Southern Vegetarian Burgers With Comeback Sauce

©MakeMineLemon - Southern Vegetarian Burger

©MakeMineLemon – Southern Vegetarian Burger

While on the road to magazine purge I ran across Southern Vegetarian Burger. I hate calling anything vegetarian because the minute you label it such we have some that will turn up their nose at just the thought of it.  I thought it was hardy enough to please any palate.

I did not make this easy on myself especially trying to plan to photograph it all.  This should have been 3 posts, but I wanted to show it all at once.  It called for canned black-eyed peas.  I did not use canned, but rather cooked my own.

©MakeMineLemon - Vegetarian Burger Mise En Place

©MakeMineLemon – Vegetarian Burger Mise En Place

Mix and pat out the burgers and chill in the refrigerator while working on the rest of the meal.  It helps to firm up the burgers.  It is not necessary, but I used my English Muffin rings.

©MakeMineLemon - Vegetarian Burger

©MakeMineLemon – Vegetarian Burger

The recipe also called for collard greens and tomatoes to gild the burger.  I took it as a suggestion.

Wilted Kale With TomatoesI think collards would be nice if you have time. They do take a long time to cook.  Since I have developed a fondness for chard and kale I decided to go in that direction.  Whichever was the freshest at the market was what I was going with.  I did not cook my kale.  I removed the ribs and did a really really fine chiffonade.  I poured on the dressing and let the vinaigrette break down the kale.

©MakeMineLemon - Vegetarian Burger With Comeback Sauce

©MakeMineLemon – Vegetarian Burger With Comeback Sauce

The special sauce is called Comeback Sauce.  I had never heard of Comeback Sauce.  When I googled it apparently it was pretty popular in the South in the 1930’s and is making a comeback. I don’t know if that is a play on words like “y’all come back now.” or they know if you have this you will want an invitation to comeback.  For the Comeback Sauce instead of Tabasco I used Frank’s and for the Chili Sauce I used Sriracha.   I am not advocating you make your own mayo, unless you just want to.

©MakeMIneLemon - Soy-Free Vegenaise

©MakeMineLemon – Soy-Free Vegenaise













I used Vegenaise.  I do not receive any compensation for this.  I only suggest that this is a really excellent substitution for the No-Soy people like me.  I just noticed it is heart healthy also.

The burger is served over a piece of cornbread.  Actually the recipe suggests using a box of Jiffy Mix, but I subbed polenta. I really like polenta.  A while back my boss took the office to a very ritzy restaurant for some celebration.  I ordered an entree that came with polenta.  One of the secretaries setting across from me ordered it also.  She said she had never tasted polenta before.  When our meal arrived and she tasted it she said loudly, “Well this is just mush!”  She was furious with me.  I think she thought polenta/mush was peasant food, and here she was in a posh restaurant and she was eating mush.  Everyone just laughed.  Everyone but me.  I was cringing.  I had not suggested she follow my lead, and I was not sure why she held me responsible.  So here is a warning that this recipe called for cornbread or Jiffy Mix, but I thought it sounded better with polenta – that would be mush with Parmesan.  I thought it was a great alternative; so don’t be mad, if you prefer cornbread it is what the recipe called for.    You’re the boss.

I have taken license with this recipe before I even gave it a trial run.  I was quiet pleased.    When I make this again I will make the Comeback Sauce and cook my beans the day before.  Cuisine said the sauce holds in the refrigerator for a couple weeks.  I do not think Vegenaise would have that long a shelf-life.

Just as a follow-up, this is pretty good without the cornbread or the polenta, but just in a pool of Comeback Sauce and topped with kale salad.

