8 Best Veggie Burgers for Your Meat-Free Routine, Including Two Easy Recipes
By Lisa Wartenberg
If you once gave veggie burgers a try but wrote them off as rubbery or bland, think again. Thanks to the rise of plant-forward diets, flavorless hockey pucks are a thing of the past.
Even if you're not a vegetarian or vegan, a plant-forward diet — which emphasizes plant foods but incorporates small amounts of meat — can increase your overall fiber intake, which lowers your risk of obesity and weight gain.
A great veggie burger can be substantive, as well as bursting with flavor, vegetables, and legumes. Some can also be mistaken for beef patties.
Whether you're looking for a veggie-based or imitation meat burger, you're bound to hit a winner in this list.
Here are the 8 best veggie burgers based on their nutritional profile, ingredients, texture, appearance, and taste.
1–3. Veggie-Based Burgers
Veggie- and legume-based burgers are nutritious and fiber-filled — as well as versatile. You can put them on a bed of greens, sandwich them in a hamburger bun, or crumble them into a grain bowl.
Keep in mind that the burgers below are not trying to imitate meat, so don't expect them to have the look, taste, or consistency of animal-based products.
Veggie- and legume-based burgers are typically lower in protein than imitation meat burgers.
The downside of frozen and store-bought veggie burgers is that they can heap on the sodium.
Excess sodium intake is associated with high blood pressure and a higher risk of heart disease. Most people should get less than 2,400 mg (2.4 grams) of sodium per day — that's the equivalent of about 1 teaspoon of salt.
The best veggie burgers have 440 mg of sodium or less.
1. Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers
This is an old stand-by. Dr. Praeger's carries a range of plant-based products, but this is touted as their most popular burger — with good reason. Their California burger blends peas, carrots, broccoli, soy protein, and spinach to satisfaction.
However, Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers are milk-free, peanut-free, shellfish-free, and tree-nut-free, making them a good choice for anyone with these food allergies or sensitivities.
They work particularly well when topped with avocados.
If you can't find Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers at your local store, they're available online.
2. Hilary's Adzuki Bean BurgerThis burger combines millet, adzuki beans, and quinoa. Adzuki beans are a sweet Japanese red bean, complemented here with spice and sweet potato. Quinoa is considered a whole grain and delivers all nine essential amino acids. These all come together with peppery notes and a spicy kick.
Every 3.2-ounce (91-gram) burger packs 10% of the folate, magnesium, and iron DV into 180 calories. It only supplies a moderate amount of sodium, at 270 mg, or 11% of the DV. While it provides 15% of the DV for fiber, it only has 4 grams of protein — so you may want to pair it with another source of protein like cheese, yogurt, tahini, legumes, or milk to round it out into a full meal. What's more, all of Hilary's products are vegan and free of the 12 most common food allergens. To buy Hilary's Adzuki Bean Burger, check your local supermarket or shop online.
3. Trader Joe's Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burger
If you're after a bold, bean-packed flavor, look no further than the Quinoa Cowboy burger.
It combines tricolor quinoa, black beans, and a kick of Southwestern flare in ingredients like jalapeño, corn, and bell peppers. Egg white powder adds a bit more protein.
Every 3.2-ounce (91-gram) patty packs 5 grams of protein, 280 grams of sodium, and 6 grams of fiber, which is 25% of the DV.
Toast these or heat these on a nonstick pan on your stovetop to get a crispy exterior and creamy center.
You can shop for Trader Joe's Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burger locally or online.
SUMMARY: Veggie- and legume-based burgers generally aren't trying to imitate beef. Instead, they pack chunks of veggies, whole grains, legumes, and other protein sources into a convenient patty. The better ones have less than 440 mg of sodium per patty.
When you're craving a meaty burger, there are many outstanding meat-free options that taste like the real thing.
Still, not all popular meat substitutes are equally healthy. They can harbor a lot of sodium, excess intake of which is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Here are excellent imitation meat burgers with a stellar nutrition profile.
4. Dr. Praeger's All American Veggie Burger
A whopping 28 grams of protein packs into each of these 4-ounce (113-gram) patties, sourced from pea protein and a 4-veggie mix that includes butternut squash and sweet potato.
As delicious as they are, these veggie burgers are a little high in sodium, with 460 mg of sodium per patty. Enjoy these as you would a regular burger, but consider holding off on salty condiments like pickles.
