The Greenest Veggie Burger Starts with This Freezer Staple

March  7, 2018

Sometime in the 1930s, somewhere in the United States, the word hamburger lost its first syllable. By definition, a hamburger is a ground beef patty sandwich, but a burger can be anything it wants. Maybe it’s made out of seafood, say salmon or shrimp. Maybe it’s bean-based or fluffed up with grains. Maybe it’s mostly vegetables, from mushrooms to zucchinis to sweet potatoes.

This freedom is my favorite part. While beef burgers hinge on simplicity—any more than salt and pepper and you’re halfway to meatloaf—veggie burgers know no limits. To veggie burgers and beyond! Premade, frozen brands often advertise products that taste just like meat! But what if your portobello doesn’t want to taste like meat? What if it’s content, even confident, as is? That’s the kind of veggie burger that I want to hang out with.

In Green Burgers, Martin Nordin feels the same way:

When I first started thinking about this book, I was struck by how liberating and creative it is to devise, prepare, and eat green burgers. Whereas a classic meat-based burger is indeed uncompromisingly classic—this is what it looks like, this is how to prepare it, it has to be grilled...no, actually fried...and then there are these accompapniments and nothing else, that’s it—what goes into a green burger is far less restricted. There’s not one classic—you have free rein!

In this free rein, Nordin cooks up white bean burgers with smoked tomatoes and deep-fried sage; chickpea and grilled pepper burgers with dill-dunked cucumber salad; baba ghanoush and borlotti burgers with burrata; and cheesy, minty, bright green pea burgers.

It is easy being green! Photo by Julia Gartland

These vibrant lookers were what caught my eye. Basically, you take green peas—always in my freezer, especially toward the end of winter when I’m pretending that it’s spring—and combine them with caramelized onions and fresh mint, scallions and garlic, lots of bread crumbs. Nordin tops his pea burgers with cream cheese, but I opted for milky ricotta. He also deep-fries mushrooms to pile on top. Instead, I roast baby bellas—much easier, still crunchy and bacony. Not, you know, that the mushrooms want to be bacon. They’re doing fine just as they are.

What’s your go-to veggie burger? Tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Caitlin Gunther
    Caitlin Gunther
  • Luciana
  • Posie (Harwood) Brien
    Posie (Harwood) Brien
  • AntoniaJames
  • Joy Huang | The Cooking of Joy
    Joy Huang | The Cooking of Joy
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Caitlin G. August 22, 2019
This looks amazing.
Luciana May 31, 2018
Looks incredible - trying soon!
Posie (. March 7, 2018
Oh man i am such a fan of anything that makes use of frozen peas. Can’t wait to try this! Sounds so interesting.
AntoniaJames March 7, 2018
That particular green burger holds no appeal (as I don't care, at all, for peas . . . ), but that book, "Green Burgers"? Now that is interesting! ;o)
Joy H. March 7, 2018
That bun, tho.
I need that bun in my life.