Monday, April 3, 2017

The Best Veggie Burger

Now that I've been plant-based for about 10 years, it's fair to say I've had my fair share of veggie burgers.  They are one of the easiest meat-free meals to make and are usually well-received by vegans and non-vegans alike.  It's been a little while since I've made a veggie burger (cause I've been mainly living off of a variety of bean & vegetable-based soups & stews) and when I went the local organic co-op, I was amazed at how many brands of veggie burgers they had that I had never tried!  I got the great idea of buying a bunch of them, cooking a different one every night, and doing a taste & nutrition comparison.  I cooked all of them in a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and served them on a 100% whole wheat sprouted bun with melted Chao "cheese", lettuce, and ketchup, served with baked sweet potato fries.  The winner of this mouth-watering experiment was.....

Sweet Earth Natural Foods Santa Fe Veggie Burger
This hefty burger had FLAVOR and a fantastic texture!!!  It was crispy on the outside, had a chewy mouthfeel, and was slightly spicy.  I credit the texture to the first ingredient being vital wheat gluten, the protein portion of wheat from which seitan is made.  Seitan is a meat-alternative with a texture similar to turkey.  Another plus about this burger was the ingredients - all whole natural foods, no protein isolates.  Additionally, it's not high in fat, with only 5 grams per burger.  I don't have anything bad to say about it - it was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend adding it to your shopping cart.

The silver medal goes to Hilary's veggie burgers .  I've had her adzuki bean burger and black rice burger and enjoyed both!  They are made from whole food ingredients, but just have slightly more fat than the Sweet Earth Burger.  In taking a peek at the website, it looks like there's a lot more exciting products to try including a spicy veggie sausage!

And finally, the last burger to make the podium, HODO Soy Tofu Veggie Burgers.  These were a slight departure from the typical veggie burger, in that the main ingredient is tofu.  This resulted in a texture similar to fried tofu or to a Boca "chicken" patty.  If you are looking for your veggie burger to imitate meat, then this is not the burger for you.  However, I enjoyed the (mild) taste and appreciate that it was made from whole natural ingredients, no protein isolates.

Honorable mention would have to go to Boca Burgers (make sure you get the Original Vegan if you are 100% plant-based).  Boca burgers are a good staple to keep in the freezer; they produce a healthy satisfying meal, but nothing to write home about.

Lastly, the two veggie burgers that I am not a big fan of are Lightlife Smart Patties Black Bean Burger and Don Lee Farms Veggie Patties.  The Lightlife patties didn't have much flavor to them and they had a gummy texture.  They also contain protein isolate and other non-whole-food ingredients.  The Don Lee Farms Veggie Patties simply taste too greasy to me and they leave my mouth feeling like a paper towel that had potato chips sitting on it.

Clearly, these are not the only veggie burgers out there and there are tons of delicious (and nutritious) recipes for home-made veggie/bean burgers.  What is your favorite veggie burger?


Here's a nutritional breakdown of these burgers for those who are interested:

Sweet Earth Natural Foods Santa Fe Burger
Calories - 230
Fat - 5g
Sodium - 360 mg
Carbs - 31g
Protein - 17g
Ingredients:  vital wheat gluten, sweet potato, millet, brown rice, peppers, barley, quinoa, brown rice flour, black beans, corn, chipotle sauce, ginger, kombu, garlic, tomato puree, yellow onion, brown rice syrup, ancho chili pepper, chipotle peppers, canola oil, white vinegar, evaporated cane juice, flax seeds, celery, carrots, anaheim chili peppers, jalapeƱo, lime juice, hickory smoke, nutritional yeast, pumpkin seeds, expeller pressed canola oil, agave, cilantro, celery seed, smoked paprika, cinnamon, oregano, spices

Hilary's Adzuki Bean Burger
Calories - 180
Fat - 7g
Sodium - 270 mg
Carbs - 25g
Protein - 4g
Ingredients: millet, adzuki beans, quinoa, expellar pressed coconut oil, onion, sweet potatoes, green chilies, salt, psyllium husk powder, arrowroot, apple cider vinegar, cumin, garlic, chili pepper, oregano, lime juice

HODO Soy Tofu Veggie Burgers
Calories - 200
Fat - 9g
Sodium - 400 mg
Carbs - 11g
Protein - 19g
Ingredients:  organic tofu, carrots, cabbage, onions, soybean oil, salt, dried shiitake mushroom, garlic powder, white pepper

Boca Burgers
Calories - 70
Fat - 0.5g
Sodium - 280 mg
Carbs - 6g
Protein - 13g
Ingredients:  water, soy protein concentrate, wheat gluten, methyl cellulose, salt, caramel color, dried onions, yeast extract, sesame oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, natural and artificial flavor, disocium guanylate, disodium inositate

Lightlife Smart Patties
Calories - 100
Fat - 2.5g
Sodium - 330 mg
Carbs - 11g
Protein - 10g
Ingredients:  water, textured soy flour, cooked black beans, natural flavors, soy protein isolate, soy sauce, tapioca starch, cellulose gum, soybean and sunflower oils, spices, dried onions, dried garlic, salt, cane sugar, caramel color, paprika oleoresin

Don Lee Farms Veggie Patties
Calories - 160
Fat - 7g
Sodium - 390 mg
Carbs - 21g
Protein - 4g
Ingredients:  sweet potatoes, onions, celery, spinach, brown rice flour, egg whites, sunflower seeds, soybean oil, sea salt, spices

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