Hoppin’ John Black-Eyed Pea Butter

Photograph by Justin Fox Burks

As one of Memphis’s best known food photographers, Justin Fox Burks produces the popular Chubby Vegetarian blog with his wife, Amy Lawrence. They are also authors of “The Southern Vegetarian: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table” (Thomas Nelson), a collection of their healthy, inspired takes on traditional dishes. At the Association of Food Journalists conference held in Memphis in early September, Burks collaborated with several prominent local chefs to represent the healthier side of the city. This hummus-like spread, featured in his book, awaited us at the table and made a big impression on diners.  –Susan Puckett


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups prepared black-eyed peas (or 1 can drained)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon tahini
1/2 teaspoon hickory-smoked sea salt (see note)
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper


In a medium pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil, garlic, coriander, and cumin. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the garlic has softened. Add the contents of the pan to the work bowl of your food processor along with the black-eyed peas, hot sauce, lemon juice, tahini, smoked sea salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Serve with toasted baguette or pita chips.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Note: Smoked sea salt is available at Whole Foods Market and specialty stores, but since I didn’t have any, I used regular sea salt and added 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika. It was delicious.