Tag Archives: veggie burger

Veggie Burgers can save the Environment

We’ve written before about how a vegan diet produces much less greenhouse gases, water pollution, soil erosion and ecological destruction. But some people wonder whether meat substitutes such as veggie burgers, dogs and chicken are any better. The answer is yes, they are much better!

A European study showed that the food and animal feed system is closely linked to planetary health, and that dietary shifts towards healthy foods, such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, are needed for environmental sustainability.

The study also found that vegetable meat alternatives and vegetable milk alternatives have significantly less environmental impact than their animal-based counterparts. While they may not be quite as sustainable as unprocessed plant foods, the difference is small compared to the transportation and processing of meat.

In fact, if everyone in America were to reduce meat consumption by even a quarter, and eat meat substitutes like veggie burgers, it would save 82 million metric tons of greenhouse emissions each year. The Beyond Meat burger uses 99% less water, 93% less land and 90% less fossil fuel emissions, while the Impossible Burger uses 87% less water, 96% less land, and 89% less fossil fuel emissions than a quarter pound of regular ground beef.

So, there you have it. There are substantial advantages to eating meat substitutes, compared to eating meat. As the sale of meat substitutes continue to grow, we can expect the benefit to the environment to grow as well.

Veggie Burger Recipes

While many people enjoy a veggie patty bought frozen from the grocery store, it is not hard to make your own, and well worth the effort. Making your own veggie burgers can give you a lot of scope for experimenting with different flavors.

If you are planning on cooking it on the grill, you will want to ensure that your veggie burger holds together well. Potato starch (powder or flour) is a great ingredient to help bind the patty together, without using eggs. Cooking your burgers in a skillet or on a baking tray in the oven can allow you more leeway in its texture, which may be safer the first time you make them!

There are many veggie burger recipes available online, but here are two of my favorites:

Black Bean Burgers

Makes 6 moderate burgers, or 4 large ones

Ingredients:
• 2 slices of whole-wheat toast (or 1 cup breadcrumbs)
• 1 small onion – chopped
• 1 cup cooked brown rice
• 2 cups black beans
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 2 tablespoons ketchup
• ¼ cup potato powder (or more)


Preheat the oven to 350 F, or warm up the grill.

Put all the remaining ingredients except the potato powder into a Food Processor. Pulse and mix until
well combined. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl, and sprinkle in the potato powder, kneading it
into the mixture until you have a soft dough. Add as much powder as needed so that it holds together
well.

Split the mixture into 6 balls, rolled in your hand, then flatten them to the thickness desired. If cooking
in an oven, place them on a baking tray, sprayed with oil to prevent sticking. Bake for about 12 minutes,
then turn over and bake for 10 more minutes. Cooking times on the grill will depend on the heat of the
grill. Spray the grill with oil first to prevent sticking. Turn over the patties when lightly browned, to
brown on both sides.

Serve alone, with salads, or as a traditional burger in a bun with all the fixings.

Chickpea Burgers

Makes 6 burger patties

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed, or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup cooked bulgur or brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup potato flour, or enough to make a stiff dough
  • Vegetable oil spray

Place the sesame seeds in a heavy skillet.  Cook and stir over medium heat for 2-3 mins, until the seeds become fragrant and begin to pop. Grind them in a small spice grinder and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Place the beans in a food processor and pulse until chopped, or coarsely mash the beans with a potato masher, leaving some chunks.

Add the chopped beans to the vegetable mixture along with the cooked bulgur or rice, soy sauce, curry powder, cumin, salt, coriander and cayenne.  Mix thoroughly.

Stir in just enough of the potato flour to form a stiff dough.  Knead for 30 seconds and form into 6 patties. Lightly mist a nonstick skillet with vegetable oil spray. Cook the patties in the skillet over medium heat for about 2 mins, until the bottoms are lightly browned. Turn the patties over, and cook for 2 mins longer, until lightly browned. Serve hot.

Celebrate National Veggie Burger Day!

Impossible Burger

When it comes to combining flavor and plant power, National Veggie Burger Day every year on June 5th proclaims it can be done!

Packed with flavor, protein, and nutrients, veggie burgers show up at backyard barbecues, tailgate parties, and on the menus of even high-class restaurants. Grill them, fry them or bake them. Layer all your favorite toppings like onion, tomato, Romaine lettuce, ketchup, and mustard between a crusty roll or bun and take a big juicy bite. That’s one way to celebrate this flavorful day.

Don’t hesitate to add your favorite side dishes, too. For example, grilled cauliflower or broccoli, a zucchini noodle salad, or roasted vegetable salad with quinoa. Other options include grilled corn on the cob and sweet potatoes. Round out the meal with a crisp, cool beverage to complement your veggie burger.

National Veggie Burger Day was first established by Amy’s, an all-vegetarian food company, in 2007. But the veggie burger, a foundational food for many vegetarians and vegans, has an interesting history. According to the National Veggie Burger folks, recipes on how to make burgers without meat appear in print first appeared in 1969. In 1982, restaurateur Gregory Sams invented a veggie burger, which was introduced in London. Then in 1984, frozen versions of the VegeBurger began to appear in grocery stores. In 1992, the first branded veggie burger, the Gardenburger was launched in the frozen section of grocery story, and soon after the Boca Burger was born.

