The Beyond Burger – a Review of My Dinner

Beyond Meat is a California-based company that makes plant-based food products. They are the creators of the now famous Beyond Burger – a vegan burger patty that, supposedly, looks, tastes and behaves like real beef.

I had read some mixed reviews of this burger – while most agree that it is a very tasty patty, some long-time vegans and vegetarians have also been a bit freaked out by it, due to its meat-like texture and taste.

I personally don’t miss meat, I don’t really get cravings for it, but on the other hand, it’s not easy to find (or make!) a vegan burger that really “feels” like a burger. It’s always very obvious that it’s a substitute – it’s not always a bad thing, but it’s just Not Quite The Same Thing.

So, I finally had the chance to try this burger last night, and to say I was completely stoked about it is an understatement. I even bought a whole jar of pickles! This is a big deal, because I generally don’t eat a lot of pickles, so that jar will probably sit in my fridge for a year or so after the one slice I used for my burger last night, and the other slice I will use for the repeat burger this evening.

Yes, there will be a repeat burger!

 


They come in packages of two patties – in this case, because they were imported (I don’t know of any store in my city that sells them, they came from a specialty store), they were frozen. I thawed them at room temp for about an hour before cooking.

Here are the ingredients and nutrition facts:

 

It’s not necessarily a super-healthy product. 113 g of ground beef has about the same amount of calories, and only slightly more calories from fat. The protein content is about the same.

You get a few bonus nutrients with the Beyond Burger, though: Lots of vitamin C (beef has none), and about double the iron of a beef burger.

A plant based burger also has no cholesterol (compared to 80 mg in a beef patty of the same size), plus it contains dietary fiber which we know is essential for our health. I must say, I thought the fiber content would be higher! I suppose part of making it believable, though, is a higher fat content. I’ll still take it over a beef burger any day!

The list of ingredients, of course, is a lot longer than it would be for a beef burger. It takes some science and filler to make a believable plant-based alternative!

Looking at the list of ingredients, I know what most of them are, but I would say that this burger falls under “processed foods”, so it’s not something you should eat every day of the week. Then again, I don’t think you should eat beef every day of the week either, so…there’s that.

 

 

 

 

 

 


My first reaction when I started cooking it was “it smells like meat”! This was a bit strange, and to be honest, it’s not that appetizing to someone who, in fact, doesn’t eat meat. Now, I knew that it was a plant-based burger that was being cooked which helped, but I think you could actually fool someone with this.
It behaved in a way that is similar to meat – during the cooking process, it released quite a bit of grease, like beef would, but it didn’t shrink. As you can see from the list of ingredients, it has beet juice in it which gives it a slight pink colour, very similar to actual meat. You also get a little bit of that “char” that happens when you fry real meat, and that no veggie burger has, to my knowledge, ever recreated…until now. It’s kind of fascinating, but also a tad unsettling if you have chosen to not eat animal products.

Because it’s winter time, I cooked it in a frying pan, but I am dying to try this on a barbeque some time – I think it would be absolutely perfect!

It’s judgment time!

Look at that.

Doesn’t it look like beef to you?

I was actually mildly freaked out by the first bite, because the flavour and mouthfeel were so similar to the real thing. Keep in mind that it’s been a while since I HAD the real thing! An interesting test would be to feed this burger to an omnivore and see what they thought, maybe even side by side with a “real” burger. To me, the texture was incredibly real, but not to the point where it grossed me out, which I have heard happens to some long-time vegans when they try this.

For me, knowing that it’s made out of plants was enough to allow me to enjoy it…and enjoy it, I did!

I put in on a sesame bun along with lettuce, mayo, tomato, pickles, a slice of Chao, ketchup and mustard and served with fries.

 

Final Verdict.

Issa good burger. 10/10 would eat again. And other examples of social media jargon that I don’t quite understand.

Cons: Not available in grocery stores where I live. Could be considered a bit too real as far as texture and flavour goes. Also, the patty is quite a bit smaller than your average burger bun!

Pros: Great flavour! Didn’t have to season at all. No animals had to suffer for this burger, which is always a plus. I personally liked the “realness” of it – the slightly charred outside vs. the pink-ish inside. If you have recently gone plant-based and really craving a beef burger, this is perfect. I also really think it would be a good option to serve to your omnivore friends and family, as an example of how good vegan food can actually be. I’m not sure it would fool a meat-eater…but I am definitey having another burger for dinner tonight!


-M.

Recipe Post: Vegan Taco Pockets (Video)

Earlier this week, I went to a potluck and made a vegan wellington to bring with me. Everyone loved it, but that recipe is not mine – came from the wonderful people over at Tasty. After making it, I had a sheet of puff pastry left that I needed to use up, as well as some various leftovers that were sitting in my fridge, just waiting to be used.

So…I made some “Taco Pockets”. I don’t know if Taco Pockets are actually a thing, but…they are now! In the process, I made a cooking video – mostly because I wanted to try making one!

