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Taste test: veggie burgers

Many of us want to be healthier and better global citizens by eating less meat — or abstaining altogether. But the decision becomes especially challenging when we start firing up the summer grills. The lure of sizzling meat on a warm bun is enough to break the conviction of the staunchest resister. Many vegetarians suggest combating those cravings with the numerous vegetable- or nut-based patties on the market today. Our judges wanted to see if the patties could satisfy those meat hankerings, so we tasted six different brands of veggie burgers. We grilled them to get the charred taste of a meat burger and finished each in the oven.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Trader Joe's Quinoa Cowboy Burgers With Black Beans & Roasted Corn 59Boca Savory Mushroom Mozzarella Veggie Patties 56Carla Lee's Nut Burgers 55
Judges'

comments
These patties made of quinoa, black beans and roasted corn were spicy. Judges loved the red pepper pieces and the kick of peppery flavor at the end. "This is plump and moist with delicious veggies — the kind that tumble in slow motion on TV," said one judge. "It's very tasty." Another said he would cut the patties into squares and serve them as cocktail party appetizers. "I like their crunchy crust and zesty taste." A judge who really liked this offering said she would add the mixture to stuffing or maybe to an ethnic-themed dinner. "This is one that would lend itself to ethnic treatment, almost like a falafel," she said."Now this is a veggie burger," said one judge of the Boca "burger." She liked the chunks of carrots and corn kernels in these savory patties. "Applause! Applause!" she said. "A veggie lover would love these!" Another said, "It tastes like a grilled salad with robust flavor." The texture of the burger, described by one judge as that of mashed beans, was unappealing to some tasters. "It's a bit mushy," the judge said, although he would likely buy the product.According to the manufacturer's website, these burgers are made from all-organic ingredients including cashews, sunflower seeds, brown rice, carrot juice and spices. One judge likened the texture to "ground potato chips." But, overall, judges were impressed. "It definitely has a very nutty taste," said one panelist. Another said it had a bit of an Indian flair. "I like this and I would serve it with some tzatziki sauce or maybe cucumber raita."

Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$3.69 for a 12-ounce box of four.$3.69 for a 10-ounce box of four from Publix.$5.09 for a 14-ounce box of four from Publix.


Also Sampled: Bubba Veggie Burgers ($4.99 for a 12-ounce box of four from Winn-Dixie, 38 points); Morningstar Farms Grillers Original ($ 4.79 for a 9-ounce bag of four from Publix, 45 points); and Beast Burger Beyond Meat ($4.99 for an 8-ounce box of two burgers from Publix, 29 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; and Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620 in St. Petersburg. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to mstark@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.



Serving sizeOne pattyOne pattyOne patty
Calories180110290
Fat/Fiber8g / 6g3g / 5g20g / 5g
Sugars/Sodium2g / 280mg0g / 280mg3g / 360mg
Carbs/Protein22g / 5g8g / 14g24g / 9g

Taste test: veggie burgers 05/16/16 [Last modified: Monday, May 16, 2016 3:05pm]
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