Illustration: Christina Harrison Text: Daniel Boone

Meatless burger options are plentiful these days. You can take your pick of protein source (soy, beans, grains, nuts, or vegetables); then choose your flavor which can range from smoky and flame-grilled to nutty and earthy. This many choices can be overwhelming, so we’ve done the work for you and narrowed down our favorites depending on the type of burger you’re looking for.

December 08, 2016

Taste Test Winners:

Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burger

Carrots, corn, spinach, broccoli, and zucchini are the key ingredients and offer a fresh, veggie-forward flavor. Mashed soybeans provide protein as well as a creamy binder to hold the burger’s shape. If you’re wanting a true vegetable burger, this is the one to buy. $3.99 for 4 burgers, vegan

Calories 120; Fat 5g (sat 1g); Protein 5g; Carb 14g; Fiber 4g; Sugars 1g; Chol 0mg; Iron 1mg; Sodium 240mg; Calc 40mg

Amy's California Veggie Burger

Don’t let the vegan label turn you away; these burgers are hearty and flavorful thanks to a blend of whole grains, mushrooms, veggies, and walnuts. The flavor is slightly nutty, making them a versatile for a range of toppings. $6.99 for 4 burgers, vegan

Calories 150; Fat 5g (sat 0.5g); Protein 6g; Carb 21g; Fiber 4g; Sugars 2g; Chol 0mg; Iron 2mg; Sodium 500mg; Calc 20mg

Boca All American Flame Grilled Meatless Burgers

Our favorite “meaty” burger, this one’s a good choice if you’re looking for veggie burger that tastes similar to a traditional hamburger. The burger’s flavor is smoky and savory, and the texture is slightly chewy - similar to that of a cooked beef patty. $2.99 for 4 burgers, vegetarian

Calories 120; Fat 4.5g (sat 1.5g); Protein 15g; Carb 5g; Fiber 4g; Sugars 0g; Chol 5mg; Iron 2mg; Sodium 350mg; Calc 150mg

Others We Liked:

Trader Joe's Pizza Veggie Burgers with Tomato Basil and Mozzarella Cheese

Basil, mozzarella cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes added a nice flavor change and made this burger stand out. If you’re wanting to venture from the traditional veggie burger, this Italian-inspired one is a great choice to try. $3.79 for 4 burgers, vegetarian

Calories 130 Fat 7g (sat 1g); Protein 9g; Carb 7g; Fiber 4g; Sugars 2g; Chol 5mg; Iron 2mg; Sodium 360mg; Calc 100mg

MorningStar Farms Spicy Indian Veggie Burgers

Made with lentils, chickpeas, carrots, peas, and potatoes, this patty had a spicy curry flavor with a hint of garlic and lemongrass. It also had a nice crispy, firm texture. We liked this burger best when served without a bun and topped with small dab of chili mayo or mango chutney. $4.89 for 4 burgers, vegan

Calories 130; Fat 8g (sat 1g); Protein 6g; Carb 11g; Fiber 5g; Sugars 1g; Chol 0mg; Iron 1mg; Sodium 370mg; Calc 40mg

MorningStar Farms Roasted Garlic & Quinoa Burgers

The roasted garlic is nice, not too strong, in this veggie burger that is made primarily of lentils, brown rice, and carrots. The patty crisped nicely in the skillet, and the burger’s flavor is versatile enough to pair with a variety of condiments like tzatziki sauce or chutney. $4.89 for 4 burgers, vegan

Calories 130; Fat 8g (sat 1g); Protein 7g; Carb 12g; Fiber 7g; Sugars 1g; Chol 0mg; Iron 1mg; Sodium 350mg; Calc 40mg

Gardenburger The Original Veggie Burgers

One of the first veggie burgers on the market, these are still a great stand-by. The burgers are juicy with a strong mushroom and onion flavor that allows you to dress them up however you like. $3.99 for 4 burgers, vegetarian

Calories 110; Fat 3g (sat 1.5g); Protein 5g; Carb 16g; Fiber 4g; Sugars 0g; Chol 5mg; Iron 1mg; Sodium 490mg; Calc 40mg

Boca Original Vegan Veggie Burgers

These are a great “meaty” burger option that just happens to be vegan. The soy-based burgers have a smoky flavor, crispy outside, and pleasantly soft inside. Add a bun and classic burger topping to enjoy fully. $2.79 for 4 burgers, vegan

Calories 70; Fat 0.5g (sat 0g); Protein 13g; Carb 6g; Fiber 4g; Sugars 0g; Chol 0mg; Iron 2mg; Sodium 280mg; Calc 60mg

Things to Look For:

  • Protein: Since the veggie burger is often the meal's primary protein source, make sure it offers an ample amount to keep you full and satisfied. Look for one with 5g or more per burger.
  • Colorings and Additives: Some veggie burgers have lots of added colorings, flavorings, preservatives, and fillers, so compare the ingredient list among brands. Typically, the simpler the ingredient list, the healthier.
  • Sodium: Veggie burgers aren’t something you think of as a major sodium source, but thanks to added preservatives and flavorings, the sodium can creep up. Look for one that has 500mg or less of sodium, especially if you’re pairing with a bun and condiments.

How We Tested

Only frozen foods that met Cooking Light’s nutrition guidelines were tested. Products were eliminated based on the following: lack of calorie and/or protein adequacy, lack of whole grains, presence of trans fat or hydrogenation, presence of significant added sugars, and presence of artificial coloring or sweeteners. All frozen foods were cooked according to package directions and taste tested by a panel of Cooking Light editors and staff. To ensure consistency, Breville microwaves were used to cook all foods.