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While all veggie burgers are great alternatives as far as cows are concerned, some pack tons of fat and calories. These barbecue-ready picks, however, boast the protein of beef burgers without the fat, plus a boost of fiber, if you don't have the time to make your own.
1. Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burgers
Nutrition: 120 calories, 11 g protein, 4 g fat
Have water on hand for these fiery burgers.
2. Amy’s All-American Veggie Burger (vegan)
Nutrition: 140 calories, 13 g protein, 3.5 g fat
Redefine the "all-American" meaty barbeque.
3. Gardein Ultimate Beefless Burger
Nutrition: 130 calories, 17 g protein, 5 g fat
This burger is "beefed up" with textured vegetable protein.
4. Boca Cheeseburger
Nutrition: 100 calories, 13 g protein, 4.5 g fat
Cheesy goodness without all the fat.
5. Dr. Praeger’s Meatless All-American Burger
Nutrition: 130 calories, 15 g protein, 4 g fat
This burger holds up great on the grill.
— Nancy Ryerson, HellaWella
- One 15.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 Cup green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 Cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 Cup white onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon cayenne
- 1 Tablespoon cilantro
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 Cup breadcrumbs
Calories Per Serving798
Folate equivalent (total)442µg100%
Here Are the 5 Tastiest Frozen Veggie Burgers, but Are They Actually Healthy?
And that’s where things get tricky: As anyone who has ever bought frozen veggie burgers knows, not all meatless patties are created equal&mdashboth in terms of taste and nutrition. They can be high in sodium, packed with processed soy (and even, according to one report, the neurotoxin hexane), or, perhaps worst of all, be indistinguishable from a hockey puck.
Because buying food should never be a gamble, Well+Good recruited Miranda Hammer, a highly educated, credentialed RD and genius behind Crunchy Radish, to study the nutrition labels of a wide range of frozen veggie burgers. Our team of editors then taste-tested as many patties as humanly possible. The goal? To come up with a definitive list of the healthiest, tastiest packaged veggie burgers that you can get at your nearby supermarket.
Many, many burgers later (it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it), the results are in. One big takeaway: Decide for yourself if you want your veggie burger to taste as close to meat as possible, or if you’re just looking for something delicious in patty form to throw on the grill&mdashit will totally change what you’ll go for. Because of that, the below picks scored high in both taste and nutrition, but are in no particular order.
If your preferred veggie burger isn’t on here and you’re wondering how it holds up nutritionally, try this easy, 30-second test: Check out the ingredients list. Could you technically make it at home if you really wanted to? Does the nutrition label sync up with what you’re seeing on the ingredients list? (If there’s spinach, you should expect to see some iron in there, for example.) If so, drop it in your basket because that baby is so going on the grill later.
Now, let’s get down to business.
Originally posted June 27, 2016. Updated July 7, 2017.
The 15 Best Veggie Burgers, According to Nutritionists
Thanks to continued interest in plant-based and vegan eating, veggie burgers are easier to find and better than ever&mdashand the perfect way to beef up your nutrient intake sans the actual beef.
Compared to their meat-based counterparts, veggie burgers tend to be very low in saturated fat and high in fiber, which is beneficial for heart health, according to nutritionist Brittany Modell, RD. Plus, certain brands fortify their patties with essential nutrients typically found in meat (like vitamin B12, zinc and iron).
There's also the convenience factor: "Veggie burgers are easy to freeze and always have on-hand for a quick lunch, dinner, or snack,&rdquo says nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It.
If the bigger-than-ever selection has you overwhelmed, though, not to worry.
&ldquoWhen shopping for veggie burgers, look for ones that emphasize whole foods, such as whole grains, legumes, lentils, nuts and seeds,&rdquo says Modell. &ldquoIf you do not recognize ingredients or ingredients aren't real food, think twice.&rdquo (If you're keto, look for a patty made entirely of non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds.)
Otherwise, make sure a patty provides five-plus grams of protein and a few grams of fiber to fuel your body and keep you from feeling snacky an hour after your meal.
If a veggie burger is low in protein and fiber and you don't want to skip it, though, get creative with nutrient- and fiber-dense toppings like fresh veggies, hummus, and guac, and opt for a whole-grain or sprouted bun, Modell suggests.
Stock your kitchen for better-for-you plant burgers by adding the following nutritionist-recommended veggie burger brands to your cart.
A Veggie Burger From the Sea
Akua’s plant-based burgers are made from cultivated kelp.