Here are the ingredients I used:

1 sheet of puff pastry

1 1/2 cup of Gardein beefless ground

1/2-1 cup of  Diced Tomatoes (and their juice)

1 tsp Chili Powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp chopped cilantro

salt & pepper to taste

Optional: I added some homemade nacho cheese sauce that I had on hand (recipe from the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook)

Vegan cheese shreds (I used Daiya)

Serve with salsa, vegan sour cream of your choice, and diced avocado. This was a really easy and very, very tasty recipe – it made 6 taco pockets, I ate 4 in one sitting and the last two for lunch the next day. I hope you’ll give them a try!

-M.
 

My Favourite Vegan Cookbooks

While the internet is an amazing resource for finding recipes and cooking tips, to me, having a few actual cookbooks in my library has been absolutely invaluable. Having the ability to sit down and flip through a book to find inspiration is something that has made vegan cooking really enjoyable, and really DOABLE for me.

There are thousands of vegan websites out there, and probably as many vegan cokbooks to choose from – in this post, I am sharing a few of my favourite vegan cookbooks, books that I use on a weekly basis and that contain recipes that both the vegans and omnivores in your life will enjoy!

Alright, let’s get cooking!

1. The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Vegan Recipes To Glow From The Inside Out by Angela Liddon.

My copy of this book has almost disintegrated from all its use. It’s full of food stains, fingerprints and post-it notes.

Angela’s recipes are easy to follow, and the ingredients are easy to find in most regular grocery stores. Every dish in this book that I have tried so far has been really tasty, and the non-vegan friends I have fed have really enjoyed the meals too.

Favourite recipe to try: The Life Affirming Warm Nacho Dip (p. 83). This dip quickly became a staple at my house, and was repeatedly requested by my omni husband!

Angela Liddon also wrote a follow-up book, called “Oh She Glows Every Day” – it is just as good as the first one!

 

2. La Dolce Vegan!: Vegan Livin’ Made Easy by Sarah Kramer

The first vegan cookbook I ever bought!
While it hasn’t gotten quite as much use as the previous book on the list, this is an excellent choice for the brand new vegan – especially if cooking scares you a little bit. The recipes are simple, tasty, and a breeze to follow. If you are curious about getting into vegan baking, this is the book to buy! I make the chapati flatbreads (p. 267) at least once a week, and have tried most of the bread loaves with success!

Favourite recipe to try: Black Bean & Sweet Potato Burritos (p. 158). If you know anyone who thinks vegan food can’t be filling or satifying, this is the recipe to feed them. Vegan comfort food at its best.

Sarah Kramer has written several cookbooks – I have only tried this one but I have heard great things about her other books as well!

3. Vegan with a Vengeance, 10th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock  by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

I bought this book on a whim when I went to a local VegFest a few months ago, and it turned out to be a really awesome purchase.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the creator of the public access cooking show “The Post Punk Kitchen”, and I believe this was her first cookbook (don’t quote me on that). This book has a great NYC punk vibe with less pictures and more information!

The recipes might be slightly more complicated than the previous two, but don’t be discouraged – this is not science. It’s fun, tasty, everyday food that you can feed your whole family or a bunch of friends, and they will probably ask for seconds. The main dishes are the best part of this book, but it also has a great dessert and snacks chapter!

Favourite recipe to try: Brooklyn Pad Thai (p. 180). I crave this pad thai. It is so good – you’ll feel very chef-y when you make it and taste it for the first time!

 

4. Vegan for Everybody: Foolproof Plant-Based Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and In-Between by America’s Test Kitchen.

I love this book. At first glance, some of the recipes look complicated, but once you try one, you’ll realize that it goes smoothly, because America’s Test Kitchen has already done the failing for you. I love that they explain what the different ingredients do for any given recipe, and that they mention what they tried that DIDN’T work, and why. This is a great read, outside of the recipes, for anyone who is interested in great vegan cooking, as you will learn all kinds of new culinary skills! This is for the budding plant-based chef in you.

Favourite recipe to try: Mushroom Bolognese (p. 186). This Bolognese could trick a meat-eater. It’s the recipe that my copy of this book automatically opens to because I have made it so many times. Delicious! You will also want to try the Fudgy Brownies (p. 278). Nobody will believe these are vegan!

 

Bonus Book Tip: Ani’s Raw Food Desserts: 85 Easy, Delectable Sweets and Treats by Ani Phyo.


While I don’t follow a raw vegan diet, it really is a superb place to look for sweet treats that are actually good for you. I love making things from this book to bring to potlucks, because people are always amazed at how tasty they are, and when you explain that they’re actually healthy, it seems to make everyone happy!

The difficulty level varies in this little book – most recipes are super-easy, some are a bit more complicated, but every single one I have tried has been really decadent-tasting and oh so delicious!

Favourite recipe to try: Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake (p. 49). With a cake made from nuts and dates, and a frosting that is avocado-based, this lovely dessert will make your whole body tingle!

 

I hope you enjoy these books and have lots of fun cooking and testing recipes!

-M.