For those who have been vegetarians or vegans from Day 1, its hard to relate to that feeling so many speak of when they say "I just want a burger!" However, as many of us know, there are many delectable veggie burgers out there that can satisfy that craving and for those who don't have it, you'll soon be craving a whole new kind of burger.
There are probably hundreds of kinds of veggie burgers out there, from the big brands like MorningStar and Boca to the specialty patties are the hidden secret of your local cafe. For those new to the veggie scene, there are a few basic bases for veggie burgers that you should be familiar with.
1) Soy: These patties are extremely common and are often the main ingredient in the more popular store bought burgers and are what gives them the "veggie" title. These can come in many forms, from tofu to textured "vegetable" protein. For those who are looking for that meaty flavor, this might be the route you want to go. Soy takes on whatever flavor you add to it and when done properly might even hold up in a taste comparison to real beef or chicken patties. My favorite is the Spicy Chicken Boca Burger, which tastes exactly any chicken I've ever had. You can also make these burgers yourself. Just buy your preferred form of soy and mix it with BBQ or Poultry seasonings, add whatever else you want and you can have your own home made veggie burgers in minutes right at home. Though it might take some practice to nail down the exact flavor you want, these are a few advantages to making your own. One can be cost. If you make a large batch, each patty can cost only a dollar, compared to $5 and up at your local restaurant. The other big benefit is the ingredients. GMO's are hotly debated and many will make every effort to eliminate them from their food stream, and for good reason. Unfortunately, soy beans are one of the most genetically modified plants being grown today and seeing as though soy it so prevalent in so many veggie burgers today, this can be a real problem. The best way to avoid this issue if to make them yourself or to source organic veggie burgers whenever possible. A few good options for GMO Free soy burgers include: Boca Vegan Meatles Burger, Gardein Veggie Burgers, and Sol Cuisine Veggie Burgers
2) Grains: Things like brown rice and quinoa are popular items to serve as the base for veggie burgers. While not having as much protein as soy burgers, these patties are absolutely delicious and are packed with many other essential nutrients. Grain based burgers are high in Fiber, B Vitamins, and Iron that help the body in producing red blood cells, help maintain heart and digestive health, providing the body with energy through out the day. Some great grain based burgers to try are: Qrunch Foods Quinoa Burgers, Hilary's Black Rice Burger, and my personal favorite, Gardenburger Veggie Burgers.
3) Legume: Some of the most popular veggie burgers on the market are, of course, Black Bean Burgers! Unlike grain based patties, bean and lentil patties are chocked full of protein. Once again, these burgers are scrumptious and often take on a southwest flavor, being combined with corn, onion, and peppers. Beans also are good for your heart, help balance blood sugar, are low fat, and reduce your risk of cancer. A few great bean burgers to try are Chez Marie Bean Patties, Lightlife Smart Patties Meatless Black Bean Burger, and Sunshine Black Bean South West Burger.
Other popular bases for veggie burgers include mushrooms, sunflower seeds,cauliflower, and eggplant.
Don't be afraid to try new things in your quest for your new favorite burger. In your search you'll probably see some things that you never would consider an ingredient in a veggie patty, but keep an open mind and make sure being healthy is your number one priority and you can't go wrong. Happy eating and let the best burger win!