Are the New Vegan Burgers Really Worth all the Hype?
When you see traditional brands like Hellmann’s come out with a vegan mayonnaise, you know the demand for vegan food is on the rise. After all, no one wants to be left out. Especially when vegan burgers are crossing new boundaries, including vegan cheese companies. But whats the big deal? We’ve had veggie burgers for years, right? True, but the new fake meats are in a class all their own. The question is, are they really any good?
I had the pleasure of trying the recently released, Beyond Meat’s, Beyond Burger the day it was delivered to stores across Texas. In fact, all of the Vegan communities on social media were posting which stores carried it and then posting videos and photo’s of the precious commodity in their possession. The Whole Foods down the street from our house hadn’t put it on the shelves yet, but a store associate was kind enough to grab a box in the back for me. I bought 4 packages, shared on Facebook and Instagram that Highland Village Whole Foods carried it and went on my merry way. Then others went to pick some up and none of the other employees were able to locate it, because it was scheduled to be put out the following week. In fact, one person came to my house and got a package from me after posting that they couldn’t find them. Not only did she pay me for the burgers, she gave me an amazing bar of vegan chocolate for my trouble and I made a new friend. Needless to say, vegans all over Texas were beyond excited and were collectively having the burgers that very evening.
Then a few weeks later I went to visit my daughter in Los Angeles (photographed above). The only restaurant in L.A. to carry the Impossible Burger, by Impossible Foods was CrossRoads Kitchen on Melrose. Apparently there are only 10 restaurants that serve Impossible Burger in the country and CrossRoads is the only vegan location. The rest are delivered by fine eating establishments with notable chefs that are providing them as a novelty to their carnivorous patrons. Crossroads is only serving theirs at lunch. According to our waiter, the lunch crowd has tripled in size and 35% of the orders are for the burger. My daughter had the In-N-Out version and I had mine with mushrooms and Kite Hill cheese.
The verdict? They were both extremely different, but equally amazing. The Beyond Beef is thick and actually red and juicy in the center. The Impossible Burger was served thin to resemble and taste similar to the In-N-Out eatery. Burgers are supposed to be greasy and boy do they both deliver. They are both made completely of plants. And people that are not vegan are eating them. Exactly how many, I can not say, but the ones I know really enjoy them.
Because of the grease, I don’t see myself eating either of these on a weekly basis, but they are great for special occasions. In fact, I served the Beyond Burger at our 25th Wedding Anniversary and Wedding Vow Renewal. Even the guests that aren’t vegan loved it. We may even have some vegan converts! The following day I used the remaining burgers in a chili over sweet potatoes. It was moist, incredibly hearty and tasty.
The mock meats are great for people transitioning to the vegan lifestyle and for those that aren’t watching their waistline as well. My verdict is that they are definitely worth the hype. They are made of plants so more healthful than animal meat, don’t harm the environment and are especially and wonderfully humane. Go get ya some!