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We Tested 10 Veggie Burgers, and This Is the Best!

Want a meatless burger, but not sure where to start? Use our official taste test as your guide to all the veggie patties lining the freezer section.
We Tested 10 Veggie Burgers, and This Is the Best!
We Tested 10 Veggie Burgers, and This Is the Best!
Want a meatless burger, but not sure where to start? Use our official taste test as your guide to all the veggie patties lining the freezer section.

When we scour the freezer section for the perfect veggie burger, we often look for an adequate amount of both satiating fiber and protein. After all, swapping your regular beef burger for a plant-based patty usually means that you’re willing to compromise flavor for nutrition. However, here at Eat This, Not That!, we’re not advocates of neglecting your palate’s preferences in the name of health; in fact, we believe you can have the best of both worlds.

To help your efforts to stick to a veggie-centered diet, convert a carnivore, or save the planet (hey, 460 gallons of water are required to produce a ¼-pound of beef!), I rounded up some of the most popular meatless burgers in the supermarket and graded them based on nutrition, clean ingredients, appearance and texture, and taste. Take a look at the winners below, and then try your hand at these 30 Vegetarian Soups for Weight Loss.

And to look, feel, and live great while getting on the path to better health, subscribe now to the new Eat This, Not That! magazine—click here!

How We Graded Them

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Here are the four metrics we used to determine each burger’s final grade:

Nutrition

If you’re choosing a veggie burger over an all-beef patty, we’re suspecting you’re concerned about your lunch’s nutrition. Meatless burgers can provide a solid dose of plant-based protein in addition to digestion-aiding fiber, but whether your patty is packed with a frightening amount of fat or salt is a serious determining factor.

Clean Ingredients

Besides being concocted with the legumes, rice, and veggies we’re wont to, many patties contain a plethora of unpronounceable ingredients that, well, aren’t found in nature. To make sure your burger is aligned with your slim down plan, we’ve combed through each and every ingredient list below.

Appearance & Consistency

Does your burger crumble apart on the grill, failing to hold up to the heat? Or does it perpetuate veggie burgers’ unfortunate too-chewy rap? Aside from seriously trying to toss any superficiality to the side and focusing on taste, appearance and texture remain an important metric.

Taste

When we bite into a veggie burger, we expect it to taste like what it’s made of: vegetables. Except more like perfectly braised, generously seasoned, and ever-so-slightly caramelized rather than a sad, solid version of your grandma’s soup.

From Worst… To Best

10

MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie Burger

Morningstar garden veggie burger

Nutrition: 170 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 540 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 16 g protein

Ingredients: This burger’s base is made of wheat, soy, mushrooms, and water chestnuts, and gets its protein punch from soy protein concentrate and isolate. It also contains hydrolyzed wheat, soy, and corn proteins as well as caramel color.

Appearance & Consistency: MorningStar’s Garden veggie burger is speckled with carrot and pepper chunks, but is significantly thinner than we expected. Besides boasting a slight crisp on its perimeter (thanks to my oven’s broiler setting), the overall texture was unsatisfyingly mushy.

Taste: This plant-based patty tastes like you’d expect it to—it has a strong veggie flavor, mostly coming from the red and green peppers—but definitely needs some help from robust condiments, juicy tomatoes, and crisp lettuce.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Overall, MorningStar’s offering was too thin to satisfy. It tasted like something you’d pick up from a fast food joint if you were trying really hard to avoid the beef burgers. While the flavor wasn’t shockingly unpalatable, its ingredient list (chock full of hydrolyzed proteins, which likely contain MSG, as well as potentially-carcinogenic caramel color) bumped the burger down to the last place.

9

Boca All American Classic Veggie Burger

Boca American classic veggie burger

Nutrition: 120 calories, 4.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 350 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (4 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 15 g protein

Ingredients: Its base is mostly made of soy protein concentrate and reduced-fat cheddar cheese and contains caramel color.

Appearance & Consistency: At first glance, this patty looks like the result of a lab experiment: Its surface boasts odd-looking craters and the texture was too similar to that of an old sponge.

Taste: Although Boca’s aesthetics weren’t too pleasing to the eye, its flavor wasn’t as revolting. Sure, it packed an initial sour punch and somewhat tasted like an overdone chicken burger; however, it still managed to get pretty close to tasting like poultry while maintaining a meat-free ingredient list.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

This burger was bouncy. So much so, that my fork almost recoiled from it like frightened prey. I can’t imagine stacking this on a toasted roll since the texture was so bready and dense on its own. I surely wasn’t a fan of the fake meat flavor, and what’s more, the addition of caramel color didn’t do much to improve this burger’s lowly grade.

