Cow Pea Hemp Burgers

There had been two ingredients sitting in our pantry for many weeks, demanding my attention: cow peas and crushed hemp seeds. Couple of days ago I finally made some burgers using both the peas and the seeds. Cow peas are brownish red, but otherwise they look just like black-eyed peas. They are actually the same species as black-eyed peas, and they taste very similar to each other. Hemp seeds I had never tried before, but when I finally opened the package of crushed seeds and tasted them, I was very positively surprised. They have a nice, mild taste. Anni thinks it’s a very sophisticated flavor, and I agree!

We thought that the burgers turned out really well. The Indian-style spices, the earthy flavor of the cow peas and the delicate taste of the hemp seeds made a delectable combination. The burgers were served with a side of potato wedges, garlic yogurt sauce and some lettuce.

There are many reasons to use hemp seeds. First of all, they are a complete protein source, just like soy bean and quinoa. Also, unlike soy beans, hemp can be cultivated in Finland too. After making this dish, I realized there’s a third reason as well: Its mild, easily combinable taste makes it a great ingredient in plant-based cuisine.

This is what I used:

  • 500 g boiled or canned cowpeas, mashed (about 1 cup or 2,5 dl of dried cowpeas)
  • 1 dl ground hemp seeds
  • 3 tablespoons gluten flour
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander
  • 1 fresh chili, minced (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • olive oil for brushing

First I set the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. I heated the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and fried the onion until translucent. Then I lowered the heat, added the garlic, turmeric, cumin, and coriander, and stirred them into an oily paste. I continued to fry and stir for maybe a minute more, and removed the paste from the heat.

Next I simply combined all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, added the paste from the frying pan, and kneaded the mix with my hand for a minute or two, until a delicate dough was formed. Now I spread some baking parchment on a baking sheet, and rolled eight balls from the dough, which I proceeded to tap between my palms into burgers.

I placed the burgers on the baking parchment, and brushed them with olive oil on both sides. I baked them in the oven for 30 minutes, 15 minutes on both sides. Before flipping them over, I brushed them with olive oil again. Together with the burgers I baked some potato wedges on a separate baking sheet, the burgers on the upper rack, and the potatoes on the lower rack.


  1. Posted October 10, 2008 at 17:04 | Permalink

    I was kinda puzzled when I saw the title of the post…I’ve never heard of cow peas! They sound divine though and your burgers look amazing =)

  2. lars eirik
    Posted October 11, 2008 at 20:25 | Permalink

    Made this today, fucking great! I loved it, first time i used hemp seeds too :D

  3. Posted October 12, 2008 at 21:32 | Permalink

    These sound delish! I love hemp seeds but always dont know what to do with them besides topping bread with it. Great recipe!

  4. Heikki
    Posted October 13, 2008 at 10:52 | Permalink

    Shelby, I just recently stumbled upon cow peas in one of our local oriental foodstores, hadn’t heard of them either before.

    Lars Eirik, I’m really glad you liked the burgers! I’m already thinking of making them again too.

    Nina, yeah, I’ve been thinking of ways to use hemp seeds too. At least this first try was a success, I think.

  5. Posted October 13, 2008 at 13:03 | Permalink

    Hey hey!! It’s my first comment on your blog!! Oh,HOW I like it!! The design is SO amazing and the recipes….DIVINE inspirations!! You guys REALLY make a GREAT JOB with this!! Thx YOU SOO much!!

    I’ve been to Finnland once, five years ago… I remember it was SUCH an amzing experience, I enjoyed the untouched nature there, everything was so different from the other parts of our continent-Europe..(yeah,I’m from Poland!!) well…I’d LOVE to visit this astonishing coutry again one day…my dream,really, it was the best holiday I’ve had so far..!! :))

    Another thing!! You’ve got such an amazzzing product there in Finn!!!! THE OAT YOGHURTS!! I’ve never tried it but heard some great opinions/reviews for those…!! Have you ever eaten them?? OMG,I’d LOVE to try !! :))

    I’ve just started my own blog…I’m such a new-bie in the blogging world!! I’d be SOO HAPPY to see a comment from you !! Pls visit me on

    Can’t wait!! :))
    Have a great day so far!!

  6. Posted October 14, 2008 at 13:29 | Permalink

    I haven’t made burgers in a while and these look great. Was your crushed hemp seed shelled?

  7. Heikki
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 21:24 | Permalink

    Hi Agnes and thanks for your kind words. Yeah, you’re right, oat yogurt rules! We eat it all the time.

    Mihl, I think the seeds weren’t shelled, but there wasn’t any information on the package about that. There’s only one variety of crushed hemp seeds available here, so I’m not 100% sure!

  8. Posted October 15, 2008 at 21:55 | Permalink

    Everything about this meal looks great! I’ve never heard of cow peas – but I love that name!

  9. Posted April 12, 2009 at 20:31 | Permalink

    I had never heard of cow peas but really wanted to try this recipe! I did a little research and found out that cow peas are just black eyed peas lol So for those of you who couldn’t find anything called cow peas, look for black-eyed peas instead ^.^
    Love your blog and recipes, keep them coming!

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