Taste Test: 10 Veggie Burgers for Grilling
Elizabeth Hait, AOLFor many people "grilling" means burgers, hot dogs, steaks, kabobs, and chicken--all meat. But what about vegetarians? Everyone's bound to have a vegetarian or two at their backyard barbecue and it wouldn't be nice to serve them just salad. A box of veggie burgers is good to have on standby in the freezer for your non-meat-eating friends. Here at KitchenDaily we decided to put a number of brands to the taste-test to find out which burgers do best on the grill, which taste most like meat, and which are the most veggie-like.
For our testing criteria, we noted taste/flavor, texture, aroma, and burger-likeness. We used a George Foreman grill for testing (a barbecue would not have been feasible in the office). We recommend spraying or brushing the burgers with oil prior to grilling to keep them from sticking and drying out. The fake-meat burgers (Amy's All-American, Boca All-American, Moophrey, and Quorn) all tried their best to be meat-like. Still, none of them could replicate the real thing even with smoke flavoring. Other burgers didn't try to be meat-like at all, but were packed with vegetables (Dr. Praeger's California, Trader Joe's Masala, Little Green Black Bean). We liked these for the fact that it was easy to see the patties contained vegetables. Sunshine, Asherah's, and Gardenburger Original were our least favorites. Their textures were unpleasant and flavors were unremarkable.
We rank the burgers from favorite to least favorite. (Information is included on dietary constraints and allergies as well as nutrition facts per serving. All brands contained 4 burgers except for the two noted.) Check out the burgers below to see what our taste-testers thought.
These burgers contain non-GMO soy protein, reduced-fat cheddar, wheat gluten, but NO vegetables. They had a chunky texture and a burger-like flavor and aroma. Our testers thought the taste was the closest a meatless burger could get to the real thing. Among all burgers tested, though, these had the highest sodium levels.
Nutrition: Calories 140, Fat 5 g, Saturated fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Sodium 500 g, Carbohydrates 9 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 15 g.
These cheeseburgers are made from mycoprotein (mushrooms), egg white, wheat protein, palm oil, cheddar, yeast, and smoke flavoring. The burgers were nice and moist, mushroomy and cheesy in flavor and aroma, and burger-like all around. Some tasters chose these as their favorite. Interestingly, the burgers are not wrapped in plastic.
Nutrition: Calories 100, Fat 4 g, Saturated fat 1 g, Cholesterol 20 mg, Sodium 370 mg, Carbohydrates 8 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 11 g.
These burgers are made from potatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, bell peppers and spices. We found the texture to be tender with chunks of potato. Flavor and aroma was definitely Indian, and reminded tasters of samosas or Indian-spiced latkes.
Vegan, No soy.
Nutrition: Calories 120, Fat 8 g, Saturated fat 1 g, Sodium 360 mg, Carbohydrates 12 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 2 g.
These vegan burgers contain organic soy protein, wheat gluten, but NO vegetables. The texture was moist and chewy and had a beef-like flavor. The aroma was yeasty and somewhat burger-like. Testers deemed it altogether burger-like. Among all burgers tested, these had the most protein.
Kosher, Egg free.
Nutrition: Calories 110, Fat 1.5 g, Saturated fat 0.5 g, Sodium 330 g, Carbohydrates 10 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 16 g.
These American-style burgers contain soy protein, organic vegetables, wheat gluten, bulgur wheat, walnuts, oats, and smoke flavor. In texture, we found the burger to be grainy and slightly crunchy, the flavor was sausage-like, and it smelled like bread. The consistency was burger-like, but it didn't taste like a burger.
Kosher, Organic, No GMOs, Dairy free.
Nutrition: Calories 140, Fat 3.5 g, Sodium 390 g, Carbohydrates 14 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 13 g.
These burgers contain black beans, onions, corn, peppers, spices, cilantro, wheat gluten, rye flour, oat bran, rice flour, and yeast. The burger is a true veggie burger, however it has a tendency to fall apart on the grill. The Tex-Mex flavor and spicy smell had testers commenting that it would be excellent served with avocado, guacamole, or salsa. The package only contains 2 patties. Among all burgers tested, these had the most calories, carbohydrates, and fiber.
Kosher, Vegan, No soy.
Nutrition: Calories 210, Fat 2.5 g, Sodium 420 mg, Carbohydrates 40 g, Fiber 9 g, Protein 11 g.
These burgers contain carrots, onions, string beans, oat bran, soybeans, zucchini, peas, broccoli, corn, soy flakes, spinach, and peppers. We found the burgers to contain the most vegetables, which were easily discernible, however some vegetables had a stringy texture. Some tasters thought it was falafel-like in texture. The predominant flavor was of beans and corn, and it had a relatively strong garlic aroma.
Kosher. Made in facility that uses wheat, soy, milk, eggs, and fish.
Nutrition: Calories 110, Fat 5 g, Sodium 250 mg, Carbohydrates 13 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 5 g.
These burgers contain the fewest ingredients: brown rice, ground raw sunflower seeds, carrots, herbs, and salt. The burgers had a granular texture, tasted bland and of seeds, and smelled like tortillas. Tasters did not particularly care for them. The package contains 3 patties.
Soy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan.
Nutrition: Calories 190, Fat 13 g, Saturated fat 1.5 g, Sodium 320 mg, Carbohydrates 14 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 8 g.
The burgers contains mushrooms, onions, brown rice, oats, mozzarella, bulgur wheat, yeast, and smoke flavor. We found the Gardenburger to have a chunky texture and a pungent cheesy smell and flavor, very much like brie or blue cheese.
Nutrition: Calories 100, Fat 3 g, Saturated fat 1 g, Cholesterol 10 mg, Sodium 400 mg, Carbohydrates 18 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 4 g.
These burgers contain quinoa, sweet potatoes, carrots, coconut flour, onion, peppers, and flax meal. The burger was the largest and thickest of all the ones tested. It does not hold together well on the grill and easily fell apart when handled. The flavor was of Indian or Middle Eastern spices and testers thought it tasted like falafel.
No soy, No gluten, No dairy, No GMOs.
Nutrition: Calories 180, Fat 5 g, Saturated fat 2.5 g, Sodium 190 g, Carbohydrates 30 g, Fiber 5 g, Protein 6 g.