Though Dr. Praeger's All American Veggie Burger may be available in supermarkets near you, you may also be able to order it online.
5. Beyond Meat's Beyond Burger
Like the Impossible Burger, the Beyond Burger has found its way into some fast-food chains and restaurants. Both are designed to mimic a charbroiled ground beef patty.
It beats out the more ubiquitous Impossible Burger for its more balanced nutritional profile.
For instance, each 4-ounce (113-gram) Beyond Burger patty has 6 grams of saturated fat, while an 80% lean beef patty of the same size packs nearly 9 grams and an Impossible Burger 8 grams.
Yet, it's worth noting that each Beyond Burger patty contains 390 mg of sodium — though it boasts 20 grams of pea-based protein.
What's more, its beet juice makes the burger "bleed" to drive home the meat-like effect. For best taste, throw these on the grill.
The Beyond Burger is available at local stores and online.
SUMMARY: Imitation meat products are increasingly sophisticated. The All-American Veggie Burger and the Beyond Burger stand out for their taste, flavor, and more balanced nutritional profile.
Not all veggie burgers are vegan.
Vegan veggie burgers steer clear of egg and dairy products, as well as any animal byproducts.
6. Field Roast's FieldBurger
Field Roast's vegan FieldBurger stands out as an umami bomb, packed with shiitake and porcini mushrooms.
Find these hand-formed vegan patties in the refrigerated aisle. One 3.25-ounce (92-gram) burger delivers 8% of the DV for fiber thanks to ingredients like barley, celery, and other veggies.
What's more, each serving provides 10% of your iron needs. Plus, carrots and tomato paste drive up the vitamin A content to 15% of the DV.
This well rounded, flavorful vegan burger is delicious on a bun, as well as crumbled into a salad or bowl of chili. Keep in mind that some research has linked its ingredient carrageenan to digestive symptoms.
Check your local grocery store or buy the Field Roast's FieldBurger online.
SUMMARY: Not all veggie burgers are vegan. Vegan varieties are free of dairy, eggs, and animal byproducts. Among these, Field Roast's FieldBurgers are commendable for their nutrient-dense, hand-formed, flavor-packed patties.
Making your own veggie burgers at home is easy.
Generally, you need a cooked grain like quinoa or brown rice, a binder like egg, flour, or flaxseed meal, a cooked legume like beans or chickpeas, and dry and/or fresh spices.
You can experiment folding in sautéed veggies, such as finely diced onion, minced garlic, or mushrooms.
Blend these ingredients with a food processor or mash by hand, working them into a dough. If your dough is too sticky, add more flaxseed meal or flour — or if it's too dry, add a small amount of water or broth.
Once you've reached a workable consistency, roll the dough into balls and flatten into individual patties. Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake them until crispy and dry on the outside.
7. Homemade Vegan Chickpea Burger
For this chickpea burger, you need:
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled
- a 15-ounce (425-gram) can of chickpeas, drained
- 4–6 cloves of garlic, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cumin, paprika, and ground coriander
- 1.5 teaspoons (3 grams) each of salt and pepper
- 2–3 tablespoons (13–20 grams) of flaxseed meal
- 2–3 tablespoons (30–45 ml) of canola or avocado oil
First, add cumin, coriander, paprika, and pepper to a large saucepan. Dry toast for 1–2 minutes, until fragrant.
Dice and sauté the onion. Add to the pan with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil. Once fragrant and translucent, add garlic, chickpeas, and salt.
Add the mixture to a food processor until blended to your desired consistency.
Next, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Add flaxseed meal to the batter until you can work the dough into a ball. Form into 3–4 flat disks, all roughly the same size. Place them in the freezer for 30 minutes on the lined cookie sheet.
Heat oil in a saucepan, then add all the burger patties to the hot oil. Turn after 5–6 minutes, or when browned. Repeat on the other side.
Serve the burgers with a salad or in hamburger buns with your favorite toppings.
8. Homemade Black Bean Burger
Here's what you need:
- 1 cup (200 grams) of cooked brown rice
- 1 cup (125 grams) of walnuts
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon each of ground cumin, paprika, and chili powder
- a 15-ounce (425-gram) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup (20 grams) of panko breadcrumbs
- 4 tablespoons (56 grams) of BBQ sauce
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of canola oil
- 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar
Toast the walnuts on a skillet for 5 minutes. Add spices and continue to toast for 1 additional minute. Set aside.
