The Great Veggie Burger Taste Test

Look, if you’re going to be the lame guy or gal who shows up at the summer cookout with veggie burgers, you might as well be the lame guy or gal who shows up at the summer cookout with good veggie burgers.

Veggie Burgers That Aren’t Just Flavored Soy

veggie burger boxes photo 300x225When I started searching for different veggie burgers to review, I was overwhelmed by the number of choices.  So many of them seemed so similar, and that’s because so many of them are based on soy.

I think soy is fine to eat in moderation.  But it doesn’t taste like much, so somehow it seems like cheating to add flavors to it to produce fake meat.  Kind of gross, actually.

So this taste test is a little different; it’s a taste taste for the non-soy-based burgers.  These burgers are based on less-processed grains and vegetables, and as a result, they’re generally healthier than soy burgers, even if the protein numbers aren’t as quite as high.

Simply for comparison, I included one classic soy burger, Boca, in the test.  All the burgers were prepared in a skillet with only a light layer of oil except Morningstar and Dr. Praeger’s, whose directions called for grilling.

And keep in mind: My nutrition grades are based on the needs of those training for marathons or other distance events.  In other words, calories are a good thing (as long as they’re nutritious).

Read on to find out how these six veggie burgers measured up in terms of taste and nutrition.

Gardenburger Portabella Veggie Burgers

gardenburgerVegan? No.

Soy-free? No.

Main ingredients: Brown rice and vegetables, including portabella mushrooms

Per patty: 100 calories, 2.5 g fat (1 g saturated), 17 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 490 mg sodium

Gardenburger Portabella Veggie Burgers were one of the most flavorful brands we tested.  They had a smoky, almost-but-not-quite-too-salty tang to them, with lots of chunks of vegetables, making for an appealing texture.  All this flavor comes at a cost, though, in the form of 20% of your daily recommended sodium intake and a list of ingredients longer than—well, you get the point.

Nutrition: C

Taste/Texture: B

gardenburger photo 1024x768

Gardenburger: Tasty, but with too many ingredients

Sunshine Original Burgers

originalVegan? Yes.

Soy-free? Yes.

Main ingredients: Brown rice, sunflower seeds, carrots, herbs, sea salt (that’s all the ingredients)

Per patty: 190 calories, 13 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 14 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 320 mg sodium

Sunshine Burgers were the nutritional powerhouse of the bunch.  The only competitor not to violate Michael Pollan‘s five-ingredient rule, Sunshine also packed in healthy fats and a relatively high amount of protein in addition to being gluten-free.  Unfortunately, the flavor outlook wasn’t so sunny: Everyone who tried Sunshine mentioned that it tasted bready and dry, with a little too much sunflower seed flavor.

Nutrition: A

Taste/Texture: C

sunshine burger photo 1024x768

Sunshine: Healthy, but it tastes like nuts

Bahama Rice Burgers

gI 0 OriginalFrontweb1209Vegan? Yes.

Soy-free? Yes.

Main ingredients: Risofu, the company’s proprietary rice-based meat alternative, and beans

Per patty: 140 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated), 19 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 420 mg sodium

Despite their name’s evoking images of a warm beach and a few bottles of Kalik,  Bahama Rice Burgers didn’t fare so hot.  We described them as “homemade-tasting, in a bad way,” “lentil-y,” and plain-old “not flavorful.”  They are gluten-free, and the rice idea is kind of cute.  It’s worth noting that Bahama Rice Burgers contain salvia hispanica, chia to you and me.

Nutrition: B

Taste/Texture: D

bahama burger photo 1024x768

Bahama: My tropical fantasy is just fine without these

Boca Vegan Meatless Burgers

vegan burgersVegan? Yes.

Soy-free? No.

Main ingredients: Water, soy protein concentrate, wheat gluten

Per patty: 100 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 9 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein, 470 mg sodium

As the only “soy burgers” in the taste test, Boca Burgers stood out with huge protein numbers.  (Ok, huge to us.)  Unfortunately, it comes mainly in the form of soy protein isolate, a highly-processed and difficult-to-digest form.  The list of ingredients after that is surprisingly short.

At first taste, I thought I had found a perfect substitute for a slightly-overdone burger; actual thought revealed that it was simply the familiar taste of charcoal.  But if you’re craving a dry hamburger, Boca might be as close as you can get, short of slaughtering a cow.