Here in 2021, veggie burgers of every kind are widely available, with taste and consistencies varying from “as much like meat as possible” to whole plant-food patties. Today’s veggie burgers offer a great variety of interesting ingredients, ranging from kelp to quinoa to mushroom to black beans.  Some think that the veggie burger, and the variety of options available, is one of the things that has helped to propel the vegetarian movement to where it is now, and the popularity of the newest meat-like veggie burgers is certainly encouraging many a meat-eater to give it a try, creating new converts all the time.

Try making some veggie burgers of your own, with this month’s recipes.

Big News from McDonald’s: the McPlant Burger and Chicken

This is important. McDonald’s has almost 14,000 restaurants in the United States (and 39,000 world wide) and is finally rolling out vegan options to all its stores.

McDonald’s is developing what it calls a plant-based platform called the McPlant that will debut in markets around the world early next year. McDonald’s confirms creation of McPlant plant-based burger and the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, which will debut in 2021. McDonald’s has finally joined the plant-based burger battle and Chicken Sandwich War.

The plant-based chicken sandwich announcements were part of the company’s new growth strategy called “Accelerating the Arches.” The strategy includes a commitment to the core menu. In the future, McPlant could extend across a line of plant-based products. Interestingly, instead of buying existing products and incorporating them into their menu, McPlant is crafted exclusively for McDonald’s and by McDonald’s. They’re going it alone.

Compared to some other fast food chains in the U.S., McDonald’s has been something of a laggard. Burger King has worked with Impossible Foods to launch the Impossible Whopper, and Beyond Meat has partnered with KFC on a plant-based nugget. These two leading alternative protein makers have done a fairly good job of carving up the fast food market to date — but the McDonald’s entry with its exclusive formulation must come as a blow to these companies (and the other startups that were hoping for a bite of the McDonald’s food empire).

The veg movement is making progress. Some of us thought we would never see the fast food restaurants serve vegan meals in our lifetimes, but it seems that all the major chains are now embracing the concept, making it much easier to find vegan options on the road and hopefully encouraging many more people to give it a try.

Not your father’s veggie burger

Veggie burgers ain’t what (and where) they used to be. The food industry has been making one innovation after the other and spreading the availability of veggie burgers far and wide, including some unexpected places.

McVegan

The new McVegan

A few days ago, news broke that rocked the veggie burger landscape: McDonald’s, yes McDonald’s, is testing a vegan burger. Meet the McVegan. Hoping to quietly test the McVegan away from the attention of the American public, McDonald’s went to a far away, really far away, place, Finland. Yup! the future of the new McDonald’s vegan burger is in the hands of the Finns. But don’t worry, they won’t let us down. The new McVegan is already getting rave reviews. If the test goes well, we may just find the new vegan burger right here at home.

Impossible cheeseburger

The Impossible Burger

 

Meanwhile, when the good people at Impossible Foods said they were going to make a veggie burger so realistic it will bleed and even char just like a juicy hamburger, many people said that’s “impossible.”  But they’ve done it, and it is quickly being made available around the country. The burger contains no animal fat, yet the flavor profile mimics that of 80/20 ground beef. Before it’s seasoned and layered with toppings, a nearly three-ounce patty clocks in at 220 calories and costs $13 – a little pricey but the price has been coming down.

Many people see a very profitable future for the new Impossible Burger. That’s why Impossible Foods secured $80 million over five years to develop the product that was later backed by Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures. The Impossible Burger is not yet available here in Washington but it’s getting close. The Impossible Burger is available in St. Helena in northern California. Because they use no animal products, the Impossible Burger uses a fraction of the Earth’s natural resources. Compared to cows, the Impossible Burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions. And of course, no animals were hurt in the making of these burgers!

This Veggie Burger bleeds!

Impossible cheeseburgerThere’s now a veggie burger that actually bleeds! But don’t worry, it’s not real blood, just part of the new trend of making meat substitutes, or as the industry calls them meat analogues, as much like the real thing as possible, but without the meat of course. Scientists at the company Impossible Foods company say they’ve managed to mimic the particular mouth-feel of meat by using bioengineered plant “blood,” reports the Wall Street Journal. It reportedly even tastes slightly metallic like real blood.

The three-year-old company has so far created a hamburger that’s supposed to look, feel, taste and cook just like the real thing, or something close to it. Scientists in the company’s labs sniff cooking meat smells and make notes, testing the real thing in different ways to gain insight into how to replicate it.

There’s a spectrum of needs when it comes to the requirements of vegetarians for meat analogues. Some people either don’t need meat substitutes or only need a vague resemblance. At the other end are those people who need something to eat as close to meat as possible but, of course, made with only plant ingredients.  Others fall somewhere in between. This product is intended to attract the hard core meat eaters who might need something a little more real, including simulated blood and juices.

The vegetarian food industry and their scientists seem hard at work producing what’s called hyper-real animal products. Please see our previous posting for other products in the making, some of which are expected to be available for sale soon.