These burgers made in Portland, Maine, are plant-based but not trying to be meat. Kelp is the main ingredient, and they’re bolstered with mushrooms, pea protein, quinoa, black beans, chickpea flour and seasonings for a satisfying veggie burger. They’re best seared on a griddle, loaded with condiments and piled into a bun. Even if you knew how kelp tasted you probably couldn’t guess it from sampling these new iterations. Cook them while they’re still frozen a leaf of wax paper separates them in the package and it can be removed with a quick warm water rinse. Or cook two together as a double burger.
Veggie burgers are something you can definitely get in the frozen food isle — they are even pretty easy to find made by “boutique makers,” and feel less processed than other things in the frozen food isle. But… they are also a very easy way to make something new from scratch.
This recipe is super flexible. Use whatever grains you have made, and same goes for beans…
Have fun and create great burgers! You can dress them in a gluten-free bun, just like a normal burger, wrap them in lettuce, or make them thin like a pancake (they will be a bit crunchier) and put some dip on top.
Here’s an easy summer salad that’s always a winner. There are many similar chopped salads served throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, but this version with halved sweet cherry tomatoes is especially attractive. Your own take can be a variation on this one: Feel free to use large tomatoes, chop the vegetables as small or large as you like (roughly chopped has its charms), add other herbs like basil, mint or dill, or swap the feta for mozzarella.
This is an impressive dessert to serve, showered with toasted coconut and adorned with berries. Use sweet, ripe summer berries from a farm stand for the best flavor — they should really smell like strawberries. Whipped cream, coconut milk and a touch of vodka help keep the mixture from forming ice crystals. It should ideally be served within 24 hours for the best texture.
Hold the Beef: Best Veggie Burgers Around the Country
After decades of derision from the meat-first crowd, veggie burgers have become the hottest item on a bun, front and center at some of the hippest restaurants in the country.
Photo By: Deb Fletcher Photography, Inc.
Photo By: Rey Lopez ©Under a Bushel.com
©COPYRIGHT 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Photo By: Angela DeCenzo ©2014 Angela DeCenzo Photography. All Rights Reserved.
Hip to Be Veg
Once upon a time, veggie burgers were thought to be cruel and unusual punishment, the cardboard-flavored penance of an ethically sound vegetarian diet. Not anymore. With increased interest in produce and the meatless diet, even the most-ardent omnivores are digging into plant-based patties, and chefs are answering the call with hearty two-handed burgers that could rival even their beefiest brethren. Including fresh vegetables and ingredients from international cuisine, these veggie burgers are leading the meatless movement.
Photo courtesy of Jo's Coffee
Native Foods — Palm Springs, Calif. (and more)
Tap 42 — Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
PM: Sushi, Bistro and Bar — Nashville
By Chloe — New York City
In the not-too-distant past, New Yorkers queuing up for vegan cuisine would have been a punchline, rather than a reality. But By Chloe has changed that. Chef Chloe Coscarelli rose to fame winning Cupcake Wars with her vegan recipe. Now she’s bringing that same A-game to Greenwich Village with flavorful salads, sandwiches and veggie burgers that people line up out the door to try. The classic is made from a tempeh-lentil-chia-walnut patty with semitraditional toppings — pickles, onion, beet ketchup, special sauce. The Guac Burger, though, has quickly become of the city’s most-popular sandwiches in any category. A meatlike patty, made from black beans, quinoa and sweet potato, is topped with corn salsa, onion, guacamole, tortilla strips and chipotle aioli, all stacked on a whole-grain bun.
Photo courtesy of Mikey Pozarik
The Madison Blind — Madison, Wis.
Pincho Factory — Miami
BeefSteak — Washington, D.C.
José Andrés is one of the best-known and most-beloved chefs on the planet, hailed for his high-end modern Spanish cuisine. He’s also an activist dedicated to reducing food waste and increasing access to healthy, nutritious fare. He’s made the latter easier at BeefSteak, his first fast-casual concept, where farm-fresh vegetables are the main ingredient. The food is healthy, affordable and bursting with flavor. Like everything he does, Andrés’ BEETsteak sandwich turns traditional notions (of veggie burgers, in this case) upside down. There’s no patty, per se. Marinated beet — what playful Andrés dubs #theotherredmeat — is the main layer, topped with pickled red onion, sprouts and romaine on an olive-oil brioche bun alongside a pile of veggie chips. As for the restaurant’s meaty name, it’s a joking nod to the juicy summer tomato.
