 3/4 cup of the cooked black eyes peas. Mash well with a potato masher. Add the almond mixture, cooked quinoa, bread crumbs, beaten egg, and barbecue sauce. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine well.
  5. Add the remaining beans and stir together.
  6. Shape into 6 patties, about 1/2 cup for each burger. Shape firmly into a 3/4-inch thick patty, making sure that there are no cracks in the burger patty that might make them hard to cook. Place on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Prepare a pan for cooking by adding a few tablespoons of canola oil. Heat over medium heat. Cook as many patties as will fit on your griddle on in your skillet, being sure that you have enough room to still flip the burgers.
  8. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, until browned and sizzling. Add a slice of cheese to as the burgers finish cooking.
  9. Toast burgers along with the burgers.
  10. To assemble, layer sauce, cheese covered patty, tomato, cucumbers, avocado, lettuce, and more sauce!
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Joy the Baker