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  • 4 cups water ½ cup dry pearl barley
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup peeled, finely diced raw beets
  • ½ cup minced green bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced carrot
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ cup cooked black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce, homemade (see recipe) or store-bought
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2⁄3 to 1 cup old-fashioned or quick oats, ground
  • Canola oil, for cooking
  • 8 burger buns
  • Vegan mayonnaise, onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, or other burger toppings
  • Instructions

    1. Combine the water, barley, and a pinch of salt in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the barley is quite tender. Drain.
    2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, beets, bell pepper, carrot, garlic, and spices and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, mash the black-eyed peas with a fork until pasty. Add the barbecue sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the barley and vegetables. Stir well to combine.
    4. Add ⅔ cup ground oats and mix well. Add more ground oats, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture can be shaped into burgers. At this point, refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour or longer.
    5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using ½ cup of the mixture, form into 8 patties about 3 inches wide and ½ inch thick.
    6. Heat enough canola oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the bottom is blackened and slightly crisp. Turn over and cook the other side for 4 to 5 minutes. Serve on the buns with desired toppings.
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