Lucky us: The greenest veggie burgers are built around a freezer staple. If you can't find fresh, whole-milk ricotta, substitute a melty sliced cheese, like provolone or Muenster. You can use dried panko or fresh bread crumbs—whatever you have on hand. This recipe was inspired by and adapted from "Green Burgers" by Martin Nordin. —Emma Laperruque
Make the pea burgers. Add a thin film of olive oil to a skillet and set over medium heat. Add the onion. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until amber. Deglaze with water and lower heat as needed if they start to stick. Transfer the sautéed onions to a food processor. Add the bread crumbs, mint, garlic, Asiago, and egg. Pulse until smooth. Add the peas and salt and pulse until just cohesive—sort of chunky is good! Stir in the scallions by hand. Form into 4 patties. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably longer.
Make the mushroom “bacon.” Preheat the oven to 350° F. Combine the mushrooms and the 3 tablespoons olive oil on a sheet pan. Season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and toss. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until deeply browned and crisp. (They’ll continue to crisp as they cool.) Spread onto a paper towel–lined plate. (These can be made a couple hours in advance.)
When you’re ready to eat, add a 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick layer of canola oil to a large skillet, preferably nonstick. Set over medium heat. When the oil is shimmery, gingerly add the patties. Fry for about 3 minutes per side, until deeply browned. Transfer the patties to a plate and let rest for about 10 minutes—this helps them gather themselves before being eaten. Top with a big smear of ricotta, some mushrooms, and a few mint leaves. Sandwich between a bun.
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.