Nutrition: B-

Taste/Texture: B

boca burger photo 1024x768

Boca: The classic soy burger

Morning Star Garden Veggie Patties

morningstarVegan? No.

Soy-free? No.

Main ingredients: Mushrooms, water chestnuts, onions, more vegetables

Per patty: 110 calories, 3.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 9 g carbohydrates, 10 g protein, 350 mg sodium

Morningstar Garden Veggie Patties hit a homerun with everyone who tasted them.  We described them as “sausage-like” and “not just tolerable, but actually good.”  A little bit of spice and just the right amount of char made Morningstar our favorite brand to taste.

Nutritionally, they bombed.  TVP, another highly processed form of soy, and a long list of ingredients with hard-to-pronounce words landed them near the bottom of the pile, in my eyes.  Still, they taste good, and if you’re bringing a  veggie burger to a barbecue, why not enjoy it?

Nutrition: D

Taste/Texture: A+

morningstar burger photo 1024x768

Morningstar: So good, yet so bad

Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers

detail californiaburgerVegan? Seems like it, but processed in a facility that uses milk, eggs, and fish.

Soy-free? No, contains soybeans.

Main ingredients: Lots of vegetables, with onions and string beans first

Per patty: 110 calories, 4.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 13 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 250 mg sodium

Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers were just what the doctor ordered—if that doctor had ordered a mouthful of succotash shaped like a patty.  Actually, I was the only one who didn’t love them; Erin and Christine ranked them near the top of the list.  They’re billed as the burger “where you recognize all the ingredients,” and that I did.  Lots of vegetables and little else made it taste like—well, a vegetable patty.  And that’s good, it just doesn’t taste like a burger.

Interestingly, nowhere on the box does it say that Dr. Praeger’s burgers are vegan, yet no ingredients seem to make them non-vegan.  Perhaps it’s that they’re processed in a facility that handles milk and fish?  Worth looking into if your diet is very strict.

Nutrition: A-

Taste: B

dr praeger burger photo 1024x768

Dr. Praeger's: Why won't the good doctor call them vegan?

So, no clear winner swept both the Nutrition and Taste categories.  Perhaps such a combination can only be found my making them yourself.  (Though I have yet to find a homemade burger with the texture of these from the store.)

Do you have a favorite veggie burger that I left out of the test?

And finally, please check out my Zen Habits post if you haven’t yet.  Thank you!

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Comments

  1. I liked this review! I used to love trying different veggie burgers until gluten became a problem; it seems like most of them have vital wheat gluten these days. I still have to try the sunshine burgers. My favorite right now are by Wildwood, which are vegan, tofu-based.
    .-= Evan Thomas´s last blog ..Test =-.

    • Evan, actually 2 or 3 of these were gluten-free. I guess that limits the selection a bit, though. I’ll look for Wildwood; I didn’t see them this time.

      • the southwest Wildwood is pretty filthy good. I mean filthy good as in the double double from In-n-out. Put some white cheddar on it, and you wont be disappointed. It was too greasy for me though, but tasty. If I’m seeking filthy, I’ll go with this one but if its healthy quality I’m seeking I suppose I’ll check out one of the Amy burgers.

    • Peggy Lacey says:

      Any homemade ones out there with less salt?

    • Dr.Praeger veggie burgers are the shiz-nit.

      • Where can you by the Dr.Praegers? My 14 year-old daughter is try to become vegan. I found some !00% Vegan burgers made by Don Lee Farms, they are all natural, gluten free, really seems healthy. I have a major problem with the 410 mg of Sodium.

        • people may like Dr. Praegers but for your health you want to avoid soy as much as possible. all kinds of health issues have been suggested to be associated with too much soy–brain, thyroid issues, increased breast cancer, not to mention if it’s not organic you are likely dealing with soy infused with the pesticide round up. This is my understanding, but you should google “is soy good for me” or something along those lines, do your own research and make your own conclusions

          • Federico Pacheco says:

            Dear Dana,

            EVerything in excess but water and love is not good. BUt not because it´s not good, but because you lack the other things you are not eating. Soy is magical, one of the greater protein sources in the world, and is never bad for health.

