Vegetarian Southern Johnny Squares

Total Time
1hr 5mins
Prep 35 mins
Cook 30 mins

A recipe from a May 1985 back issue of Better Homes & Gardens, that I made vegetarian. These could do great as a mini-casserole or an appetizer! According to the factoid written with the recipe, these are a popular treat on New Year's. The only thing I changed in this recipe is to use a small 8-oz can pinto or roman beans (1/4 dry cup if not using canned). This was to replace 3/4 cup chopped cubed ham, meat lovers feel free to use the original. It also called for 1 cup cooked brown rice which translates to 1/3 cup dry rice.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Cook the rice in the vegetable broth and 2 tbsp butter, cover and simmer until al dente, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. While the rice is cooking, cook pepper and onion in the remaining 2 tbsp butter until tender in a heavy-bottom saucepan, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the flour, chili powder, and cumin.
  4. Stir the milk, cook and stir until bubbly then remove from heat.
  5. Stir in 3/4 cup shredded cheese and the eggs, black eye peas, the ham or ham substitute (pinto beans here), and rice. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F Grease an 8x8x2 baking pan with butter-flavor cooking spray, then pour in the mixture from the saucepan. Pat it down evenly.
  7. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, and bake for 30 minutes on the center rack or until set. Cut into sixths.
Most Helpful

4 5

These were really good. Jalapenos would be great in them, I added some salsa at the table. I was wishing I had yogurt or sour cream too for topping. For our tastes, I added less cheese/butter and more onion/red pepper, and it worked well. I also got the idea to top it with bacon bits from another review, and that was really good. This does not serve 6 though, closer to 2 people if you serve it with sides.

5 5

Wow, this is really yummy stuff! I expected it to be good, but to be honest it exceeded my expectations! Five stars for the way the flavors (the butter, the spices, the cheese, the peas...mmm) blended beautifully, but more importantly five stars for this being such a unique veg meal! This is NOT your run-of-the-mill rice and beans meal. I highly recommend adding some fakin' bacon or at least a few drops of liquid smoke instead of the pinto beans; as dolliegyrl said the smokey flavor really took this over the top. My only complaint is that my rice was probably a little too al dente and didn't get all the way softened, but it wasn't bad and I will just pay more attention next time. Also, I think this needs to sit for 5 minutes or so after coming out of the oven so the egg can finish setting. Served with fried okra and cornbread, this was a total winner for us. Thanks so much for posting! Recipenapped for Veg*n Swap #20!

5 5

We loved this dish! Its really good and filling to. I think the cheese adds a whole other level of flavor to it. Instead of pinto beans I used soy ham lunchmeat diced up. It really added a smokey flavor to it and tasted authentic. You guys got to try this!