Photo: Courtesy of Impossible Foods

Harold and Kumar go to get vegan burgers?

Tim Nelson
April 12, 2018

You wouldn’t exactly expect White Castle, a greasy burger joint famous for its sliders and for serving as the inspiration for Harold and Kumar’s stoned odyssey, to be among the first to offer a high-tech vegan burger. But then again, neither would you expect a plant-based patty to look, taste, and—yes— ’bleed’ like the real thing either.

It turns out Impossible Foods and White Castle truly are teaming up to release the “Impossible Slider,” set to debut today at 140 White Castle locations in the northeast and around Chicago. (Find out what one of our writers thought after trying the Impossible burger.) Cravers can expect the same style of signature slider the purveyor of square mini burgers has always been known for, except with an ethical twist. Each bleeding slider will come topped with smoked cheddar cheese (rendering it vegetarian rather than vegan), pickles, and onions for $1.99 each.

Courtesy White Castle

It’s a big move for Impossible, a major player in the expanding ersatz meat category. At  220 calories, 13g of fat, 10g of saturated fat, and 20g of protein, for a regular-sized patty, it's not that much healthier than a regular burger. But some find that it tastes pretty realistic as well. The soy leghemoglobin patty does such a convincing job of recreating real ground beef that its earned a David Chang co-sign. Impossible Foods has said it plans to double production capacity in the months ahead, just over a year after bringing their first full-scale production plant online.

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And while it’s earned a prominent place on the menu at over 1,000 higher-end restaurants and burger joints, the White Castle partnership marks Impossible’s proper entry into the relatively affordable fast food market. Maybe the small sliders played a role in Impossible’s partnership decision, but it’s certainly a major coup for White Castle.

“The fact that we are the first-fast food chain to offer the Impossible Burger to our loyal customers epitomizes our history of being on the 'bleeding edge' of a rapidly evolving industry," said the chain’s CEO Lisa Ingram.

While the burger may be small, introducing a plant-based patty that can satisfy our carnal cravings is certainly a big deal. Hopefully a successful trial run will eventually make the Impossible dream a reality at White Castles across the nation.