8

365 Everyday Value Spicy Southwestern Meatless Burger

Whole Foods spicy southwestern veggie burger

Nutrition: 120 calories, 4.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 290 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (4 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 11 g protein

Ingredients: Soy protein makes up the foundation of this meatless burger. It is flavored with garlic, cane sugar, smoke flavor, and cilantro and bound together with canola oil.

Appearance & Consistency: Whole Foods’ meatless offering looked like real ground meat, except a bit less textured and a lot denser. Consistency-wise, it was as spongy as its predecessors.

Taste: Given its mild kick and smokey, cumin-dominant flavor, this burger wasn’t so bad. But it wasn’t so good, either. It got boring after just a few bites and I found myself craving a real beef burger instead.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

I wasn’t too fond of this patty’s lackluster taste and excessively smoky smell—which actually set the bar up pretty high. (No expectations, no disappointments, right?) What’s more, this burger smelled a lot like a McDouble, so if you usually don’t hit up the drive-thru when you’re sober, you’ll probably regret brown bagging this for lunch.

7

Organic Sunshine Quarter Pound Original

Sunshine original veggie burger

Nutrition: 360 calories, 21 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 300 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (6 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 12 g protein

Ingredients: This pick is made with just five ingredients: organic cooked brown rice, organic ground raw sunflower seeds, organic carrots, organic spices, sea salt.

Appearance & Consistency: Its insanely chewy texture justifies the fact that brown rice is the first and most predominant ingredient. It did provide a bit of a crunch thanks to the sunflower seeds, but the consistency was too two-dimensional to deem satisfying.

Taste: Super earthy and absolutely devoid of an indulgent factor, despite its high fat content.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

We love that this offering is molded with a handful of wholesome ingredients that pack in heart-healthy omega-3s and fiber; on the contrary, its taste didn’t win me over. Organic Sunshine’s quarter-pound pick is more caloric than our other panelists, yet the humdrum taste and texture didn’t satisfy the senses as much as it satiated my hunger.

6

Gardenburger The Original Veggie Burger

Gardenburger original veggie burger

Nutrition: 110 calories, 3 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 490 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (4 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 5 g protein

Ingredients: This burger is made mostly with brown rice, three types of mushrooms, rolled oats, and two kinds of cheeses.

Appearance & Consistency: Frighteningly enough, this veggie burger donned a sallow complexion and resembled raw ground chicken. Not too appetizing at first glance, if you ask me. I noticed a few chunky mushroom pieces lurking around the patty, giving me a glimmer of hope.

Taste: This is basically a mushroom pizza slice in patty form. With loads of gooey cheese oozing out and a pretty high amount of salt for a relatively small patty, this pick definitely crushed my cravings for a cheat meal.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

While you’d probably expect Gardenburger to serve up a patty chock-full-of freshly-grown produce, this one definitely missed the mark. However, I say that in the absolute best way possible. Subpar consistency aside, this burger struck a balance between umami-packed mozzarella and portobello flavors and was undeniably indulgent. I went back for seconds.

5

Dr. Praeger’s All American Veggie Burger

Dr praeger american veggie burger

Nutrition: 290 calories, 15 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 460 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (8 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 25 g protein

Ingredients: This burger packs in pea protein, black beans, carrots, sweet potato, and butternut squash and is seasoned with roasted garlic, onion powder, and sea salt.

Appearance & Consistency: I liked this burger’s hearty and somewhat dense texture; it filled me up without filling me out. It’s speckled with all the ingredients listed: black bean studs and traces of orangey carrot.

Taste: Although this pick didn’t pack in many spices or robust flavoring, it proved to be a great neutral base for toppings. And most of the flavor came from its first ingredient: potatoes. Come to think of it, it tastes like a classic veggie medley and lightly-crisped mashed potatoes, albeit lacking the creamy flavor profile of butter.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

As a major fan of all things Dr. Praeger, I had high hopes for this burger; and although it isn’t my all-time favorite, it did fare well with my palate. The flavor was reminiscent of mashed potatoes and peas. So if you learned to tolerate your childhood dinner nightmare, you’ll probably like this burger. And given its stellar carb to fiber ratio and a solid amount of protein, it might be just what the doctor ordered.

4

Impossible Foods Impossible Burger

Impossible burger veggie burger April Benshosan/Eat This, Not That!

Nutrition: 220 calories, 13 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 430 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, <1 g sugar), 20 g protein

Ingredients: Its base is made of wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, and heme—which lends the burger its meaty taste and aroma.

Appearance & Consistency: This plant-based burger bizarrely looked like a heaping helping of pulled pork. Biting into it revealed an unexpected mushy mouthfeel that somewhat resembled ground meat, but not quite.