So thank you Cuisine At Home.  Thank you Bandwith for the Worcestershire Sauce recipe because the sauce ask for just a little of it.  Oh, and Betty, I am so sorry you ordered polenta and you were disappointed, but I love it and I don’t think it needs an apology.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Southern Vegetarian Burgers With Comeback Sauce
Recipe type: Vegetarian
  • Sauté
  • ¼ cup dice red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup slice scallion (green only)
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic – I did not use this much – your choice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme – I used dry, but use fresh if you have it.
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Mash
  • 1 can of drained black-eyed peas (15 oz. fresh cooked), divided
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 2-3 dashes of Tabasco sauce – I used Franks
  • Prepare cornbread or polenta
  • Comeback Sauce
  • ¼ cup diced onion - I used the white of the scallion.
  • 1 tablespoon garlic – I used less
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise – I use No-Soy Vegenaise
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon chili sauce – I used Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • Combine in foodprocessor until smooth
  • Adjust seasoning and add more Tabasco or Franks.
  • For Greens and Tomatoes
  • ½ cup sliced onions – I used shallots
  • ¼ redpepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cups chiffonade greens – I used kale
  • ½ cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. For the burgers:
  2. Sauté bell pepper, scallion greens, garlic and thyme in 1 tablespoon of olive oil about 3 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Mash one cup of beans with egg white until smooth.
  5. Stir in cornmeal, mustard, Tabasco, addition cup of whole peas, and sautéed mixture.
  6. Form patties, and chill at least 10 minutes – up to 30 minutes.
  7. Sauté patties in remaining oil over high heat for 5 minutes each side.
  8. For the Comeback Sauce: combine ingredient and process until smooth.
  9. Adjust seasoning.
  10. Sautéed Greens with Tomatoes:
  11. For collards – cook in vegetable broth until tender.
  12. Add remaining ingredients
  13. If you are using kale – finely chiffonade add vinaigrette. The vinaigrette will break down the kale.
  14. Place burgers on cornbread or polenta.
  15. Nap with Comeback Sauce; top with greens and tomatoes.
  16. Enjoy.


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34 Responses to Southern Vegetarian Burgers With Comeback Sauce

  1. Wow! With black-eyed peas, cornbread and collards, you could serve this on New Year’s Day and still get in all the requirements for luck for they year! lol I love polenta but was not introduced to it until I lived in France, where it served as a sort of cornbread substitute for me. Sometimes you just have to take into consideration that not everyone is adventurous or appreciative of new tastes when it comes to cuisine…sad, but true…like people who go to Paris and eat at McDonald’s. :-( And certainly not your fault! Sounds like a great dish!…hugs…Debbie

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      Thanks Debbie. I was thinking the same thing when I was making this. I knew I would like all the flavors, but was not sure if when I put my spin on it, but it is really delicious. The raw kale and the Comeback Sauce brightened it up. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Polenta is basically mush, I guess, but so what? It’s awfully good no matter what you all it. I mean a souffle is basically flour and eggs! And no one turns up their nose at that. Anyway, nice burger. Good post – thanks.

  3. Michelle says:

    This burger hits all the right southern notes. I like polenta (and grits) and think both are great bases for many things–your burger included.

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      Thanks so much Michelle. Any combination of polenta/grits, black-eyed peas, and greens is a winner to me. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  4. I think this is a very fun and interesting burger. I found out this summer when we were shooting some burgers that they are supposedly one of the most difficult things to photoraph. You did a great job, the picture with the sauce is so enticing!

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      Chris, this burger is delicious with this sauce. I have several recipes that taste good, but I have not been successful with the photography and I am afraid no one will trust me if I post. I just keep trying.

      You and Scott are such a great pair. Did I not tell you a long time ago the photos were magazine worthy? Even my family is rooting for you guys.

  5. Kitty says:

    Hi Madonna,
    What a good looking veggie burger you’ve shared with us. The sauce sounds delicious and I’ve never heard of Come Back Sauce. I think the polenta sounds perfect for the dish and I’m like you, I love it.

  6. heidi says:

    Mmmm, this sounds so wonderful. And I love the veganese. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

    Heidi’s Wanderings

  7. Wow, it doesn’t get more southern than black-eyed peas and cornbread. You are talking this ole Southern girl’s language. You really went all out when you cooked your own beans. Great meal and I agree with you, labeling it vegetarian can turn “certain” people off and I know one of them :)

    Have a great weekend.

