What the FLIK is…a 'meatless' burger?
You may be familiar with the veggie burger – a patty made of ingredients like beans, nuts, grains, seeds, and vegetables – but new plant-based patties have hit the market and they’re taking over.
And these new burgers are…well, different.
Instead of just being vegetable-based patties, these plant-based burger brands are challenging themselves to resemble real beef – that means they look like beef, taste like beef, and even bleed…like beef. This new breed of burger is more than just mashed vegetables.
As a matter of fact, these brands are not only trying to offer new offerings to vegetarians/vegans, but they're trying to convert carnivores to a more plant-based diet by highlighting the impact on these burgers have on the environment - or lack thereof. Did you know it takes about 460 gallons of water to produce only a ¼ pound of beef?
So, what the FLIK is a meatless burger and what do I need to know?
There are two companies you need to know about: Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. We break them down for you.
What’s what: Impossible burger, made by Impossible Foods, is a burger made of wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, and the “secret” ingredient: heme.
The scientists at Impossible Foods realized that heme, the iron-based molecule that makes beef taste like beef, is also found in some plants, specifically coming from leghemoglobin. By genetically engineering the leghemoglobin in soy plants, the team at Impossible Foods can actually create plant-based protein that actually looks/feels/tastes like beef.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 200 calories, 13 g. fat, 10 g. saturated fat, 5 g. carbohydrates, 20 g. protein
Where can I find it: Umami Burger, Bareburger, White Castle, Applebee’s (select locations), and more! It’s not available in retail grocery stores yet, but just wait. They’re hoping to roll out in grocery stores soon. Check here to find a location near you.
Other information: The FDA approved the heme in Impossible Foods as safe, earning a unanimous go-ahead from the food safety experts on the FDA’s panel. This meatless-meat is actually served in the same consistency as ground beef. It can be used as a substitute for all beef products and meals like burgers, meatballs, taco meat, and beyond.
What’s what: Beyond Meat offers a number of products including sausages, burger patties, chicken strips and “beef” crumbles, that are made of plant-based proteins like peas, faba beans and soy. The Beyond Burger specifically is also soy and gluten free.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 290 calories, 22 g. fat, 5 g. saturated fat, 6 g. carbohydrates, 20 g. protein, 3 g. fiber
Where can I find it: Beyond Meat is available at many major grocery stores including Amazon Fresh, Target, Kroger, Safeway, Stop & Shop, Whole Foods, Wegmans and more! They’re also available at select restaurants including TGIFridays, Bareburger, and veggiegrill. For a list of major retailers, search here.
Other information: Because Beyond Burger has so many products available direct to consumers, they have an extensive catalog of recipes available on their website to create at home.
It really depends on what you’re looking for. The Impossible Burger is lower in calories, fat, and carbs, but higher in saturated fat, due to the use of coconut oil in the patty. Alternately, Beyond Burger’s availability at many retailers nationwide makes this a wonderful option for at home chefs.
Both products have notoriously given longtime vegetarians a run for their money, saying the product is almost too meat like. Be forewarned about the textures you’re about to taste.
Whether you’re a proud carnivore, devoted vegetarian, or newly focused on veganism, these new burgers on the market are a great option to fix your beef craving. Light eating during BBQ season isn’t always the easiest, but plant-based dishes are one great way to keep your dishes light.
Combine with the added benefit of reducing our global footprint on the planet, reducing foodwaste, and respecting animal welfare, there’s certainly an argument for plant-based burgers to become more mainstream. We have a funny feeling they’re here to stay.
Will you try this trend on your next Meatless Monday adventure? Let us know by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!