Sauté the diced onion with salt and canola oil until fragrant and translucent. Set aside.
Add the cooled walnuts and brown sugar to a blender or food processor. Pulse to a fine meal.
In a large mixing bowl, mash the black beans with a fork. To this, add the cooked rice, beaten egg, sautéed onions, walnut-spice meal, BBQ sauce, and breadcrumbs. Blend until a workable dough forms.
If the dough feels too dry, add canola oil, small amounts at a time. If it's too wet, add more breadcrumbs.
Shape into 5–6 balls and flatten into disks. Add to a skillet with a thin layer of hot oil and flip after 3–4 minutes. Cook the other side for an additional 3–4 minutes, until browned. Serve and enjoy.
SUMMARY: It's fairly easy to make your own veggie burgers at home. You generally need a grain, a legume, a binder, and seasonings. If you desire, experiment with flavors and sautéed veggies.
How to Choose the Right Burger for You
When shopping for veggie burgers, you'll want to consider several factors, such as price point, ingredients, and taste.
If you're transitioning to vegetarianism or hankering for a meatier flavor, imitation meat burgers are the way to go. They taste remarkably similar to beef patties, with all the juiciness and protein you're used to. Still, keep in mind that some of these pack a lot of sodium.
On the other hand, traditional veggie burgers honor the flavors of their primary ingredients, which could be peas, adzuki beans, quinoa, black beans, soy protein, or other beans and grains.
Choose these if you prefer an earthier patty or are simply looking for something a little on the cheaper side.
If you follow a vegan or gluten-free diet, be sure to look for appropriate labels on the packaging to identify a burger that suits your needs.
In addition, examine the ingredient list — especially if you prefer your burger made from whole foods. Highly processed burgers, particularly imitation meat ones, may have preservatives and other additives that you would rather avoid.
If you want to exercise strict control over the ingredients used, you're better off using the recipes above to make homemade veggie burgers.
The Bottom Line
Veggie burgers typically use meat substitutes or are veggie- or legume-based. They may be vegan depending on whether they contain eggs, dairy, or animal byproducts.
They're not only great served on a bun with your favorite fixings but also make versatile additions to salads, chilis, and grain bowls.
When shopping, look for veggie burgers with 440 mg of sodium or less and a simple, understandable ingredient list. Alternatively, you can easily make your own at home.
Toss those flavorless patties of yesteryear aside. It's a golden age for veggie burgers.
Reposted with permission from Healthline.
For detailed source information, please see the original article on Healthline.
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Cooking has always intimidated me. As a child, I would anxiously peer into the kitchen as my mother prepared Christmas dinner for our family.
Falling in Love With Food All Over Again<p>Slowly, through my most intimate relationships with friends and partners, I began to see the beauty — and rewards — of cooking.</p><p>I got tired of giving in to defeat and always bringing chips or paper products to social gatherings. I started asking my mom to send me her Christmas and Thanksgiving recipes. I even volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner at my place.</p><p>Each time I heard my loved ones sing the praises of the foods I prepared for them, I felt a tinge more confident that I could carry out our traditions my way.</p><p>In reaching out to other relatives for their favorite recipes, I learned that they had a little help of their own. They didn't rely solely on their ancestral cooking instincts. They turned to Black chefs for guidance.</p><p>These 7 cookbooks by Black chefs have inspired my family and fed us in nutrients, joy, and spiritual sustenance. They're also helping me overcome my personal fears of cooking.</p>
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The conclusion to decades of work to remove a dam on the Middle Fork Nooksack River east of Bellingham, Washington began with a bang yesterday as crews breached the dam with a carefully planned detonation. This explosive denouement is also a beginning.
