I consider myself to be nothing even close to being a vegetarian or vegan. I am a carnivore at heart, yet I do often enjoy vegan friendly foods such as vege-burgers. Not that I expect them to actually taste like a ground beef hamburger, I just happen to enjoy them because many of them are pleasing to my palate. If I am in the mood for a sandwich that is a little different, a Morning Star Southwest Black Bean Burger can hardly be beat as an alternative to ground beef. I have been seeing advertisements for a few months for Beyond Meat’s products and became intrigued with their Beyond Burger. I had no idea they also produced a vegan friendly hot Italian Sausage and Brats until I found their Beyond Burger in my local Dillon’s grocery store. I have now eaten the burgers and Italian sausages and once I try the Brats, I will do a review on them as well.
The picture on the left is from an advertisement for Beyond Burger, the picture on the right is one I snapped of the actual product. As you can see, the advertised picture appears to resemble ground beef patties much better than how the product actually appears. This reminded me of days gone by where hamburgers advertised for sell at movie concession stands appeared significantly better than the limp patty and soggy bun you actually received if you bought one. Curiosity still had me so I made my purchase despite the deception of the pictures I had seen in a multitude of adds.
What is a Beyond Burger?
From Beyond Meats website:
The Beyond Burger is the world’s first plant based burger that looks, cooks and satisfies like beef. It has all the juicy, meaty deliciousness of a traditional burger, but comes with the upside of a plant based meal. The Beyond Burger packs 20g of plant based protein and has no GMOs, soy or gluten.
Can this be true? And what is in them?
This might be spooky as the vegan meat substitute is advertised to even bleed out the same as a ground beef hamburger when you cook it. I’m not sure I get why a vegan friendly burger that seeps blood would ever appeal to a vegan though. But, here are the ingredients and nutritional values for a burger:
Pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, water, yeast extract, maltodextrin, natural flavors, gum arabic, sunflower oil, salt, succinic acid, acetic acid, non-GMO modified food starch, cellulose from bamboo, methylcellulose, potato starch, beet juice extract (for color)
270 calories per burger
20g fat 5g sat)
Just because of the difference of appearance between the advertisement and actual product, I was skeptical about if I would enjoy these burgers. I opened the package and instead of being red in color, the burgers were more of a brown color with specks of solid coconut oil interspersed to resemble beef fat. Instead of resembling beef patties, my initial impression from sight and smell was the patties appeared and smelled more akin to something resembling canned dog food, only not as strong in smell.
However, at $6.00 US and given the fact I have lived on worse food concoctions within military MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), I was going to cook them and at least taste them despite the fact I damn near chucked them into my kitchen trash can. I sprayed a little olive oil into a non-stick skillet over medium heat and began browning them. This is the point where my mind began wondering if they might actually be good after all. The coconut oil specks began to dissolve, and low and behold, there appeared a liquid that resembled blood seeping from the burgers. As they browned, that vague smell of canned dog food was replaced by an odor that more closely resembled that of frying beef. My brother in law who lives with us, came into the kitchen and thought from the smell that I had changed my mind and was actually cooking beef. The trial is beginning to look up now.
Once I had browned the burgers on both sides (about 3 minutes per side) I served them up to my brother in law and myself. I had told Howard that if they were no good to not feel bad about chucking it into the trash if he did not care to finish his burger. (He is kind of picky and had turned his nose up about vege-burgers)
Howard had his on bread with ketchup and mustard, mine was on a low carbohydrate, high fiber tortilla with Heinz 57 sauce. I was pleasantly surprised by the first bite. The burger had a taste and texture remarkably like actual lean ground beef. The taste was such that I believe you could feed someone one of these burgers and they would never realize it was entirely vegetarian, it was that realistic. The burgers browned nicely and looked just like ground beef once cooked.
Will I try them again? Yes, the package in the picture is my second purchase. At first, Howard only said they were alright in a non-committed way. About an hour later, he fessed up that he also thought they were pretty darn good too.
Beyond Sausage, Hot Itallian
From Beyond Meat web site: The worlds first plant based sausage that looks, sizzles and satisfies like pork. Nope, I’m going to disagree, but it is not all bad.
Beyond Sausage Ingredients:
water, pea protein isolate, refined coconut oil, Sunflower oil, natural flavors, Contains 2% or less of: Rice protein, Faba Bean protein, potato starch, salt, fruit juice for color, vegetable juice for color, apple fiber, methlycellulose, citrus extract, calcium alginate casing
230 mg potassium
5g total carbohydrate
Well, I actually enjoyed the hot Italian sausages, yet I did not think they even remotely resembled a pork sausage during the cooking process. I sprayed a skillet with olive oil and began browning them all around. Being as there was no casing from an animal source, they did not brown the same as a sausage made from meat. In fact, they left the vege-casing material a little bit stuck in my frying pan. While their smell during cooking was pleasing to me, I never smelled anything resembling pork. There was a smell of spice and something else I could not describe as anything I ever cooked, yet it was certainly not a bad odor.
Once I had my sausage fully cooked, I was ready to taste it. I sliced into it with a knife and I was not disappointed to not see a bunch of fat pour out. It was almost like they were made with lean meat in the same way as the burger. The sausage was firm and not greasy at all. The taste was good, however, I thought it tasted much closer to that of a very mild Mexican Chorizo than Italian sausage. They are advertised as being hot, yet I did not think they were the least bit spicy. But be warned, I also go through a bottle of habanero pepper hot sauce about every two weeks.
While I did not find them to taste much like pork, I thoroughly enjoyed the Italian sausage as a sandwich. At $6.00 US for 4 links, I enjoyed them enough to try them again and look forward to trying Beyond Meat’s Brat product in the near future. I will do a review on them too.
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