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  • Writer's pictureThe Rough & Tumble

The Rumbly Tummy: Hoppin' John Burgers

It's tradition! And one of our favorites. Since becoming vegetarian, Mallory has been making Hoppin' John's (or, if you prefer, Hoppin' Jane's) every New Year's Day. Seeing as her previous tradition of pork and kielbasa and sauerkraut wasn't going to cut the new dietary restriction, The R&T has been enjoying this spin on a classic Southern good-luck dish for the last five years. Brown rice topped with spiced black-eyed peas topped with sauteed collard greens topped with sauerkraut, sweet relish, and a little hot sauce. Yum. Truthfully, any time we are feeling a little under the weather, or just need some sort of comfort, this is a go-to. It's warm, it's lucky, and it keeps us regular. There's really nothing more you could ask for.

So on the morning of November 9th, when it seemed like the world was spinning backwards and angry words were flying and children weren't talking to their parents who weren't talking to their friends who weren't talking at all, we were in need of a little comfort. Actually, a lot of comfort. It'd been a tough couple of weeks as it was (see our previous blog), and as much as we wanted to remain calm and speak loudly, we actually needed a little quiet and some luck. So after our final Missouri shows, we took to the woods. And after a quick stock-up in a St. Louis grocery store, we found ourselves with five full days in the woods of Land Between the Lakes. That's Kentucky. No phone. No internet. Only another aimless soul or two left on the chilly campground. And lots of time to think and hike and play and rest and be. And cook.

We had chili, We had carrot dogs. We made s'mores every night. We ate big salads and homemade biscuits with sage gravy. We savored vegan mac'n'cheese with extra brussel sprouts. We took our time. All we had was time. We didn't know what time it was. We were eating like camping royalty, but we still wanted that consolation of a a fresh start. And something a little American. So Mallory started a pot of black-eyed peas, and after the daily two mile or so hike in the woods, Scott started the fire. We were having burgers. Lucky Hoppin' John burgers. And they were perfect.

By the time we left the woods, we were clearer headed, calm hearted, and full to the brim. We hope this recipe brings you a little consolation, too, as the colder part of the year sneaks in. A little piece of summer, a little piece of winter, and a lot of luck to you, from our kitchen to yours.

Hoppin' John Burgers



Olive oil

2 c black eyed peas, drained*

TBSP cajun seasoning

dash garam masala

dash cinnamon

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c BBQ sauce**

2 TBSP amino acids or tamari

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

2 TBSP oregano

dash of cayenne (more if you like it spicy)

1 TBSP flaxmeal

1 & 1/4-1/2 oats (or almond meal... or make it half and half!)


3-4 c collard greens, chopped (we use the stems, but some prefer not)


sweet pickles, sliced or sweet relish

veganaise (or mayonnaise)

hot sauce

bread/buns of choice (we used GF bread, toasted)


1. If using canned black-eyed peas, heat a skillet, add olive oil, and saute onion and garlic. Add canned peas. Then add cajun seasoning, garam masala, cinnamon. Heat until fragrant. Remove from heat. If using dried peas, see (*) below.

2. In a food processor, add oats/almond meal with flaxmeal. Pulse to break down oats, about 10 seconds. Add skillet mixture, plus remaining burger ingredients. Pulse to combine, but not liquify. You should still have a good but of chunk in there.

3. With your hands, pull 1/4 of mixture out at a time, forming into thick patties (making four total). Rest patties on a greased pan. Stick in freezer for 15 minutes.

4. If you are camping out, rest patties on aluminum foil on grill outside til warmed through and containing that cool looking grill mark. If making at home, you can pan fry them in a TBSP or two of hot oil of choice in a skillet til warmed through (medium heat and covered between flipping), or bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

5. About five minutes before burgers are complete, heat a skillet to medium-high heat with a 2 tsp of oil of choice. Toss in collards and cook til bright green and a little soft (not too soft-- you don't want them mushy), about 3 minutes, tossing (and charring to taste). Salt and pepper to taste.

6. When burgers are complete, slather one side of the each piece of bread with veganaise/mayonnaise, dribble with your favorite hot sauce. Place the burger down and top with collards, sweet pickles/relish, and sauerkraut.

7. Prepare ahead of time with a napkin. This business is messy.

The final product.

*Mallory likes to prepare her black-eyed peas in a slow cooker ahead of time. If you prefer this method (or have dried peas), place 1 to 1-1/2 c dried black-eyed peas in a slow cooker with Cajun seasoning, garam masala, cinnamon, and a bit of salt or amino acids/tamari and 4 - 6 c water. Cook on low for 8 hours.

**BBQ sauce is delicious. Especially when it's homemade. Mallory likes to make hers with rhubarb, ketchup, and a few other ingredients. If you want her special recipe, feel free to email us. If you don't have any BBQ sauce around, simply replace this ingredient with some ketchup and a little hot sauce and sweetener of choice (molasses or honey is fun!).

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