Hey!Hunger Is Making Plant-Based Alternatives More Approachable Than Ever


Have you ever eaten something so delicious, you still think about it years later? If you ask Shireen Khera, the Fairfax-based founder of Hey!Hunger, the answer is a resounding yes.

“Food has always been one of the things that centered me,” she says, recalling memories that revolve around tasty treats and childhood days in India, where she helped her family prepare dinner parties for dozens of guests. But according to her parents, becoming a chef wasn’t an option. Instead, she earned an engineering degree and developed a successful career as a Fortune 500 executive.

Yet food remained her passion and it finally crossed over into her professional life during the pandemic, when she was working 16-hour days and needed a fast fix for healthy, nutritious sustenance. While she was a fan of veggie burgers, she didn’t like most of the options she encountered, finding them highly processed, with no protein, no taste and unappealing texture. After much experimentation, she created what she’d been looking for in the form of plant-based patties she dubbed Nutburgers. And so Hey!Hunger was born.

Handmade, organic and the prime definition of superfood, these patties are soy-, gluten-, dairy-and egg-free. They’re also low in sodium, high in fiber and made of entirely plant-based protein. The combinations Khera’s come up with are thoughtfully crafted: “The way every patty is put together is from how I or my family has thought about food, which is every ingredient is taught to us by the impact it has on our bodies,” she says. Khera refers to her patties as Ayurveda-inspired. Like medicine, this food fuels your body; unlike medicine, it actually tastes good.

The nutrient-rich Nutburgers come in four flavors: roasted beet and walnut; roasted carrots and almonds; spinach and pistachio; and French lentil and walnut. The herbs and spices that make up the rest of the ingredient lists do more than just boost flavor; garlic, for example, is high in antioxidants and can lower cholesterol. The patties are a quick, accessible way to get your vegetables, protein and minerals. And the feel-good factor goes beyond the physical; a portion of the earnings from Hey!Hunger’s sales goes back to the community to help fight food insecurity.

You might’ve found Hey!Hunger at the Marin Country Mart and San Rafael Civic Center farmers markets, but Khera’s adding Fairfax Market to her roster, too. Finding her niche in a healthy region like Marin hasn’t been hard, but it can take some people a bit of time to warm up to the idea of her healthier alternatives.

“There’s a whole genre of people who say, ‘I’m not vegetarian, this is not for me.’ So, you have to help them understand that you don’t have to be vegetarian to eat vegetables,” she says. “It doesn’t mean it’s not for you, it’s just in a different form.”


Hey!Hunger founder Shireen Khera
Shireen Khera (Photo by Amy Thompson Photography)