Give Peas a Chance! High-Protein Green Pea Burgers

If you were one of those kids who secretly pushed the mushy green peas off your plate, it’s time to bring them back in a whole new way!

Fresh or pre-frozen, flavorful green peas are loaded with nutrients and offer health benefits way beyond your childhood dreams.

Green Pea Health

Did you know that a ¾-cup serving of cooked green peas contains only 100 calories, yet provides more protein than a tablespoon of peanut butter or ¼-cup serving of almonds?

One cup of frozen green peas has 134 calories, less than 1 gram of fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of dietary fiber and 7 grams of protein. It provides 22 percent daily value for vitamin A, 40 percent daily value for vitamin C, 11 percent daily value for iron and 3 percent daily value for calcium. Peas are also brimming with vitamins B-1 (thiamin), B-6 and a huge dose of osteoporosis-fighting vitamin K.

Green peas also contain an anticancer phytochemical called coumestrol. In a Mexico City study, a variety of phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables and legumes were shown to offer protection against stomach cancer when consumed regularly. The study suggests that a daily intake of 2 milligrams of coumestrol is protective. One cup of green peas contains about 10 milligrams of coumestrol.

Green peas are high in soluble fiber, which is helpful for controlling blood sugar and decreasing cholesterol.

Bonus Green Pea Trivia

  • Green pea benefits go beyond people. Green pea plants are nitrogen-fixing crops, meaning they are beneficial for the Earth, too. With bacteria from the soil, green peas convert nitrogen gas from the air to useable forms in the soil, reducing the need for adding fertilizers to the soil.
  • Ancient Egyptians buried green peas in their tombs for use in the afterlife.
  • China, India, United States, France and Egypt are the top green pea-producing countries. India is the world’s largest pea importer due to its high consumption.

High-Protein Green Pea Burgers

Recipe by Layne Lieberman, MS, RD, CDN

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shelled green peas (from 1 pound in pods); or 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ cup canned organic cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Juice from 1 small lime
  • 1 large egg, gently whisked
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs*
  • Sea salt, optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups mixed baby greens
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Steam fresh peas for 3 to 4 minutes until bright green and slightly tender. Drain and cool. (If using frozen peas, skip this step.)
  2. Transfer peas into a large mixing bowl and add beans. Using a potato masher, mash beans and peas into a coarse texture.
  3. Stir in onion, parsley, lime, egg and breadcrumbs. Season with salt (if using) and pepper, to taste.
  4. Form into 4 patties, each about ¾-inch thick.
  5. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook patties until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes per side.
  6. Serve over baby greens with tomato slices. Or, serve as a sandwich on a whole-grain buns. Serves 4.

Cooking Notes

  • Make your own breadcrumbs by toasting 3 slices sourdough bread. Let the toast cool, place in a bag and crushed with bottom of a jar.
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Layne Lieberman
Layne Lieberman, MS, RDN, CDN, LDN is an internationally recognized registered dietitian-nutritionist, culinary travel leader, writer and entrepreneur. She is author of the award-winning lifestyle cookbook, Beyond the Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets of the Super-Healthy. Visit her website, World RD, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.


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