Plant-based burgers have been a staple in the RainyDayKitchen for a while now. We have eaten vurgers (what?) offered by many brands, but the three that consistently make it into our grocery cart are the ones from Lightlife, Impossible Foods, and Beyond Meat.
The obvious question is: which one is our favorite? We tackle that very topic in this one-time, completely non-scientific, head-to-head “taste-off.”
Lightlife offers plant-based burgers, sausages, and breakfast links. The burger is vegan and non-GMO certified, soy free, gluten free and kosher.
Ingredients: Water, Pea Protein, Canola Oil, Coconut Oil, Natural Flavors, Less Than 2% Modified Cellulose (from Plant Fiber), Sea Salt, Vinegar, Beet Powder (Color), Cane Sugar, Cherry Powder (to promote color retention).
Ingredients:Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% Or Less Of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant), Soy Protein Isolate, Vitamins and Minerals (Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12).
Beyond Meat created a plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and satisfies like beef. It has all the juicy, meaty deliciousness of a traditional burger, but comes with the upside of a planty-based meal. The Beyond Burger has 20g of plant-based protein and has no GMOs, soy, or gluten.
Ingredients: Water, Pea Protein, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Pomegranate Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Beet Juice Extract (for color).
We know a great burger doesn’t happen without the right fixings. For our plant-based taste test, we decided to go with vegan mayo, veggie cheeses, and fresh tomatoes and mushrooms.
- GoVeggie cheddar slices are made from rice, soy beans and potatoes. All are lactose and gluten free, but contain soy and casein.
- Violife is 100% vegan, and free from dairy and lactose.
Plant-based burgers can go directly from freezer to pan, but we defrost them to better show their texture before cooking.
- Lightlife – medium-high heat, 3-4 minutes/side for medium
- Impossible – medium-high heat, 2-3 minutes/side
- Beyond Meat – medium-high, 3 minutes/side
All of the burgers were cooked (well-oiled pan, medium-high heat) for their suggested duration. The browning seen is the result of the recommended cook time.
The Cooked Burgers
All of the patties were ready to eat after their recommended cooking times. We cut them in half to show their color and texture après cooking.
The main thing we noticed was that all of the burgers were juicy and slightly pink, and none of them looked greasy. Also, unlike a meat burger, there was no shrinkage.
As for the different “cheeses,” the GoVeggie and Violife both melted after being on the burgers for 3 minutes, but didn’t turn into a puddle of goo like some of the other “cheezes” we had tried in the past.
Taste is, of course, where the “rubber meets the road.” While all the burgers had their own distinctive taste, we cannot say definitively that we preferred one brand over another.
Here’s what we CAN say:
- Lightlife’s burger was the least expensive of the lot;
- The Impossible Burger had the “meatiest” texture; and
- Beyond Meat’s burger was the juiciest of the three.
Our advice is get whichever is available and on sale (because federal price supports have not yet been extended to “new” plant-based foods). Our three burgers were all delicious, and satisfyingly “meaty” without that heavy greasy feeling afterwards.
As for the “cheese,” our preference was for the Violife. Both tasted fine, but the Violife slice had a, cheesier, texture. We also liked that the Violife slices were NOT individually wrapped, thereby generating less consumer waste.
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