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      I was hoping no one would take offense over the kale as opposed to collards. As for cooking my own beans that is a whole other story. I started to buy canned, but I could not find any. Then I tried to buy dry and the last bag on the shelf had a hole in it. The manager said come back tomorrow when they would be restocked. Turns out to be a blessing – they were so fresh that they cooked in no time. My biggest problem was working out the photography of each step. Oh, and Sam if you can find a way to add some ham I would not be adverse – you know for the meat lovers, ahem….

  8. Miz Helen says:

    Did you say Black Eyed Peas, yes I will just love this burger and that sauce looks heavenly, I can sure see why it is called come back! Hope you are having a great day and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      This is a perfect meatless day meal and the combination just makes it. I loved the sauce and thought its name was great.

  9. I love kale in soup but have never tried it raw in a salad. Your whole meal looks delicious. I can think of many ways to use the Comeback Sauce. I have seen recipes for it but have never tried it. Lovely meal.

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      I got the idea of using raw kale from Aarti Sequeira from Foodnetwork. She makes it with mango. I did cut it really really fine and removed the ribs. The Comeback Sauce apparently is famous in the South and is new to me.

  10. Monique says:

    How adventurous of you..The burgers look delih in their mall circular molds..

  11. Jann Olson says:

    Talk about southern hospitality. This is such an unusual dish that sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  12. Jenna says:

    I love Comeback Sauce!! The story I know is that once you taste it you’ll come back for more! Very cool vegetarian spin on the traditional sauced and dressed hamburger~ I love your kale salad also~what a healthy meal!

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      Oh Jenna, I am so happy you commented on the Comeback Sauce. I have been very curious about it. I think I remember tasting it once when I was in the South, but my memory is fuzzy. I remember tasting it, but not where – I think it was on a hamburger.

  13. Yes I agree, the title is not something I would be drawn to but these look fabulous.

    Wonderful to have you at Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      I know some people are reticent about vegetarian, but if you will eat beans you will like this, and polenta makes everything taste better.

  14. Pam says:

    There’s nothing quite like Southern food and this all sounds delicious to me. Comeback sauce is new to me and I’ll definitely give it a go! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      I had not heard of the sauce before either, but I think you could put it on anything and brighten the flavor. I hope you will give it a try.

  15. LOL!!! I was cracking up as I read this post!!! I love your substitutions and I think the burger would be terrific over polenta (hey, if it’s good enough for Mario Battali I don’t know what Betty’s issue with it was!). Have bookmarked this recipe for my vegetarian class!!

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      I have to tell you I was not laughing. I have no idea why she was mad at me. I love polenta. I thought this dish turned out well and the soy-free vegenaise I thought was better than Best or Hellemans. I hope your class likes it and if you make it and make any substitution let me know if I can improve it.

  16. Oh this all looks sooooooooooooooo good. Don’t forget to link up to my Holiday Baking Party on the 20th. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, marty

  17. Winnie says:

    I’m a vegetarian and this is sooooooooo perfect for me :)
    You’ve got me hungry now, and I’m craving one of these burgers!!

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      I hope you will give it a try. It hits all the taste buds. If you make it I hope you will let me know. Thanks for visiting.

  18. Hi Madonna! I have a vegetarian friend who is going to love this recipe! Heck I’m not vegetarian and I have one of these burgers! Thank You so much for sharing! I’m pinning and will let my friend know to head this way and check it out for herself! YUMMO! have an awesome weekend!

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      I am always reluctant to label anything vegetarian because people tend to think you want them to never have meat again. I just felt that this is a hardy meal if you want to have a meatless meal. I hope you and your friends give it a try.

  19. I’m not a vegetarian but sometimes I crave just a great veggie meal for dinner and this looks perfect!

    • Ms. Lemon says:

      Thanks Pamela. Yes, I thought it was a perfect meatless meal. I am not trying to convert myself or anyone else, but this was pretty satisfying.

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