I Grilled Every Veggie Burger I Could Get My Hands on. Now These Are the Only Ones I’ll Buy.
Gone are the days when Boca Burgers and Gardenburgers were the only players in the freezer case. Now there are tons of brands, and each one offers a whole range of flavors.
We tried almost all of them, and most have their merits, but not all are ideal for the grill. Some are too soft to stand up to the grates. Others are already so dry, the flames turn them into bricks. And some come in such unusual flavors they don’t work with the usual burger condiments. We wanted to find a meatless burger that could satisfy our craving for the real thing, and take the heat of the grill.
So which veggie burger was up to the task?
Beyond Meat Plant-Based Burger Patties, $6 for eight ounces at Target
If you want a burger that tastes, looks, and feels like the real thing, but don’t want to eat beef, the Beyond Meat burger patties are the gold standard. Unlike most veggie burgers, these are juicy — so much so, they’ll cause flare-ups on the grill. They get the ground-beef texture just right and even cook up pink in the middle, too. One of our tasters declared, “Forget ground beef, let’s always buy these!”
Made with 20 grams of pea protein per patty, they’re free of soy, gluten, and GMOs. The only trouble is they’re fairly pricey at $6 to $7 for two 1/4-pound patties, and they have just as much fat as regular ground beef burgers made with 80% lean meat: 20 grams in each four-ounce serving. Because that price point, and nutritional profile, can be a little hard for some people to swallow, we rounded up some other good options beyond Beyond Meat.
Beefy flavor but smaller: Yves Gluten-Free Veggie Burger, $5.50 for 10.6 ounces at Kroger
These vegan patties are about half the size of the Beyond Meat patties, and they have a fraction of the fat (6 grams per 2.5-ounce patty). And they offer a distinctly savory and smoky-charred flavor that makes them taste very similar to a grilled burger patty. If you need to avoid soy, however, look elsewhere.
Same size but sweeter flavor: Amy’s Quarter Pound Veggie Burgers, $7.50 for 16 ounces at Publix
Onions are the second ingredient in these soy-based patties, and it shows. But that allium-forward flavor profile goes great with traditional burger condiments, and we like how these patties are big enough to really fill out a bun. Those onions, plus a bit of cane sugar and molasses, give these burgers a sweeter flavor than others we tried, but they’re also packed with veggies like bell peppers and carrots, plus mustard and vinegar for some punch.
Similarly juicy: Morningstar Farms Grillers, $5 for nine ounces at Target
These patties cooked up impressively juicy on the grill, with an almost sausage-like texture. This is great, considering most veggie burgers we’ve tried are dry and pasty or cakey. However, they’re half the size of Beyond Meat not as beefy in flavor. In fact, these are almost a blank canvas. These patties won’t stand out, but they won’t detract either.
Soy free and protein packed: Dr. Praeger’s All-American Veggie Burgers, $6 for eight ounces at Publix
If you like the idea of Beyond Meat because it’s soy-free, gluten-free, and packed with pea protein, but don’t like the fat content and additives, try this one. The 1/4-pound patties have 28 grams of plant protein and they manage to avoid most of the gums and fillers Beyond Meat and other brands have. The ingredient list is blessedly simple, and the patties have just 11 grams of fat each. They cook up more soft and mushy rather than beefy and juicy, but they still hold up well on the grill.