The best veggie patties taste like vegetables—and that’s a good thing.
The new(ish) plant-based burger made by Beyond Meat is one of the first to truly rival a beef burger (Impossible Burger also has a meat-esq plant-based burger). Chefs, like Richard Landau of Philadelphia’s Vedge, and the food media (ahem, sister brand Food & Wine) have given it two thumbs up for its flavor, texture, and beef burger likeness. In fact, it’s been referred to as “the plant-based burger that ‘bleeds’.”
That, coupled with Beyond Meat’s recent announcement that they raised $55 million to fuel an expansion—they’re backed by industry heavyweights like Tyson Foods as well as personalities like Leonardo DiCaprio—shows how quickly this product is taking off.
But (getting real here) what’s so epic about this “bleeding” plant-based burger?
Beyond Meat burgers are tasty, sure. I agree that they mimic a beef burger much more than other veggie burgers on the market. But—people—there are So. Many. Veggie. Burgers. Available. Grocery stores stock them, restaurants serve them, and the internet is chock full of DIY recipes.
And many of them are absolutely delicious. Frankly, when this omnivore wants a veggie burger, she doesn’t want something that tastes like beef. That’s what beef is for.
I want to taste beans or mushrooms or—gasp—both in all their delicious, vegetable glory. I want to sink my teeth into the toothsome chew of a grain-packed burger (perhaps topped with creamy avocado and greens and sandwiched between two slices of hearty bread). And for those vegetarians and vegans—out there, getting by on fake meat seems counterintuitive.
Some people (or, heck, a lot of people) may really want a plant-based burger that “bleeds.” I imagine that those folks are sausage-loving, steak-grilling, rib aficionados that will never enjoy the finer points of well-seasoned and perfectly grilled tofu. I get that.
And too many Americans don’t eat enough vegetables. So if a “veggie” burger packed with beet “blood” helps Americans up their veggie game and get more of the nutrients they’re falling short on (and less of the nutrients that aren’t so healthy), I’m in support. But a true veggie burger—with veggies in it—is likely going to deliver more fiber, less saturated fat, and, (in some brands), just as much protein as a hamburger.
So let’s not make the other veggie burgers obsolete. Because as much as I love a perfectly grilled hamburger (that, yes, bleeds), when I take a night off meat, my first inclination is not a faux beef burger—it’s enjoying some vegetables.