Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Sunshine Burger

By Carly Price, June 22, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Carly Price

We love our producers, suppliers and vendors and we think most of them have some pretty interesting stories behind their products too. We’re sharing some of our favorites here in an ongoing series.

In the early 1980s, Carol Debberman began delivering veggie burgers by taxi to New York City restaurants. It was the best way to keep up with fast-growing demand as word spread about her homemade Sunshine Burgers.

Although she found herself on the leading edge of a national food trend, this farm girl was an accidental entrepreneur. She never dreamed her recipe would become one of the first packaged veggie burgers and would someday be sold nationwide. Nutrition, not business, was the main thing on Carol’s mind when she created the flavor- and protein-packed vegan patties in her New Jersey farmhouse kitchen to please her five vegetarian kids.

Sunshine Burgers are made with a deliciously satisfying blend of ground sunflower seeds, Lundberg Family Farms brown rice and other whole-food ingredients. They are Non-GMO Project verified, made without soy or wheat, and baked and pre-browned (not fried). Instead of trying to mimic meat, they celebrate the true, satisfying flavors and hearty texture of simple vegetarian ingredients.  

"This is a whole-food product and always has been,” Carol explains. “Our burgers taste like what they're made of. We believe in minimal processing and using ingredients in their natural state."

What are your favorite vegan toppings for burgers? Let us know by leaving a comment!  




Hallie B says ...
We love sunshine burgers are our house - I feed them to my toddler who asks for them at least once a week! And I was so happy to find something that was wheat and soy free!
06/22/2012 1:57:29 PM CDT
Michael Garcia says ...
Fried onions, vegan bbq, avocado, a fried waffle fry, lil ketchup, lil vegan mayo, lil fresh mustard. Now under the "meat", a romaine leaf... Not to big, lil bit of something sweet like rasberry dressing, or maple syrup. 3 thinly cut slices of tomato. gluten free vegan bun.... One that tastes good.
06/25/2012 11:05:46 PM CDT
Kathryn says ...
We love Sunshine Burgers with just about everything we've ever tried on them. My favorite way to enjoy them in crumbled into a warm Enjoy Life brown rice tortilla and fill it with shredded veggies and wedges of avocado and a bit of an olive oil and apple cider vinegar salad dress. Nothing better!
06/27/2012 2:45:26 PM CDT
Denise B says ...
I was overjoyed to find these veggie burgers a few years ago when I went gluten/soy free. I have many variations of what I like on them - but avocado is the ingredient that is always on top! I like them in the brown rice tortilla with a little mustard on the sides, sauteed veggies and of course avocado!
06/27/2012 4:47:28 PM CDT
Maxine says ...
We always have sunshine burgers in the freezer.... always!!Wonderful company and owner. The best veggie burgers around. We use vegan mayo, avocado, sauerkraut from the farmers market.. lettuce on Ezekiel bread or buns. YUM
06/27/2012 5:02:31 PM CDT
Linda H says ...
The southwestern flavor is my favorite.The stores here have stopped carrying Sunshine burgers,I will have to stock up at Whole Foods soon.g
06/27/2012 5:06:34 PM CDT
kathey says ...
I love the breakfast burger! With tempeh bacon, vegan butter and maple on organic english muffin is best breakfast sandwich ever!!!
06/27/2012 6:45:31 PM CDT
Aliza says ...
A wonderful article, thank you. I look forward to trying Sunshine Burgers, and to learning more about Carol Debberman. Thank you for this series -- I love it. _ At the moment I'm thinking the toppings would include sauteed onions, cremini mushrooms from Monterey, some roasted red peppers, sliced local tomatoes and a handful of sprouts. For starters...:) If it wasn't vegan, I would also add cheese, for my own preference. Yum, time to think about dinner!
06/27/2012 7:10:45 PM CDT
Melinda D. says ...
We look forward to trying them. My meat and potatoes some who would never eat a veggie burger, just recently said to me I want to get veggie burgers in the house. One brand down that he doesn't like. We are trying the next brand this week. I wonder what he will pick and if he will like it.
06/27/2012 8:18:47 PM CDT
Linda Dale says ...
Sunshine burgers are the best veggie burgers out there. The southwest flavor is my favorite, too. Unfortunately, the Whole Foods closest to me no longer carries them. My favorite toppings for the southwest flavor are avocado mashed with some salsa, lettuce, and tomato, OR sliced avocado with sauteed mushrooms and onion.
06/27/2012 9:02:13 PM CDT
Marjorie says ...
I have never tried these burgers but they sound wonderful. I will be in Sacramento this weekend and had planned to shop at Whole Foods and now will pick up a package or two. I think i will have mine with avocado spread sprouts and mango salsa. Just for fun and the spirit of summer feasting.
06/27/2012 10:32:19 PM CDT
Lacey says ...
I would eat these burgers everyday if I could afford them.
06/28/2012 12:06:18 AM CDT
Kathie says ...
Grilled onions and grilled mushrooms and for a change once in a while, some Amy's chili to make a sloppy but good burger!
06/28/2012 1:51:33 AM CDT
connie clary says ...
Wow, I'll look for those! I love veggie burgers and would love to try them. I drive a hour to get to a whole foods grocery, but we bring ice packs in the summer to take home good food like this in the summer. Excited to try them!
06/28/2012 8:49:07 AM CDT
nik says ...
Depends on the burger...I do love fresh crunchy veggie slices of all kinds just as a general rule. Sometimes mushrooms, spinach, olives, a bit of vegan cheese, or to add some kick, cayenne pepper or curry powder...or Bragg's or sriracha. All depends on how creative I'm feeling and how big the burger is...the bigger the burger, the more goodstuff you can pile on. ;)
07/01/2012 4:53:46 PM CDT
Lisa says ...
Portabella mushroom slices lightly sauteed makes a veggie burger even more grand! And spinach added = yummmm. I am not familiar with the Sunshine Veggie burger.. but thank you for the heads up and it is added to my grocery list!
07/02/2012 11:21:23 PM CDT
Dorothy says ...
Black beans, tomatoes, chili peppers, garlic clove, shredded carrot, parsley, oats, and ground sunflower seeds, lemon zest, top with a tomato slice & romaine leaf. Fabulous!!
07/03/2012 9:11:24 AM CDT
Marty & Ann says ...
Remember you from Ellenvillle - started eating your burgers in 1985. Glad to see you're still in business. All the best.
11/24/2012 10:45:56 AM CST
Lisa says ...
I am so happy to finally find this product., I am going to whold foods tomorrow to get them. I cant have soy due to hormone fed cancer and I want a veggie burger and other meat options. Thank you
01/15/2013 6:37:10 PM CST