Veggie burgers don't have to be boring!
Five Buffalo tasters blindly munch their way through 5 veggie burgers available locally.
Veggie burgers have a bad rap in some circles, ask any vegetarian what they get at most BBQs and it's probably some form of mock-burger. And why not? They are all about 100 calories, fiber-rich and low fat but unfortunately a couple bad run-ins with those soy-based hockey pucks have turned many off from the typical veggie burger.
Here in Buffalo we rounded up 5 taste testers: 2 vegetarians and 3 carnivores and had them blindly try a variety of plant-based burgers from soy "burger-analogs" to true veggie burgers where corn and grains could plainly be seen.
All the products can be bought at the local grocery stores and co-ops. Each was pan fried in a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil spray. The panel rated our samples based on taste, appearance, texture/mouthfeel, and aroma for a total possible rating of 20 points:
17 points: Morningstar Garden Veggie Burger: Rated high for it's real vegetable content, and chewy but not oily texture. Chestnuts, peppers, onions and bulgur make this low-cal burger stand out. Good for the seasoned veggie burger eater.
16 points: Boca All America Flame Grilled: Actual charbroiled flavor good for the person who loves the "beef". Texture was reminiscent of real burgers and it was juicy, not dry at all. Our omni-tasters loved that there wasn't a ton of grease and fat to deal with!
14 points: Amy's Chicago Veggie Burger: Good texture but never cooked up crispy so it fell apart a bit. Raters gauged it was somewhere between an all-veggie veggie burger and a meat analog burger.
13 points: Gardenburger Original: The lack of distinct flavor, appearance (a dull brown/grey) and undesirable chewiness ranked this burger low on the list.
9 points: Dr Praeger's California Veggie Burger: Our rater's least favorite. Left oil behind, poor mouthfeel and general lack of flavor.
Dressing any of these up with a toasted whole grain roll, some crumbled bleu cheese, onion, tomato and romaine would drastically improve even the lowest rated burgers. Experimenting with toppings such as black bean salad, mango strips or slices of avocado will surely dress up your summer BBQ as your not-burger becomes the envy of everyone!