Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Morningstar Farms Asian Veggie

Mmm... These are delicious. I rarely buy patties with eggs and dairy, which is why these don't make it in my freezer very often, but a gift of a box from a friend reminded me just how tasty these are. If Dr. Praeger's are like bad Chinese Food, then these are good Chinese food: a combination of egg, carrots, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, celery, soy sauce, and some spices for a slight kick. Even in the microwave, they cook up crisp (they're kind of greasy). As far as making them an actual burger, some hoisin sauce on a light bun would probably be amazing. They'd also be good sliced up in salads. Or, eaten plain!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dr. Praeger's Tex Mex Burger

My complaints with this burger are similar to the California Burger: too squishy, too much frozen vegetable flavor, not enough protein (only 5 grams). It has a better color, thanks to the black beans in the mix, but it just isn't great. I tried grilling it on my Foreman, and it just spread out on the grill. Maybe it's because I microwaved it for just long enough to de-thaw it. Basically, I was expecting Amy's Texas Burger, and this doesn't even hold a candle.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dr. Praeger's California Burger

Very colorful patty, with corn, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, and soy beans all clearly distinguishable. You can tell exactly what you are eating, though the overall green tinge doesn't beg to be consumed. I wasn't thrilled with my first bite, but by my last I wanted more. It's delicious along the same lines as bad Chinese food: it tastes like the good doctor took a bag of frozen vegetables, mashed them together with a little garlic, and fried this up in a bunch of oil. You know it's not fine cuisine, but that doesn't mean you don't enjoy the experience. Despite the greasy texture, it is still lower calorie than many of its competitors; it is, however, also lower in protein: only 6 grams. The box recommends that you heat the pre-cooked patties in an oven or on the grill; I didn't have access to either, so I microwaved mine. The result was a mushy, starchy patty that would probably be too squishy to be goof on a bun but is still pretty tasty. One thing: as a native Californian, I am perplexed as to what makes this burger particularly "California." Maybe the garlic?

I just looked at the ingredients and figured out what bugs me about it: green beans. Huge chunks of frozen green beans. Huge chunks of frozen green beans have no place in a veggie burger.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

FitSugar Veggie Burger Breakdown

Here is a side-by-side nutritional comparison of all sorts of veggie burgers.

Bean Burrito Burger

2 cans of black beans
1 cup of cooked rice
1/2 cup dry TVP (about 1 cup reconstituted)
1 cup broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup corn
1 small chile
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
flour or soy powder, if necessary
cheddar cheese (optional)

1) Saute the onion, bell pepper, chile pepper, and corn until soft.
2) Reconstitute the TVP in the broth; drain
3) Mash the Black Beans in a large bowl and add TVP, rice, sauteed vegetables, salt, and spices. Mix thoroughly. If mixture is too moist, add flour/soy powder to mix 1 tbs at a time.
4) Fry/grill and serve with chipotle aioli (chopped canned chipotle pepper and mayo to taste: 1 pepper is enough for probably 1/3 cup mayo)

These have been my most successful veggie patties to date, though I would cut back the rice by about half to make them less of a burrito on a bun. Vegetarians often measure the success of their recipes on whether or not meat-eaters enjoy them, and my favorite carnivore asked for a second. (I stuffed his with cheese and melted more on top, so this might have been cheating- I thought they were tasty without the dairy).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Subway: everywhere

Subway's offering is hidden in the "Regional Favorites" section of the menu under the name "Veggie-Max" (in the Seattle area at least- I think it was different in Boston). Ok, so it's less of a burger and more of a sub, but it's still deserving of a review. The Veggie-Max is a beige, six-inch by three-inch rectangular patty: not too appetizing a description, but don't let appearances fool you. It's a tasty mix of Textured Vegetable Protein, vegetables, and the occasional grain of rice. Water chestnuts add a little bit of crunch. I really can't think of a more descriptive word than "tasty": it gives a meaty texture and savory flavor to the weak Veggie Delight (vegetables and bread, cheese if you like it), and is more of a satisfying addition of the whole rather than a taste-sensation in it's own right. The Veggie-Max's strength is that it lets the best part of the Subway experience speak for itself: the multitude of veggies, breads, and sauces Subway offers, meaning almost infinite sandwich possibilities.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Charlies: Seattle, WA

Charlie's offers not one but two veggie burgers: regular and black bean. The black bean burger was the first meal I ate as an official Seattle resident, and I have ordered it multiple times since then. I got it again tonight. My boyfriend really likes their hamburgers, which include a wide variety of topping choices, and you can substitute a garden burger for a meat burger for a dollar more. However, I don't think you should have to pay more for a veggie patty, so I usually stick with the black bean burger. It is a zesty and tasty (though somewhat dry) combination of black beans, soy protein, a little rice, and corn served with pepperjack cheese and pico de gallo, as well as the usual burger fixin's (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle). As usual, I asked them to hold the cheese, but it would probably add a little moisture/grease to the burger. My server tonight forgot my pico de gallo, which would also serve this purpose. Points off for the massive, un-toasted sesame bun, which overwhelms the burger in a sea of bread. Don't get me wrong, a good bread can make a burger work, but this is just a commercial bun that is way too big for its purpose. The patty deserves a bun that will enhance, not mute, it's flavor.