5 Plant-Based Burgers to Grill this Summer
Summer’s here, and if you are in the mood to fire up the grill to make burgers, consider checking out one of the new, meat-like veggie burgers available today. While veggie burgers used to primarily be made of things like potatoes, quinoa, black beans, mushrooms or other vegetables — making it very clear you were eating a “veggie” burger — a new generation of plant-based burgers aim to emulate the look and taste of beef burgers.
While these veggie burgers aren’t exactly “health food”, swapping beef for a plant-based option may be a healthier choice for some people, especially those with high-cholesterol. The companies behind these meatier plant-based burgers aim to provide a tasty substitute for people looking to reduce their beef intake, even if it’s just one burger at a time. After all, reducing animal products from our diets, even if by a small amount, can create positive impacts on the environment, our health, and the cows, of course!
You’ve probably seen Beyond Meat at your local grocery store, or maybe you’ve tried one at Carl’s Jr. or one of the many local San Diego restaurants that serve Beyond Burgers. The founders of Beyond Meat created their products with the following mission in mind: “by shifting from animal to plant-based meat, we can positively impact four growing global issues — human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources, and animal welfare.”
Ingredients: Lots of plant-based ingredients like peas, mung bean, faba bean, brown rice, cocoa butter, and coconut oil. Beet juice gives it a meat-like pink sheen in the middle!
Nutritional Info: Beyond Burgers have 270 calories, and 20 grams of protein. While they have 20g of fat, only 6 of that is saturated.
You may have heard of Impossible Burgers as the product gained a lot of attention in the media when it was first released due to their use of a plant-based heme, which gives them the pink color and ability to “bleed” that makes them look and cook similar to real beef. They are served at Burger King and Islands, along with several other San Diego restaurants. The company encourages people to eat an Impossible Burger instead of a burger from an animal because “it means your environmental footprint is much lower: less land and water, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”
Ingredients: Impossible burgers get their protein from soy and potatoes. They get their flavor from a plant-based version of heme and have coconut and sunflower oils that cause them to act like meat when grilling.
Nutritional Info: Each burger has 240 calories, 14g of fat, and 19g of protein.
This San Diego-based company makes plant-based patties in beef, turkey, and chicken styles, along with breakfast sausage and pulled pork. They want to compete with traditional meat products not only in taste, but in price, with a “mainstream” line priced to be affordable for budgets of all sizes.
Ingredients: These burgers get their protein from soy, with soy flour, isolated soy protein, and soy protein concentrate as the main ingredients.
Nutritional Info: Cook up an Uncut burger and take in 240 calories, 15g fat (7g saturated), and 20g of protein.
LifeLight has been creating plant-based foods for over forty years. Their mission is “sharing our love for plant-based food and leading a balanced life. We’re always looking for ways to improve our food and the impact we have on the planet.”
Ingredients: LifeLight’s plant-based burgers get their protein from peas. The burgers also contain canola oil, coconut oil, and natural flavors, among other things.
Nutritional Info: Burgers have 250 calories and 5g of saturated fat. These pack a powerful punch with 20g of protein!
Founded in 1994 by two heart surgeons, the company’s goal is to bring healthy and delicious frozen food to everyone. They offer more traditional-style veggie burgers, including ones made from cauliflower, kale, and super greens, and recently introduced their “pure plant protein” line that includes the Perfect Burger and a faux turkey burger.
Ingredients: Dr. Praeger’s Perfect burgers contain four vegetables including sweet potato puree, butternut squash puree, carrot puree and beets. Like several other burgers on this list, they get their protein from peas.
Nutritional Info: Each burger contains 230 calories, 13 grams of fat (only 2g of saturated), 20g protein, and 4g dietary fiber.
Where to Buy Plant-Based Burgers in San Diego
It’s easy to find veggie burgers at grocery stores throughout San Diego County. You can find them at stores like Vons, Ralphs, and Whole Foods, along with superstores like Target, Wal-Mart and Costco. Looking for a unique brand not carried in the bigger chain stores? Try Mission Square Market in the Mission Gorge area – they exclusively carry vegan products and as an independently-owned store, they have more flexibility with the products they can stock.