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:
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!
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.
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!