          • Most soy is GMO, which I personally have an issue with. That sort of takes the “magic” out of it for me. :( Read your labels carefully (as these companies are not required to label!); most will tell you if they are non GMO, or that they are organic (which cannot be GMO). Agreed, most corn is also GMO at this point, but this is looking more for a protein source. Morning Star is garbage, sorry to have found this out myself… GMO! Boca is “unclear” which tells me to avoid them, as well. Sigh! If we disclude wheat, I am starting to wonder WHAT I can eat!!!

    • Our Gourmet Vegan burgers are certified gluten free and 100% organic. They are based on Quinoa and vegetables and were nominated in MAy by the Vegetarian Times for Best Veggie Burger.

      • when you say “OUR” which company are you refering to. I looked up and down the thread and could not find your name again. I even googled Vegetarian times review of best veggie burger and got nothing. Please tell me what company and what burger.

  2. Thank you for this post!! I agree with you on a lot of the products and the way they taste. I’ve been meaning to try some vegan veggie burgers.
    .-= mary´s last blog ..Pasta e fageoli =-.

  3. Morningstar Farms’ Spicy Black Bean Burgers are my absolute FAVORITE! Though all of their variations are delicious, I think. I’m also a big fan of Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers. Typically when I get veggie burgers, I’m not out to find something that tastes like a regular burger, since I find those hard to come by. But I’m definitely going to check out some of the burgers you reviewed here!
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..Chocolate Espresso Hazelnut Cupcakes =-.

    • Excellent point, Danielle: They’re not all supposed to taste like burgers, so if you don’t expect that, you might not be disappointed.. I wish they were just called veggie patties instead.

    • MorningStar spicy black bean patties are my ultimate favorite veggie burger. I make a “cheeseburger” with them every morning for breakfast. It’s breakfast of champions in my book.

    • Agree on the Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burgers.

  4. I’ve never had the Original flavor Sunshine Burgers, but the Garden Herb flavor tastes great! Definitely worth trying again.

  5. I second the Morningstar Farms Black Bean Burgers for taste. Those things are delicious, but they are TVP based.

  6. So cool- thank you for the review. I have tried those Bahama rice burgers any they are NASTY. I was so mad that I paid as much money as I did for them. Totally trying Dr. Praeger’s california veggie next. Have you tried their broccoli patties? They’re greasy…but delicious :)
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Memorial Day: Spanikopita Burgers & A Winner =-.

  7. I’ve tried the Portobello ones which I thought tasted good but the sodium was scary. Maybe after a really long sweaty run? I bought Dr. Praeg’s after so many bloggers raving but thought they tasted too much like peas. It wasn’t BAD but not what was expected either. I’ll have to check out some other commenter’s suggestions!

  8. Hmm I prefer the California burger by Amy’s. Pretty tasty and no soy and made with ingredients I recognize: ORGANIC BULGAR WHEAT, ORGANIC MUSHROOMS, ORGANIC ONIONS, ORGANIC OATS, ORGANIC WALNUTS, ORGANIC CELERY, ORGANIC CARROTS, WHEAT GLUTEN, ORGANIC POTATOES, SEA SALT, EXPELLER PRESSED HIGH OLEIC SAFFLOWER AND/OR SUNFLOWER OIL, ORGANIC GARLIC.

  9. If you have a Costco in your area, you have got to try these: Don Lee Farms Veggie Pattie. They are the best tasting veggie burgers I’ve ever had. They are a little higher in calories (170) than the Morningstar Farms versions, but much more filling too.

  10. Thanks for the great comparison!!! My favorite are Amy’s- at least 2 flavor options are vegan, and they’re both pretty good in taste/texture. I’ve tried two- one tastes like mushrooms (The California I think?) and the other like walnuts (the original). The walnutty one is my favorite!

  11. Lindsay says:

    I third MorningStar’s Black Bean burger and second Amy’s California burger. I think Amy’s is the BEST store-bought veggie burger I’ve ever had – it’s tasty is pretty hefty (compared to the likes of Boca burgers). All in all, I prefer to make my own patties nowadays. Thanks for the reviews!

  12. Christina says:

    Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers are my favorite!!! You’re absolutely right in that they do not resemble meat in the slightest; that’s why I love them.

