Summer starts on June 21st! In honor of all the BBQing, sprinkler-hopping, and ice cream truck-chasing to come, we give you Hello, Summer, a picnic basket full of easy-breezy recipes and tips to help you make the most of every minute this season.
We found your new favorite burger. It’s easier on the wallet than beef and heartier than veggie. It’s everything you wanted and nothing you expected. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… A half-veggie, half-meat burger!
I stumbled upon the idea in Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown, a cookbook written for those with limited income, specifically a $4/day food stamp budget. She writes:
When a reader named Quinn suggested a recipe that used both lentils and meat, I started thinking about how veggie burgers and beef burgers each have their own strengths. Why not combine the two ideas to create a burger with meaty flavor but the lean protein and low cost of lentils?
Brown’s recipe features those ingredients, plus finely chopped bell pepper and an optional egg. But the possibilities are endless:
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“I have tried lots of combinations!” she told me. “Ground pork and lentils with Moroccan spices. Chorizo and black beans. My current favorite is a half chickpeas/half beef or lamb with lots of herbs. It’s kinda like a falafel-inspired meatball.”
WE STILL LOVE YOU, ALL-BEEF BURGERS!
While meat burgers are all about the toppings—cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, secret sauce, you name it—half-veggie burgers let you get creative with the patties themselves. And they stretch an expensive protein to boot.
“So many people are looking for more veggie-centric meals but still wanting protein and at the same time looking for something inexpensive,” Brown said. “This ticks all those boxes.”
Sure does. Which is why, when I started developing my own, I somehow ended up with three. Oops. When you start brainstorming all the possibilities, it’s sort of hard to stop.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.