What We Were Looking For
Our first realization: There are a lot of veggie burgers out there. While our typical blind taste tests include five to eight brands, we couldn't whittle our essential veggie burger brand list to less than 13, and even then we were afraid we missed a few. (We skipped the Impossible Burger because of its lack of availability to retail consumers.)
To make sure the burgers were comparable, we selected the original or "most basic" flavor each brand had on offer. Once we started tasting, we realized that there are two distinct types of veggie burgers: 1) a meat alternative intended to look, feel, and taste like a traditional burger, or 2) a veggie patty that looks, feels, and tastes like vegetables, but can also be put on a bun, similar to the one Associate Food Editor Kat Sacks developed last summer. We included both types in our tasting.
And that leads to the third realization. Most veggie burgers are bad. Very bad. Like, I want to go hug a vegan and apologize bad. But there were a few bright spots. Let's start with those:
4 Ways to Upgrade Your Next Veggie Burger
I love a ridiculously over-the-top burger. It makes me a sad panda to go to a restaurant and see a menu full of burgers piled high with crazy things and then the lone veggie burger on the menu is topped with a sad piece of wilted lettuce, a slice of under-ripe tomato, and a half-hearted squirt of mayo, if you’re lucky. Womp womp.
So I took destiny into my own hands–or something like that–and started making my own over-the-top veggie burgers at home.
A Word About the Patties
The thing about making a burger with lots of crazy toppings is that it takes a bit of time. Because I’m not into the idea of spending an entire Saturday afternoon putting together an epic veggie burger, I save on prep time by using frozen burgers–either homemade or store-bought.
I don’t care for burgers that try to mimic the flavor and texture of meat. I know a lot of people love those! If that’s your thing, go for it! But I love burgers that are packed with grains, veggies, and legumes. Three of my favorites are local Wisconsin brands–Sunshine Burger (available nationwide!), Nature’s Bakery, and Walnut Burger–and I also love Hilary’s. These are the best burgers! Made with real ingredients and not weird processed soy things!
4 Ways to Make an Epic Veggie Burger
On a weeknight, I’ll usually just top our burgers with some sautéed mushrooms and Swiss or maybe caramelized onions if I have a batch in the fridge. But on weekends, we have time to go big. Here are a few we make often:
The Philly Burger
It’s like a Philly cheesesteak, you see. Except: no steak! Or cheez-whiz, if you’re on team it’s-not-a-Philly-without-cheez-whiz.
Sauté sliced onions, mushrooms, and green pepper in olive oil over medium-high heat until they’re beginning to brown. Cover the vegetables with slices of provolone once the cheese melts, use a spatula to pile the veggies and melted cheese onto your burger patties.
This was inspired by a recipe in The Veggie Burger Atelier–a must-have for any veggie burger connoisseur.
Melt Gruyere slices onto the burger patties. Top with caramelized onions, sprinkle fresh thyme leaves over the onions, and smear a heaping tablespoon of apricot preserves (trust and believe, it is good!) on the top half of the bun.
The Messy Vegan
I love cashew cream on a veggie burger–and my favorite kind of cashew cream is smoked paprika cashew cream. You’ll need a napkin (or two) to eat this one, but it’s so worth it.
To make the cashew cream, combine 3/4 cup of raw cashew pieces that have been soaked in water for 4 hours, 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding more water a tablespoon at a time if needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Halve the mushrooms and slice the shallots toss them with a generous amount of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 425ºF for about 20 minutes, or until browned and tender. Pile a handful of baby spinach, the roasted mushrooms and shallots, and the cashew cream onto the burger patties.
The BBQ Burger
You can’t go wrong with a classic! Bake up a batch of onion rings in the oven–while you can make your own from scratch, it’s kind of a pain, so I usually use Ian’s frozen rings for these.
Melt a slice of cheddar–smoked if you can find it–on each burger patty. Put a few pickle slices on the bottom half of the bun, and place the patties on it. Top the patties with the baked onion rings and barbecue sauce.
Worth the effort
There’s no denying it. Veggie Burgers take more effort than making beef burgers.
It is actually really hard to buy a good veggie burger, at least here in my area. The ones at the supermarket are just offensive. And every time I’ve taken the plunge and chosen a veggie over a meat burger when I’m eating out, I’ve always been disappointed.
And it was one such disappointing experience that kicked me into action to make a killer homemade Veggie Burger.
It’s everything a burger should be – it’s satisfying, it’s juicy, it’s “meaty” and most importantly of all, it’s so darn tasty! – Nagi x