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Black-Eyed Pea Burgers with Mississippi Comeback Sauce

“The Candy Man makes everything he bakes satisfying and delicious
Now you talk about your childhood wishes, you can even eat the dishes

Growing up, I loved burgers. In fact, when I was a kid, my Dad would take me for breakfast before he drove me to school. He worked nights so for him, this meal wasn’t really breakfast and didn’t necessarily mean breakfast-type food.

While we would usually go to diners and get the usual breakfast foods: eggs, toast, chocolate milk, etc., my absolutely favorite place to go was White Castle. Yes, that’s right, White Castle. When I was a kid, we rarely ate any fast-food or restaurant food. My mother cooked every single day. It was a very rare occasion that we would get any meal from a chain store but when we did (and by we, I mean everyone BUT my mother who refused to eat meat out. She swore we didn’t know what was really in it. Guess she was right many years before we ever heard of pink slime), it wasn’t McDonalds we would visit but White Castle.

I have a lot of fun memories of those breakfasts with my Dad. We would get burgers and chocolate shakes. They had jukeboxes at every table and my Dad would give me lots of dimes (yes, it was a long time ago) to play music. I played the same song over and over and over again: “The Candyman” by Sammy Davis Jr. Looking back, everyone at the restaurant was very tolerant of me and my music choices 🙂

My Dad passed away right after Father’s Day in 1990 and of course, White Castle is in my past since I became vegan but I have to admit I miss it. Maybe I miss the food – it remained my favorite fast-food place as I grew up – and maybe I miss it because some of the nicest memories I have of spending time with my Dad were those burger breakfasts there.

Today my burgers are very different. Now my burgers are homemade, cruelty-free, gluten-free and very healthy.  These burgers are made with black-eyed peas, brown rice and veggies. I topped them with lettuce, tomato and avocado and instead of the usual ketchup, a homemade spicy Mississippi Comeback Sauce for a super-sized, flavor-packed burger!

I think if my Dad were here, he would love my Black-Eyed Pea Burgers with Mississippi Comeback Sauce. We would eat them for breakfast while Sammy Davis Jr. sang “The Candyman” in the background…Happy Father’s Day!

“Oh, who can take tomorrow, dip it in a dream
Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream
The Candy Man, oh the Candy Man can
The Candy Man can ’cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.”

Black-Eyed Pea Burgers


1-15 oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (or 1 ½ cups fresh cooked)

1 Tbs. ground flax mixed with 3 Tbs. water

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 small bell pepper, diced

3 scallions, finely sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbs. fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. dried mustard powder

Salt and pepper to taste

3 dashes hot sauce or to taste

1 tsp. gluten-free, vegan Worcestershire sauce

1/3 – ½ cup chickpea flour

1 Tbs. safflower oil


In a small bowl or cup, mix the ground flax with water and let sit for 5 minutes until it is a gloopy gel. Mash 1 cup of the black-eyed peas with the flax gel in a large bowl. Try to mash them so there are none left intact.

Add the brown rice, bell pepper, scallions, garlic, parsley, spices, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce to the bowl and mix until all the ingredients are well-combined. Add in the flour little by little, mixing well with your hands, until you have a good consistency. You want it dry enough so that the burgers will hold together but not so dry, there is no moisture left at all. Throw in the remaining whole black-eyed peas and gently mix them in so they stay somewhat intact. Do NOT form the patties. Place the entire blob of black-eyed pea burger mix into the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.

When you are ready to cook, remove the mixture from the fridge and make the patties. Divide the mixture into 4 patties. Using a 3 ½” cookie cutter ensures a perfectly formed, dense, thick burger patty.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties until browned, about 6 minutes per side. You may want to flip them carefully several times to ensure that the inside cooks while the outside doesn’t burn. Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings and Comeback Sauce or atop a bed of greens. Enjoy!

Mississippi Comeback Sauce

1/4 cup onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. ketchup

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

1 Tbs. chili sauce, hot sauce or Sriracha, or more to taste

1 Tbsp. vegan, gluten-free Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp prepared yellow mustard

Salt and pepper to taste


Put all ingredients into a food processor and mix until smooth. Refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use. Use as a burger topping or a salad dressing. Yum!

The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.

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12 Responses to Black-Eyed Pea Burgers with Mississippi Comeback Sauce

  1. Kelli L November 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

    Rhea – What’s the secret to getting burgers to stay together. I haven’t tried these yet and would love to. In the past, making a veggie/bean burger mine always seem to fall apart. Just wondered if you have any tips? Thanks.

  2. Shannon July 30, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Thanks Rhea! 🙂 I am looking forward to a vegan Worcestershire recipe from scratch, that would be awesome!

  3. Rhea Parsons July 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Hi Shannon,

    You can sub Worcestershire sauce with a combo of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar or either one. It’s not exact but it’s close. I’m working on a recipe for my own Worcestershire sauce.

  4. Shannon July 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Hey I ran out of the Worcestershire sauce, could I use soy sauce instead? I notice in the kidney bean burgers it says I can use tamari instead? Thanks, I love these recipes!!!!!! 🙂

  5. Rhea Parsons February 6, 2013 at 6:12 am #

    That sounds like a great idea. I love quinoa.

  6. loolai January 23, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    wow, these look REALLY good! i may try subbing 1/2 of the rice for quinoa as a variation ( i try to sneak it in where i can, not a big fan on its own), the sauce looks good, too- something different!

  7. thecrueltyfreereview June 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    I’ve never seen veggie burgers made with black eyed peas, but it sounds awesome!

  8. Rhea Parsons June 14, 2012 at 1:48 am #

    Thank you Skye and veganelder 🙂

  9. veganelder June 13, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    Those look to be really tasty…thank you for the recipe!

  10. Skye June 13, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    These burgers look absolutely amazing! And the sauce…Divine! I’m going to have to try these soon. Thanks Rhea for all your brilliant cooking ideas and recipes. Skye – The Gentle Chef


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