Organic burger

My meat-loving friends ate the Vegan Beyond Burger

image via Beyond Meat/Instagram

I love entertaining, and I love a good theme party even more. I’ve had wine pairing dinners and appetizer-only parties, but my friends were a little apprehensive about the theme of my latest event. I wanted to get a bunch of meat lovers together to try Beyond Meat’s latest burger, the Beyond Burger, which is supposed to be the closest thing to a beef burger.

I eat meat, but I also really appreciate plant-based dishes. Most of my friends are more carnivorous than vegan, although they are starting to watch their diets more closely as the years go by. So getting them to try the Beyond Burger wasn’t a big deal, but it wasn’t something they were very excited about either.

The problem is that many veggie burgers have literally left a bad taste in people’s mouths. A heavy dose of beans and grains has made many plant-based burgers unfortunately lacking in the meaty flavor department, especially when compared to actual meat. Not only that, but the structure and texture of old-fashioned vegetable patties just can’t hold up as well as their animal-based counterparts.

Beyond meat spent seven years creating and refining its plant-based Beyond Burger, before releasing it to the public in 2016. The patty combines pea protein with other natural ingredients like beets and a few different oils, for a dense burger and soft. Adding beets gives it a rosy hue and even makes the pancake appear to “bleed” while cooking. The Beyond Burger is also soy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO (yes!).

I Served My Biggest Meat-Loving Friends The Beyond Meat Veggie Burger And Here's What Happened

Image via Beyond Meat/Instagram

My friend Jeff took on the responsibility of grilling the Beyond Burger patties. He took them to a lit grill and carefully placed them on it. They cooked quickly – about two and a half minutes on each side. One of the four burgers split while turning, but the others held their shape throughout. Jeff said next time he would cook them in a skillet so he could better control the patty. I was encouraged to hear that he was already thinking about a next time.

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From Organic Authority Files

When the plant-based burgers came off the grill, my friends made their own dressing, then dug in. Valentina held the burger in front of her, admiring its firm, beef-like texture, “It looks really nice.” Aimee took a bite and simply remarked, “It’s okay.” Heads bobbed in agreement as the chewing ensued.

“It’s so much better than the dry, mealy veggie burger I’ve had in the past,” Jeff said. Then he continued with, “but it doesn’t taste like meat.” No more nods. Stephen added: ‘I don’t like to think of it as a beef burger. It gives him an expectation. Jeff agreed, “Okay. You can’t treat it like a burger. It’s its own thing.

The consensus was that the Beyond Burger was quite tasty. It had a good texture and held up well on the grill – better than any other veggie burger. The problem arose when people started comparing the taste to that of a beef burger. The beef definitely has a deeper, more savory flavor, with a longer finish. On its own, the Beyond Burger is a delicious, flavorful patty.

Then there are the health benefits of eating a plant-based burger. According to Beyond Meat, the Beyond Burger has 20 grams of protein versus 19 grams of animal-based beef. The burger also contains 25% iron, instead of 12%, zero cholesterol against 80 and five grams of saturated fat, instead of nine. It’s hard to argue with the plant-based numbers versus the beef burgers.

You can find the Beyond Burger at select Whole Foods and Safeway stores across the country, often in the refrigerated section next to ground beef. I had to go to four different Whole Foods stores before I found one that had the Beyond Burger in stock. A representative from Whole Foods said stores were struggling to keep the popular burgers on shelves and they sold out for the fourth weekend of July.

Whether you’re a meat eater or vegan, the plant-based Beyond Burger is a great-tasting patty that’s healthier for you than beef, and also a great burger alternative.

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