Summer is upon us and there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned barbecue—vegan, of course. So I thought we would do something fun given all of the incredible vegan burger options out there. What’s the best? We wanted to find out, so today we had a burger contest in order to find the very best, most delicious vegan burger for your summer grilling.
In order for this burger contest to be fair…we needed every burger to have the same condiments. We agreed to cheese, ketchup, and pickles. (Onions , avocado, tomatoes, and lettuce, were all vetoed by our smallest taster cute-pants, Isabelle.)
Here’s how our battle of the vegan burgers turned out.
1. Sweet Earth: The Awesome Burger
The Awesome Burger was a big favorite. It had a beefy texture and lots of rich flavor. It was thick and juicy and Bear said it just tasted like “mmmmmmm.”
Pros: It contains 25 grams of protein—the highest protein of the bunch we tried and is non-GMO, too. Another pro: it was the least expensive of all the burgers we tried.
Cons: It contains gluten that some may not like. It’s also made with canola oil and “natural flavors”.
2. Beyond Meat: The Beyond Burger
This popular burger was well-liked, but surprisingly not as much as Sweet Earth’s Awesome Burger or the Kroger Simple Truth Emerge Burger.
Pros: 20 grams protein, non-GMO, gluten-free. And you can find these burgers practically everywhere.
Cons: Canola oil.
3. Kroger’s Simple Truth: Emerge Burger
This one had lots of meaty flavor, very satisfying. My friends thought it was perfect both in taste and size.
Pros: 20 grams of protein, great, meaty taste, and texture.
Cons: Canola oil, gluten, soy isolate
4. Impossible Foods: The Impossible Burger
Another super popular burger and it didn’t disappoint here. Everyone liked it a lot. But surprisingly, not as much as they liked the Awesome and Emerge Burgers. Some of the testers thought the Impossible, just like the Beyond Burger, was just “eh” because the Awesome Burger was so triumphant. But Impossible has that great, meaty texture and is an excellent option for meat-eaters looking to diversify their protein choices.
Pros: Gluten-free, 19 grams of protein.
Cons: Contains a controversial GMO ingredient from the root of the soybean plant. Also contains natural flavors.
5. Uncut: Chicken, Turkey, and Beef Burgers.
I was really rooting for this one but the burger wasn’t a crowd favorite and the taste was a bit flat . But we really did like the chicken and turkey burger options. Those were full of flavor and texture.
Pros: Non-GMO, gluten-free 19-21 grams of protein.
Cons: Natural flavors, canola oil.
6. Whole Foods 365 Burgers
These were pretty tasty! I’d put them in the top five in terms of flavor but they’re lower in protein and contain some ingredients like added sugars and colors that I generally aim to avoid. But these are also more affordable than some of the others and are a solid option.
Pros: Non-GMO, 12 grams of protein.
Cons: Contains added sugar, colors, gluten, and canola oil.
7. Dr Praeger’s Perfect Burger
This is an interesting option because the flavor comes through on its own but is bit overpowered when on a bun.
Pros: Non-GMO, gluten-free, 20 grams of protein, whole food ingredients, no canola oil
Cons: Contains natural flavors and some questionable ingredients, not as flavorful as others.
8. Trader Joe’s Protein Patties
As much as we all love Trader Joe’s, these burgers were not liked by anyone…sadly. It wasn’t as thick or juicy as some of the others and overall was a bit underwhelming.
Pros: 18 grams protein
Cons: Added flavors and colors, 20% RDI of sodium.
My hope in this taste test is that there would be a clear winner, but in the end, you can’t really go wrong with so many delicious meatless options to choose from. We did definitely see the Sweet Earth Awesome Burger, Simple Truth’s Emerge, and the Beyond and Impossible as crowd favorites.
I was a bit shocked that the winners of our taste test weren’t the Impossible and Beyond—after all, who hasn’t had a delicious Beyond Burger or Impossible Burger out in the world? But my testers preferred the Sweet Earth and Simple Truth. My favorite was the Sweet Earth Awesome burger but the crowd loved the Simple Truth Emerge the best.
Also, a word about the health of the burgers. While some of them do contain hefty amounts of protein, these burgers aren’t health foods. We hardly ever eat burgers in our house— just for events like this tasting or a celebration pool party. But, boy are they delicious! I’m so happy that for summer cookouts, and your burger cravings, there are some really great options. They’re especially great to share with meat-eating friends and family to show them how delicious cruelty-free foods can taste.
Here’s something that may leave a good taste in your mouth: reducing your beef-based burger consumption has a big impact on the planet. According to the World Resources Institute, if everyone shifted to consuming fewer than two beef burgers a week, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 5.5 billion tons. But by simply swapping those for meaty vegan burgers like the ones we tested, you can have your burger and eat it, too!
And even though these are all made with some less desirable ingredients, I’d pick a vegan burger over a beef burger anyday. They’re all full of healthier plant-based protein that’s better for us, the planet, and the animals, too!
Vegan Burgers rule! Happy summer burger making and stay tuned for the next taste test!
P.S. Looking for a healthier, homemade burger? Check out this tempeh burger . It’s an easy recipe packed with healthy, whole foods you can make in no time.