  13. How cool! A veggie burger taste test was a great idea.
    I keep a box of Gardenburger GardenVegan patties in my freezer for when I’m in a pinch.

  14. Oh I love Morningstar Asian Veggie patties! I didn’t realize they weren’t scoring high on the nutrition scale….sad.
    Sometimes people put so much mayo pickles ketchup stuff on their burgers I wonder if they taste the meat at all.

  15. shannon says:

    I’m going to cast another vote for the Amy’s California burgers. Real ingredients and very tasty.

  16. Glad you posted on this! I’m searching for the perfect black bean burger ever since I’ve had them at a local restaurant and found myself addicted.

    Maybe there’s a packaged black bean burger out there that we’re all missing! I’ll look around.

    • Diana, as someone else said, there’s a Morningstar black bean burger… but there’s more soy in it than black beans!

    • Ever since having a black bean burger at Freddy’s in Texas i was also searching and if Morningstar’s isn’t the same one, it is very close!

  17. My favorite veggie burger is the plain ol’ Original Gardenburger. Don’t know what it is about them that makes me love them so, but nothing compares to it in my mind.

  18. Hello! I just discovered you blog today… I’ve been a big fan of Zen Habits for a long while now. Love your blog!!!! I am a new vegetarian and love being active so you’ve already given me lots of ideas! Your blogs are fun to read, great photos, great recipes, and some laughs! As for veggie burgers (I’m new at this vegetarian thing) but we tried EVO burger (all veggies- from our health store). Still trying to find their website. It was very tasty!!! Easy to cook and didn’t make your tummy hurt like a regular burger does. Thanks for all the advice… Can’t wait to read more!

    • Hey Susan, glad you’ve enjoyed my stuff so far! I still consider myself a “new” vegetarian (it’s only been a year), and recently I’ve been trying to write lots more posts geared towards newbies. Let me know what you think of them!

      • One thing, maybe lay off the “lame” stuff. We vegans (and ya’ll vegetarians) get that sort of stuff enough from omnivores. There is nothing lame about bringing veggie burgers and I was sort of surprised to see it worded that way on a very pro-vegan/veg site. We don’t need to internalize the stuff other folks say to get us down!

        We’re the AWESOME folks bringing delish, compassionate food and running circles around them after the meal. ;)

        Also, you need to try Amy’s burgers. So good. Also, Gardein makes a fab “beefy” burger that you might like. A little more processed than the Amy’s (I like the Cali burgers best due to a huge love of ‘shrooms) but really “meaty”. Quorn also now has a vegan burger that tastes a lot like how I remember turkey burgers tasting? They are soy free, I think.

  19. Elizabeth says:

    My friend made the vegan Boca burgers once when we were completely out of energy and short on time. Bleh. I haven’t tried the MorningStar burger, but I enjoy some of their other products. Thanks for the review. I would have never realized that some of these burgers are so processed!

  20. You know, I’ve never had a veggie burger, but I might try the Dr. Praeger’s brand, seeing as how I’ve never like meaty burgers in the first place. I think I would like a vegetable patty. Thanks for the review!~

    (Actually I was thinking of making some homemade one of these days.)
    .-= Alisha N´s last blog ..How the mighty fall: I have a cold. =-.

    • Alisha, it took me a while to eat my first, too. Just go into it expecting to try something new on a bun, not something that’s supposed to taste just like a hamburger. I wish they weren’t called burgers, actually, so we’d think of them as a different type of food altogether.

  21. I remember when I first went veg, I went all the way (vegan), and was dismayed by the fact that Gardenburgers are not vegan (after eating some, ugh!). I personally like Boca a lot, though I know what you’re talking about in terms of dryness.
    .-= Julie (A Case of the Runs)´s last blog ..A Letter to My Future (One Week from Now) Self =-.

  22. Saw your post on Zen Habits. Enjoyed that and your blog looks cool, one new subscriber.
    .-= Thomas J´s last blog ..Moanui Loop – 5 days in the Ureweras =-.

  23. I’m a fan of Dr.Praeger’s TexMex veggie burger. I usually find them at Trader Joes and they work pretty good on the grill.
    .-= sentimentsbydenise´s last blog ..Starting the Day with Green =-.

