Taste Test: Best Veggie Burgers
Veggie burgers make a quick and healthy meal. But which ones taste best?
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
Veggie burgers have come a long way, baby! They've definitely graduated from the lackluster vegetarian burgers I used to buy back in Berkeley, circa 1985. I still love to have meatless meals, and veggie burgers make a quick, convenient entree. Of course, not all veggie burgers are created equal. So below, you'll find my picks for the best veggie burgers you can buy (along with a recipe for a dressed-up version).
But first, a few words for people who aren't sure they're ready to go veggie when it comes to burgers. Being a longtime veggie burger consumer, I developed five sure-fire tips to make you a veggie burger lover for life.
Veggie Burger Tip No. 1: Trial and Error
Everyone has different tastes, and you may need to try several brands of burgers before you find one that works for you personally. My husband and I both like the Vegetable Masala Burger with Indian spices from Trader Joe's, and I also like the Garden Burgers at my regular supermarket. My husband? Not so much.
Veggie Burger Tip No. 2: Very Veggie or Beef Burger Look-a-Like?
Decide whether you're looking for a burger that is trying to pose as beef or one that is unapologetic about featuring vegetables. Both types are available in most supermarkets these days. Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers are literally green, and contain chunks of vegetables. This burger is undeniably all about veggies, and I rather like that. But if you aren't into the "green burger scene," you may want to choose another.
Veggie Burger Tip No. 3: Use a Spritz of Cooking Spray
Some veggie burgers -- like Amy's Chicago Veggie Burger -- benefit from a light coat of olive or canola oil cooking spray before you put them in a nonstick skillet or on the grill. This helps them to brown up and appear less dry.
Veggie Burger Tip No. 4: Dress Them Up
Throw some cheese or condiments on top of your veggie burger for extra fun and flavor. Check out the Indian Blue Veggie Burger recipe below for one example. Keep your sandwich low in fat by using condiments like mustard, honey mustard, catsup, BBQ sauce, and balsamic vinegar. If you like cheese, use a small amount of a high-flavor cheese, or try a reduced-fat type. Other high-flavor toppings include avocado, pesto made with olive or canola oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh herbs like basil or salsa.
Veggie Burger Tip No. 5: The Ultimate Quick Meal Option
Veggie burgers can be a simple weekday lunch for one or two, or they can be a quick dinner for harried weeknights. They keep in the freezer, usually in individual wrappers, and you can heat up one or two in five minutes.
The Best Veggie Burgers
Have I met a veggie burger I didn't like? Definitely. Are there plenty of great-tasting veggie burgers worth buying again and again? Absolutely. Check out the table below and see which ones sound like they would interest you.
1. Amy's Chicago Veggie Burger
2. Amy's All American Veggie Burger
3. Boca Garden Vegetable Meatless Burgers