It's summer and the height of BBQ season. It seems that every week we are invited to someone's burger bash and happily accept but as one of the few vegetarians in my circle of friends I almost always asked "what brand of veggie burger is best - just let me know and I'll have some on hand"
I am so happy that my friends are thoughtful and accommodating and WILLING to ask because imo some of the commercial offerings are well.... lame.
Vegetarians like others, have widely ranging opinions on what they "want" in the perfect burger. Some want burger taste, some want burger texture, others want a great sandwich but don't much care if it takes like a traditional beef burger. I am squarely in the traditional camp. I want a veggie burger that is a decent approximation of a beef burger. Here are my picks and pans.
Best in Show:
Morningstar Grillers Prime
. Morningstar makes several veggie burger blends. Prime is by far the best of the bunch. It has a higher fat content than most of their offerings and with fat comes flavor. Once grilled, it actually drips a little as yiou bite into it. Hands down winner. Only one store in my area stocks these and I drive out of my way to buy them.
And then there's the rest....
Boca All American Flame grilled (comes with stripes) - a distant second.
Second in line with has decent texture but much less flavor and is dry. Not surprisingly, it's also a whole lot better for you than first place but hey.. we're talking burger here; perspective is needed. With the accompanying cheese, mayo, pickles, bun, etc. saving 30 calories on the patty is just not that important!
Gardenburger original - Honorable mention
This was the first nationally available veggie burger. Not a bad sandwich stuffer but the texture isn't even a little like a burger, nor is the flavor, still it offers balanced flavor and not too much salt. For years my local Red Robin offered these on their heart healthy menu and they were unbelievably good. I finally asked how they got them to be so much better than I could at home.. the answer? They dropped them in the deep fryer.
Bribed with fat once again.
Not so good:
Veggie burgers with beans, corns, chilis, curry, ginger and other "ethnic" flavors. These things just don't belong in burgers - sorry. Fail.
Anything in a can (usually from the health food store). Canned "burgers" are just icky and most of them are super salty.
Finally the weird..
Amys Sonoma Veggie
Who puts quinoa in a burger? Sorry Amy but the Sonoma Veggie burger with walnuts and quinoa is not bad to eat but it's not a burger.
Morningstar Tomato Basil Pizza burger
If I want pizza, I will order pizza. Patty-fied pizza holds no appeal. Fail.
Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burger
Includes peas carrots and corn. More aptly named succotash patty, imo
Dr. Praeger’s Kale Veggie Burger
Kale - INSIDE the patty. Nuff said.
I've read a lot of Veggie burger reviews over the years and it's interesting to me that the original gardenburger usually shines. I don't get it. Eaten plain (no bun or swag) it's a pretty tasty bite of food but as a team player IN a burger build it fails, imo.
Do you have a preferred veggie burger?