Veganism and vegan foods are rapidly becoming big business. Chain vegan restaurants such as Veggie Grill are raising millions to expand across the US and Beyond Meat can count Bill Gates, Biz Stone and even big-meat producer Tyson Foods among its investors.
With this growth, the quality of the food that is produced is also getting better and better. Far from the original rubbery soy cheeses and grainy tofu ice cream, we now have sharp cultured cheeses, creamy cashew ice cream and ground “meat” patties, all of which can help people transition to a vegan diet and still satisfy their cravings.
One of the newer products is the Beyond Burger. Developed by Beyond Meat, it is promoted as the closest replacement for a regular burger – it has a ground “meat” texture, is pink and “bleeds” (thanks to the addition of beet juice) and turns brown as it is cooked. While this may be a turn off for people who don’t want animal products as a part of their diets, it can be very helpful for people who no longer want to eat meat but still desire food with the same textures and flavors.
The Beyond Burger is soy-free, gluten-free and dairy-free, and is based on pea protein. One patty has less than 300 calories, 22 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 25% of the daily recommended amount of iron, and 90% of the RDA of vitamin C!
In comparison, one average 4 oz. burger has about the same number of calories, 21 grams of protein, 0% fiber, 15% of the RDA of iron and 0% vitamin C.
The Beyond Burger is becoming available in select Whole Foods, with a general roll-out in the future. I found them in my local store and gave them a try!
Yup, they look like ground meat patties.
I wanted to experience the natural flavor, so I cooked it in a pan. I thought about adding a little oil to make sure it didn’t stick, but it turns out it wasn’t needed. The oil in the pan? It came from the burger itself as it cooked.
It turned from pink to brown during the cooking. I didn’t want any hint of pink left in it (that would be too close to eating an animal for me), so I cooked it well and also stood it on the edges to make sure they were cooked also.
I went basic with this one – lettuce, tomato, red onion, jalapeno mustard, Just Mayo, and sriracha (I’m not a huge fan of ketchup).
And completed – it looked like any other burger!
The big question – how did it taste? It’s been more than two decades since I’ve had one made out of animals, but as I was eating it, I felt the need to check the package to make sure I hadn’t bought the wrong thing. It answers the complaints that most veggie burgers receive – it didn’t taste like grains, it didn’t taste like vegetables and it wasn’t dry – it had the texture and flavor of an actual “meat” patty. Honestly, for me it was a bit too close to the actual thing, so I don’t think I would buy it on a regular basis, but I think this can be a huge help for people who want to let go of eating animal products but still want those flavors and textures as the change their diets. Go try one ~ this is where you can find them!