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Plant Based Burger Review Update: Fall 2020

This is not a food blog. My one indulgence into the culinary milieu however is my ongoing search for great burger replacements. I originally wrote up a blurb on plant-based burgers a couple of years back.

For context, you can roughly devide plant burgers into two styles: Meat Imitation/Replacement and Veggie Patties. Back during my original blurb, there were really two viable chices in the meat-replacement category, Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger. Furthermore, in the grocer, only Beyond burger was available for making at home. Today, there are a lot more. All options below are available at grocers (at least in California, your region may differ).

Plant based burgers are still more expensive than the meat based originals. For example, Burger King sells the Impossible Whopper for seven and change, but the you can get two regular Whoppers for five. Hopefully this changes over time. It probably will remain this way for a while, given how the industry has spent so much on R&D on these products.

Fall 2020 Update: Plant-based Burger Rankings

  1. Impossible burger:
    • Top choice overall.
    • The texture was already the closest, and the 4.0 update to their recipe which rolled out in 2019 improved the flavor. It’s still mild flavor relative to beef. It’s not going to punch you in the face with meatiness.
    • It’s cool and almost disconcerting how the burger “bleeds”. This is what 9 figures of R&D get you I guess.
  2. Open Nature Plant Based Patties
    • A bit of a surprise here in a brand I’d not heard of without marketing that reaches me placed so high.
    • Overall great texture and good flavor.
  3. Beyond Burger
    • They also have an improved recipe and does that bleeding thing like the Impossible (not as much though).
    • The flavor has a distinctive note to it. It’s not a bad flavor, just unique. It won’t overpower strong sauces, but it is notable.
    • Texture and juiciness is still great.
  4. Sweet Earth Awesome Burger
    • A solid choice, edged out just barely by Beyond and Open Nature’s options.
    • Good texture and mild flavor.
  5. Lightlife
    • Just ok. reasonable texture but missing any real meatiness flavor
  6. Morning Star’s Incogmeato
    • Good texture, but flavor was a little flat.
    • This one in particular, you will want ot season it a bit.
  7. Laura’s Plant Based burgers
    • Similar to Lightlife. A bit dry.
  8. Trader Joe’s Protein Patties
    • Not terrible, but not great
    • It’s kind of like a poor substitue to the beyond burger

Most of the remaining alternatives I’ve tried since the original 2018 post were either veggie patties or more like veggie patties than meat replacement.

Summing it all up

Impossible still rules the roost. Open Nature and Beyond represent a great second tier of choices.

There’s a large middle class of decent, but not great brands, including Lightlife, Incogmeato, and Laura’s.

If possible, stick to the top 3 or 4 on the list. There’s a bit of a drop off after that.

Still to try:

  • Emerge
  • Garden Gourmet
  • Uncut

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