  24. I’m with all who said Morningstar’s Spicy Black Bean. We actually by the 1/4 pound burgers at Costco (they are HUGE). Great flavor, but they definitely don’t taste like your carnivore burger. I’ve actually started making my own because (A) it’s way cheaper, and (2) the ingredient “list” is much more preferable to all the crap they put in a lot of those burgers. Thanks for the review! Very helpful if I am desperate for something quick!

    • kvh, thanks I’ll have to try those. I skipped them this time because they’re soy-based if I’m not mistaken. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t eat them, of course, just that they weren’t right for this test.

      And yeah, making your own is best. Any tips for making them firm though?

    • Can you – or anyone – give me a good recipe for homemade veggie burgers? Or point me to a decent one with ONLY veggies, no rice/wheat/complex carbs? I’m a teacher, and always go on a lower carb diet during the summer to shed a few pounds that I accumulate throughout the year. And I love veggie burgers but they all seem bound with rice or bran or something. Thanks!

      • MLB, I know a few good recipes, but I don’t know if any don’t have wheat in them. And when you say complex carbs, do beans count as that for you? Because almost every veggie burger I’ve ever made has some type of bean or legume in it.

      • I made these Black Bean burgers last night. I thought they were great. Very simple to make as well. I know they use instant oats and black beans, but they are quite tasty.
        http://happyherbivore.com/2011/08/easy-black-bean-burger/

      • You’d need something carby (at least legumes) to hold the burger together. Well, I suppose if you eat eggs/dairy you could use that to bind. I’m vegan, so I’d much rather eat some oats rather than animal products. :/ A burger of just veggies needs *something* to hold it together or it’ll be hash. Even something like oat bran would work well. A lot have tomato paste but I’m not sure that’s enough to get a firm enough patty.

        That said, there are cookbooks that are only just vegan/veggie burgers. I have one but I can’t remember the name. Veggie Burgers Every Which Way, I think?

  25. Thanks so much for this post!! It’s always so frustrating to have to try a million different veggie burgers so help is always amazing =). In the recipe for the do-it-yourself veggie burgers, do you know of a good replacement for the wheat gluten?
    .-= Sarah @ cocoanutshakes´s last blog ..6:30 AM Cooking Madness =-.

  26. I tend to lean more towards the Garden herb flavor of Sunshine Burgers with a smear of hummus it’s pretty darn good!

  27. Amy’s All American is my favorite frozen veg burger.

    When it comes to chicken substitutes, Gardein cannot be beat!
    .-= Courtney Carver´s last blog ..How to Simplify your Closet =-.

  28. Another voter for Amy’s California Burgers — I nuke em to thaw and toast in my toaster oven for texture. Great as a burger, in a pita w/hummus and veggies – versatile and yummy!
    Perhaps adding an addendum after you’ve tasted?

  29. Nice post…packaged veg burgers definitely assisted my transition from being a big meat eater to a vegan, so I believe is a great starting point for most people. I remember feeling so much better when I started consuming Morningstar’s veggie vegan patties with oven roasted fries, in place of McDonalds & Burger King meals. Presently, I’m definitely at a point in which I only crave whole foods – it’s pretty much an addiction – that I can’t be happier about.

    Soy- I think much of the hoopla surrounding soy comes from Weston A. Price Foundation. They spew nonsense about soy, while making claims that fats and cholesterol from animal products doesn’t cause health problems such as heart disease. Can their agenda be more obvious?)

    A good source for info I’d go by is the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

    The argument for having too much soy, should be the same as any ingredient. Too much of any one item is bad: Too much oil (be it extra virgin olive) can be bad. Too much salt is bad. Too much salads and not enough whole grains is bad. Too much water (that interferes with digestion) can be bad.

    Lastly, I also think all the negativity surrounding soy comes from the GMO processed versions seen in many processed foods. People who eat processed foods to bad health attribute it to soy. Makes me wonder why the same isn’t so for corn? Corn is used in the great majority of processed foods. Perhaps corn is not competing with the meat and dairy for protein profits, as soy is?

  30. I love Dr Praeger’s Tex Mes or Cali veggie patties! Then again, when I’m getting them I have no intent of trying to replicate an actual hamburger taste or texture wise. When I want something that resembles real meat without the laundry list of ingredients I like to make my own seitan. It’s actually quite cheap and easy to make and the only semi “weird” ingredients are vital wheat gluten & nutritional yeast-which is actually optional! I made seitan sausages here: http://stevianspice.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/baby-im-back/
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..National Running Day! =-.