The History<p>The Middle Fork Nooksack drains glacier-fed headwater streams that run off the icy summit of 10,778-foot Mt. Baker. The Middle Fork joins the North Fork and then the mainstem of the Nooksack River, which travels to Bellingham Bay and Puget Sound. The entire Nooksack watershed stretches 830 square miles across Washington and into British Columbia.</p>
A Plan Comes Together<p>The Middle Fork dam is not a pool dam built for water storage. Much of the time, water flows over the top until dam operators drop a floodgate to divert water to new locations. That water travels about 14 miles through tunnel and pipeline to Mirror Lake, then Anderson Creek, and to Lake Whatcom before finally being delivered to residents' taps.</p><p>Before removing the dam, engineers had to move the water intake 700 feet upstream and situate it at an elevation that still enabled city water withdrawals throughout the year, regardless of flow conditions.</p><p>They also needed to make sure that the rushing water didn't sweep up fish and accidentally send them through the water-supply system.</p><p>"The solution required a fairly complex design in the intake structure, including a fish exit pipe out of that structure to put fish back into the river in a way that meets current environmental permit standards," explains LaCroix.</p>
Project layout for the removal of the Middle Fork Nooksack diversion dam and rebuilding of water intake. City of Bellingham<p>Despite the cost and the work, she says, being able to continue to meet their municipal water obligations while opening up habitat for threatened species has been a win-win.</p><p>"I think there's a lot of benefits to having a dam removal versus fish passage — the main one being that you get a free-flowing river that can be a dynamic ecosystem and change over time," she says. "A static fish ladder just can't provide that same level of ecosystem benefit."</p>
Restoration Success<p>Despite local authorities' championing dam removal on the Middle Fork, the project has largely flown under the radar, overshadowed in the Pacific Northwest by heated discussions about a much larger potential project — removing <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/feds-reject-removal-of-4-snake-river-dams-in-key-report/" target="_blank">four federal hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River</a>, a major tributary of the Columbia River.</p><p>Proponents of dam removal there see it as the best chance for recovering threatened salmon populations, including Chinook, which could help starving Southern Resident killer whales. Those dams also provide irrigation water, barge navigation and hydropower, so there's been more pushback against removal efforts.</p><p>Previous dam removals around the country, however, have proved successful at aiding fish recovery and river restoration.</p><p>Most notably the 1999 demolition of <a href="https://therevelator.org/edwards-dam-removal/" target="_blank">Edwards Dam on Maine's Kennebec River</a> restored the annual run of alewives, a type of herring essential to the food web. The fish run has gone from zero to 5 million in the two decades since dam removal. Blueback herring, striped bass, sturgeon and shad have also extended their reach. And the resurgence has brought back osprey, bald eagles and other wildlife, too.</p><p>The overwhelming success of river restoration on the Kennebec helped to spur a nationwide dam removal movement that's now seen 1,200 dams come down since 1999. Last year a record <a href="https://www.americanrivers.org/conservation-resource/a-record-26-states-removed-dams-in-2019/" target="_blank">90 dams</a> were removed in 26 states, including <a href="https://therevelator.org/cleveland-forest-dam-removal/" target="_blank">20 dams in California's Cleveland National Forest</a>.</p>
Spider excavators remove on dam on San Juan Creek in California's Cleveland National Forest. Julie Donnell, USFS<p>The results have been seen in the Pacific Northwest, as well, which boasts the largest dam removal thus far in the country. In 2011 and 2014, the demolition of <a href="https://therevelator.org/elwha-dam-removal/" target="_blank">two dams</a> on Elwha River, which runs through Washington's Olympic National Park, opened up 70 miles of habitat that had been blocked for a century. Scientists have started seeing all five species of salmon native to the river coming back, particularly Chinook and coho. Bull trout, they've observed, have increased in size since the dams were removal.</p>
Benefits on the Middle Fork Nooksack<p>McEwan hopes to see a similar outcome on the Middle Fork.</p><p>Like the Elwha the Middle Fork Nooksack is a relatively pristine river with little development, and dam removal is expected to provide a big boost to fish. The additional miles of spawning habitat are important, but so is the temperature of that water.</p><p>The dam removal will open access to cold upstream waters, which are ideal for salmon and getting harder to come by as climate change warms waters and reduces mountain runoff.</p><p>"This is really great for the climate change resiliency for these species," says McEwan.</p><p>Steelhead will get back 45% of their historic habitat in the river, and scientists expect Chinook populations to increase in abundance by 31%.</p><p>That <em>could</em> help Southern Resident killer whales.</p><p>"When you get to the ocean, it's a little bit of a black box in terms of what you can model and say definitively is going to help, but more fish is better for orcas," McEwan says.</p><p>Upstream habitat will see benefits, too.</p><p>Oceangoing fish like salmon enrich their bodies with carbon and nitrogen while at sea. When they return to their natal rivers to spawn and die, the marine-derived nutrients they carry back upriver become important food and fertilizer for both riverine and terrestrial ecosystems — aiding everything from trees to birds to bears.</p><p>"Once the fish start making their way back, it will start changing the whole ecological system," says Delgado.</p><p><span></span>But any ecological benefit from salmon restoration, either in the ocean or the upper watershed, won't be immediate.<br></p><p>"The population of salmon on the Middle Fork is so low that we expect it's going to take quite a while to rebound," she says. "But the big picture is that what's good for salmon is good for the region — our history and our destiny are intricately intertwined."</p><p>After decades of work, that process of restoration has finally begun.</p>
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It can grow to a maximum of six inches (16 centimeters), change color depending on mood and habitat, and, like all seahorses, the White's seahorse male gestates its young. But this tiny snouted fish is under threat.
