Taste Test: Veggie Burgers

by in Grocery Shopping, Taste Test, April 19, 2010

veggie-burgers

For a quick meatless meal, veggie burgers are a convenient choice. Since there are only a handful of popular brands out there, we turned to our Facebook fans to tell us their preferred flavors — then we tasted and ranked them. See how they stacked up.

The Char-Grilled Criteria
For this taste test, each burger was prepared according to the package directions, either on the stovetop or broiler. We focused on taste, texture and nutritional value and scored each burger on a 5-point scale (5 being highest). Price per patty was pretty consistent, ranging from $1.00 to $1.25.

Most burgers contained 3 to 4 grams of total fat and 4 to 5 grams of fiber. We focused on calories, protein and sodium. As you’ll see, many of the burgers contain as much protein as (and sometimes more than) an old-fashioned hamburger.

Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle
Rating: 4
Nutrition Info: 100 Calories, 5 grams Protein, 390 milligrams Sodium
Our Take: This burger is made from wheat, soy, brown rice, black beans and corn. Most of the ingredients were recognizable, though it did contain some preservatives. The patty had a chewy texture and a deliciously spicy kick to it. Each serving also contains 10 percent of your daily recommended vitamin C, one of the highest of all the choices.

Morning Star Spicy Black Bean Burger
Rating: 3.5
Nutrition Info: 120 Calories, 11 grams Protein, 250 milligrams Sodium

Our Take: This burger is made from TVP (texturized vegetable protein) and a combo of soy protein, black beans, brown rice and roasted corn. It contains eggs and milk, so it’s not vegan like some of the other options. The taste was a bit too bean-y with a spicy aftertaste. However, it was my 8-year-old’s  favorite of the bunch.

Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers
Rating: 4.5
Nutrition Info: 110 Calories, 5 grams Protein, 250 milligrams Sodium
Our Take: This burger is made from oat bran and a variety of veggies (that you can actually see in the patty). It had a pleasant veggie-filled flavor and was the overall favorite for taste and consistency. The ingredient list was relatively short and most add-ins were recognizable. It had the highest amount of vitamin A with 50 percent of your daily recommended amounts.

Amy’s All American Veggie Burger
Rating: 3
Nutrition Info: 130 Calories, 12 grams Protein, 390 milligrams Sodium
Our Take: This burger was made with organic veggies and grains and without any bioengineered ingredients. The patty is created from a combo of wheat, soy, walnuts, bulgur, oats  and veggies. There was an overly chewy consistency and you can subtly taste the “natural hickory smoke flavor” that is listed in the ingredients.

Boca Original Vegan Meatless Burgers
Rating: 2.5
Nutrition Info: 70 Calories 13 grams Protein, 280 milligrams Sodium
Our Take: Boca brand is known for their soy-based products, but it also contains wheat. It was the lowest in calories and total fat (0.5 grams) and tried a little too hard to taste like a real meaty burger (without all the juiciness). A fun fact on this burger — it’s worth only one Weight Watchers point.

Bonus Burger: Sunshine Patties
While shopping at my local market, I came across a brown-rice-and-sunflower-seed veggie burger from Sunshine Burger. Although the brand is not widely distributed, it only contained five ingredients (compared to a laundry list of sometimes 20 or more in other varieties). It had a pleasant smell and taste, plus  you could see and taste the sunflower seeds. Check out your grocery or local natural foods store for sunflower-based burgers from this company or a similar brand.

TELL US: What’s your favorite veggie burger?

Other taste tests:

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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Comments (62)

  1. At least here is the proof that not all commercial versions of home made recipes are that bad. This is a very professional ranking done with due consideration to the various essential weighting factors like taste, texture and nutritional properties. Boca was very disappointing – just 2.5 of a maximum 5.

  2. super carrie says:

    awesome!

    i run a podcast that does something similar. we'll definitely mention your posts in the respective episodes/blog posts.

    i had no idea you existed until i saw a link in the girly girl army e-mail

  3. super carrie says:

    awesome!

    i run a podcast that does something similar. we'll definitely mention your posts in the respective episodes/blog posts.

    i had no idea you existed until i saw a link in the girly girl army e-mail

  4. super carrie says:

    awesome!

    i run a podcast that does something similar. we'll definitely mention your posts in the respective episodes/blog posts.

    i had no idea you existed until i saw a link in the girly girl army e-mail

  5. Karen says:

    What's wrong with a veggie burger trying to taste like meat? I'm vegan for political reasons, not because I think meat tasted bad. I vote for the Boca burger!

  6. Karen says:

    What's wrong with a veggie burger trying to taste like meat? I'm vegan for political reasons, not because I think meat tasted bad. I vote for the Boca burger!

    • super carrie says:

      oh, i totally agree. boca tastes the best to me (especially the ones you get in the 16 pack at costco for 10 bucks.)

      dr. praegers' is the most disgusting to me. mine always fall apart. i have stopped buying them. they always dissappoint.

      i am a huge fan of trader joes' masala burgers, but that's a vegetable patty as opposed to a burger. it's still delicious. i love it with curried peach chutney on top.

      i used to get these other vegetable patties, but i think the company is no-longer. they'd used to fry up with this lovely crust on the outside. i think it was potato based, and it had this funny consistent shape to them. there was a mexican flavor which was my favorite. i think they may have been called vegelicious or something like that. they were nommy-greasy.

  7. momoftwins says:

    I think the Dr. Praegers are the worst of the lot, and enjoy the Gardenburger and the Boca Burger and the Morning Star Farms. Trader Joe's carries the Morning Star Farms Pizza Burger which my kids love. I personally loved the taste of meat but love animals too much to eat them, so I am happy when I find a meat substitute that comescloser to the real thing.

  8. [...] Offer vegetarian options. Try grilled vegetable sandwiches or veggie burgers. [...]

  9. Danielle says:

    P.S. Dr. Praegers falls apart,never try toasting em in your toaster oven! And Boca burgers in my opinion are the most disgusting nasty barfy burgers ever! When I was much younger I used to like Garden burgers until I got a bad batch once and was so sick,never touched one for yrs. now. Sunshine Burgers are simple ingred. and tasty.

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