  31. I just started following your blog after venturing over here from Zen Habits…I’m SO thrilled to find you and your writing!

    A beginning runner (started last fall, completed a half marathon about a month ago) and a vegetarian I’ve felt quite lost in balancing …finally, somone who gets it and can provide help!

    This is a great post – I agree with the Morningstar Taste but have been looking for alternatives b/c of ingredients. I have great places to start now…thanks!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Laundry and the Meditation Cushion =-.

  32. That’s for the review! I,ve tried the morning star and really liked that sausage-y flavor… Maybe something my sausage loving husband would want to try too.

  33. Jessica says:

    Hey I love you blog! I just found it last week and I’ve already tried two of the receipes! I really want one of the tshirts for my first half marathon – the Seattle Rock & Roll at the end of this month :) I love veggie burgers and my favorite is Gardenburger’s Black Bean Chipotle. It’s vegan and seems to be on sale all the time. It does have soy protein concentrate but the first three ingredients are brown rice, onions and black beans. I haven’t tried the Sunshine Burgers but I have tried their breakfast patties and those are really yummy. I love the seasoning, but they’re better just by themselves or in a scramble with potatoes and tofu than on a bun.

  34. Hey! When it comes to veggie burgers Amy’s is the best by far. I have tasted them all and the best is Amy’s Texas burger or California. The texas burger we pop on the grill and I sautee mushrooms and onions and put over it YUM-O:)

  35. I claim to be mostly-vegan and try to be as raw as possible to boot. However when it comes to a good ol’ “Burger” I have to go for the taste. I tend to go Morningstar on those occasions and the guilt never hits me.

    Sure it’s nice to have a balance of vegan/healthy/great taste but if I can just hit the no meat and great taste button I am a happy camper.

  36. My hands-down fave is the Spicy Black Bean Burgers. Usually, I eat them for breakfast with an egg sitting on top, a sprinkle of good shredded cheddar, and some salsa verde.

    I’ve tried my hand at making homemade, and found a mushroom, onion and pinto bean burger I love, but since homemade lacks the binding chemicals, most aren’t sturdy enough to grill. Try Heidi at 101 Cookbooks version if you haven’t! http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001567.html

  37. Another unfortunate thing about Morningstar.. it’s owned by Kellogg’s and is made with GMO soy! (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morningstar_Farms ) Shame it’s the most well-known vegetarian foods brand in the US.

  38. I’m a big fan of a brand called joe’s oat patties. They sell a dry mix that has an oat/quinoa base. Just add boiling water, let it sit for 10 minutes and cook it up either in a pan or on the grill. Soy-Free. And I think Wheat Free. They’re my favorite. I know Whole Foods sells it but I’m not sure where else you can find them.

  39. This review is AWESOME! We’re completely soy-free due to sensitivities and I’ve been looking for pre-packaged, convenience foods that we can get for quick snacks, meals, etc. (to supplement my home cooked meals, of course).

    I *just* discovered the Bahama and Sunshine burgers, so I am happy to read your reviews. At least I’ll know which varieties to try and which ones to avoid.

    I’ll be sure to look for the Amy’s variety next time I’m at Whole Paycheck.

    Thanks again.

  40. writeforfun says:

    BEWARE!!! SUNSHINE BURGERS WARNING!!! REALLY IMPORTANT!!!
    I used to love to eat the Sunshine burgers – they’re not top for taste – but their ingredients are pretty good and the flavor is certainly good enough to eat. But about 3 TIMES I got ROCKS – tiny ones, but Actual Rocks! in these burgers!! and the third time I chipped the back edge of a molar! Three strikes you’re out – I was wary after one and didn’t eat them for a while – then figured it Must have been a fluke and tried again. Only desperation for a good nutritional option that was quick made me willing to try the 3rd go round after many more months. I’m being Totally Honest about this – be really, really careful.