Building an Ocean Seahorse Destination<p>Seahorses are found in tropical and temperate coastal water worldwide, but are most abundant around Australia, China and the Philippines. </p><p>Trade in the tiny creatures is strictly regulated because of their use in traditional medicine, aquariums and their sale as dried curios. But because they are poor swimmers and cannot easily move elsewhere, habitat loss is a particular threat for these curious animals. </p><p>Seahorses wrap their tails around seagrass and corals to avoid being carried away on currents. They use the habitat to spawn and hide from predators such as crabs, while also feeding on riches of plankton and small crustaceans living in the reef.</p><p><span></span>Where corals aren't available, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/aqc.1217" target="_blank">scientists</a> found seahorses taking up residence in fishing nets and old crab traps abandoned at the bottom of the ocean. </p>
Mixing With the Locals<p>Baby seahorse mortality is high in the wild because they are easily caught, so those bred in the protected environment of the aquarium weren't ready to be released into the wild until early May.</p><p>The team released 90 new arrivals into Sydney Harbor, placing some directly into the purpose-built hotels, and others onto a net that wild seahorses had already settled on.</p><p>Before setting them free, the researchers marked each young seahorse with a fluorescent tag with unique IDs inserted just beneath the skin to track how they get on in the different environments. </p><p>"The most exciting part was being able to put these animals into the wild and then go back a month later and still see them surviving and growing," said McCracken. </p><p>The seahorses will be old enough to mate and reproduce around October or November 2020. And researchers hope that by then, they will be able to breed with the wild population. </p>
Building a Global Seahorse Hotel Chain<p>With seahorses everywhere facing the loss of their coral reef homes, similar projects have sprung up in places like Greece and South Africa, home to the world's most endangered seahorse, the Knysna seahorse. </p><p>"The endangered South African seahorse is benefiting from something quite similar, even though it wasn't intentional," said Peter Teske, professor at the Department of Zoology, University of Johannesburg.</p><p>In the South African <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322649251_An_endangered_seahorse_selectively_chooses_an_artificial_structure" target="_blank">case</a>, seahorses have bedded down in "Reno mattresses" — wire cages filled with rocks — that were used to build a new marina. Researchers from NGO Knysna Basin Project found the structures acted as a refuge for the animals.<span></span></p><p><span></span>While Teske describes the seahorse hotels as "a positive news story" and a great way to create public awareness of conservation, he added that establishing artificial habitats in some areas will only prevent the extinction of local populations.</p><p>"For a complete recovery, it is necessary to give the natural habitat a chance to regenerate," said the seahorse expert. </p>
Underwater Mascot<p>In Australia, the researchers hope the project could provide an opportunity to raise awareness not only of the plight of the Sydney seahorses but the other animals with which it shares its ocean habitat.</p><p>The waters around Sydney and the east coast are rich in biodiversity and include several threatened species like the weedy seadragon — a relative of the seahorse — and the grey nurse shark. Like the seahorse, they're also under pressure from pollution, ocean traffic and habitat loss through storms and coastal construction. </p><p>"It's a good thing to get people's support and interest. The seahorses are a useful vehicle to get people concerned if the harbor is in trouble," said David Booth, professor of marine ecology at the University of Technology Sydney who is also working on the project. </p><p>The hotels have become an attraction for divers hoping to catch a glimpse of these small but near mythical creatures. </p><p>"Everyone loves seahorses," added Booth, "they are so popular." </p>
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