Taste: If you’ve ever had jackfruit, you’d probably agree that this pick tasted just like the fibrous fruit. While the outer crust crisped up nicely, that’s about the only part of the burger that tastes like real meat. The fleshy insides, dismayingly, didn’t deliver that flavor.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Given the Impossible Burger is made out to mimic meat’s texture and flavor, I was expecting to be fooled by its plant-based architecture. Not quite. The burger was indeed tasty and undoubtedly more satiating than many of the other candidates, but I wouldn’t deem it a precise beef alternative.

3

Hilary’s Adzuki Bean Burger

Hilarys adzuki bean burger

Nutrition: 180 calories, 7 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 270 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (4 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 4 g protein

Ingredients: The most abundant ingredients include cooked and organic whole grain millet, adzuki beans, and whole grain quinoa as well as organic coconut oil, onion, and sweet potatoes.

Appearance & Consistency: I especially loved that you can see the whole foods lurking in this burger, mostly the curdled quinoa and cubed sweet potatoes. Its overpowering peppery scent foreshadowed its delightfully zingy flavor.

Taste: Just as expected, this burger came with a kick—mostly coming from the chilies, cumin, lime, and apple cider vinegar. Even though Hilary’s offering is marketed as a “bean burger,” the patty had more of a textured quinoa and millet flavor going for it.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Aside from boasting a clean, balanced flavor without an overwhelming amount of salt, we love that one of the main ingredients in this burger is quinoa—a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids (just like meat does), deeming it a solid option for vegetarians and vegans. While Hilary’s bean burger may not play the part of a perfect post-workout meal, given its relatively low protein content, pairing this pick with some extra veggies for fiber and perhaps a dollop of creamy cottage cheese for protein would be your best bet.

2

Amy’s Light In Sodium California Veggie Burger

Amys light sodium california burger

Nutrition: 110 calories, 4 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 5 g protein

Ingredients: Amy’s veggie burger is packed with organic ingredients such as mushrooms, onions, bulgur, celery, carrots, oats, and walnuts.

Appearance & Consistency: Amy’s California burger was fairly small and smelled like truffle fries—a first impression justified by its first ingredient: mushrooms. The cooked bulgur grains and crunchy walnuts dominated this burger’s texture.

Taste: If you’re ever craving a comforting bowl of mushroom risotto, save yourself the unnecessary calories and fat by grilling this veggie burger instead. The patty was rife with umami, garlicky notes that only tasted sinful, and the flavor profile remained authentic to the ingredients.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Taste-wise, this patty deserved an A+. It’s not overly salted and has that satisfying crunch and delicate, earthy ‘shroom flavor that would pair well with a slice of Havarti or melted mozzarella. Nutritionally speaking, the patty doesn’t offer up enough fiber or protein to fill you up, so you’ll want to opt for tossing it on a sprouted whole-grain bun with fresh lettuce and tomato for extra satiating power. However, we do like that most of the healthy fats in this pick come from omega-3-packed walnuts.

1

Beyond Meat Beyond Burger

Beyond burger April Benshosan/Eat This, Not That!

Nutrition: 290 calories, 22 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 450 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 20 g protein

Ingredients: This burger is comprised of non-GMO ingredients such as pea protein isolate, canola oil, and coconut oil.

Appearance & Consistency: In its packaging, the Beyond Burger looks exactly like your regular beef burger (no wonder why it’s placed in the meat section!). Flipping it over revealed an eerily pink, fleshy patty that was in dire need of a direct flame. Although it wasn’t oozing blood and rather beet juice, I left it in the oven to cook well-done. Texture-wise, you wouldn’t be able to tell it apart from ground meat.

Taste: After broiling it for about eight minutes on each side, the oven produced a patty with a slightly charred taste and strikingly meat-like flavor. My sous chef (aka, my mom) agreed that it tastes just like a blended ground chicken and beef burger.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Whether you’re a proud carnivore, devoted vegetarian, or newbie vegan on the verge of caving, you’ve gotta throw this bad boy on the grill. The Beyond Burger is beyond juicy, meaty, and an almost-exact replica of a poultry patty. While it looks, cooks, and even bleeds like a beef burger (chalk that illusion up to the beet juice), it also packs in more than double the amount of iron and nearly half the saturated fat than an 80-percent-lean beef burger. Looking to serve up some shock value at your next backyard BBQ? This pick will do the trick.

Looking for more meatless meals that satisfy? Check out our roundup of 20 Protein-Packed Vegetarian Meals.

No-Diet Weight Loss—Guaranteed!

Look, feel and live great while getting on the path to better health with the new Eat This, Not That! Magazine