    • michael j says:

      I may be new to this and actually I’m still studying vegan diets trying to find a way to transition. I’d like to shed a little light on the rock problem. Granted it is unfortunate that you got rocks big enough to damage your teeth but its not all that weird. I invite you to walk down the cereal isle and check the name brand cereals. Most will have gypsum in the ingredients. Gypsum us also in toothpaste and makeup and such. Just a friendly note from your local gypsum plant employee.

  41. writeforfun says:

    Oh, another thought – as to the reason Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers might not be vegan. I haven’t Seen the ingredients, but the reason Burger King’s veggie burger isn’t vegan is because they use Caseinate- casein is a protein isolate from milk – it also happens to be one of the two allergenic components of milk (lactose being the other). If you’re sensitive to milk is one of those two components that make you react – be careful because Most alternative cheeses have it- hence why they are not ‘vegan’ either. This may not be the reason- but it seems the most likely reason. One fact that I found really awesome (for those with milk sensitivity), the casein and the lactose are both broken down by the probiotics in yogurt :) Live Kefir culture (such as can be purchase from Happy Herbalist.com) will also break down both- and can be used to make cheese and a cultured butter :) this at least increases the ‘normal’ foods you can make yourself at home. One final helpful hint for the allergy annoyed- the casein in goats’ milk is Much smaller in particle size- and rarely causes a reaction (there’s casein in Human breast milk- so it’s not the casein itself that’s the issue, but the fact that the casein in cows’ milk is huge relative to that we were born to consume). While I knot this is a lot of info I Really hope it’s helpful to some- allergies are annoying to work around until you learn this sort of stuff. Best of health to all- and remember all things work toward good with God :)

  42. I don’t like soy based veggie burgers. My favourite veggie burger is Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burger. They are vegan and they have a nice spice to them. I also recently tried Trader Joe’s regular veggie burgers and those are also really yummy. And no, I do not work for TJ’s, nor do I have stock in the comapany (unfortunately).

  43. Sunshine burgers make a falafel flavored patty that’s very good on a bun slathered with hummus! Like the originals, these are vegan and have a short, identifiable ingredient list.

  44. Mr Healthy in Cambridge, MA says:

    Amy’s veggie burgers are the worst. In taste, I rank Morning Star the best. The rest are mediocre in taste — I’ve been vegetarian all my life — so texture that needs to be like meat is not important to me. Amy’s burgers: expensive and have an offensive smell.

  45. Thanks for the review! I’m a fairly new vegan and grilling is one of my favorite things to do. I now just need to find more vegan things to put on it!

  46. When I could still eat gluten, I loved the Morningstar Farms Original Grillers. Amy’s has come out with a gluten free Bistro Burger that is pretty good. I’ve heard the barbeque flavor Sunshine Burger is really good, but haven’t tried it. I used to love Fantastic Foods tofu burger mix but sadly, it was discontinued.

  47. Also, Swad (indian groceries) has a veggie masala burger, tastes much much better, lacks protein compared to others.

  48. Try the Gardein(tm) burgers. Blow everything else out of the water. Gardein is becoming more and more readily availab.e

  49. I have always like the Lightlife burgers, but since I moved from Iowa to Arkansas four years ago I have been unable to find the. I like Morningstar too. Boca is the only other brand that I find readily available everywhere, and their burgers don’t seem anywhere near as tasty.

  50. You should have tried the Sunshine Spicy Black Bean Burgers! Soy-free and delish!

  51. This was a great review! I’m technically pescatarian (non-vegan vegetarian and I recently started eating fish). I really enjoyed Morning Star’s Grillers (not the “Grillers Prime” – those were too rubbery). If you’re looking for something that you might actually fool a carnivor with, that might be a way to go. My husband is a big time meat eater but I don’t cook meat for him at home and he enjoys both the original Morning Star Garden Burgers and Grillers. Thanks for your post!

  52. I like the garden burgers you get in the produce section (they aren’t frozen). I don’t know what brand they are to be honest. Amy’s burgers, like much of Amy’s products as of late, are not good at all. They are all dried out on the sides and just generally not good in taste. I feel like their product has gone downhill recently. I only eat their vegan burritos and lasagna.

  53. You may be referring to Gardein. Check their products out at http://www.gardein.com – available at many heath food stores in either the freezer or the refrigerated section. We prefer the Gardein burgers to any other (Yard House restaurant and Chipotle now serve their products) and they’ve got great chicken filets etc. Chef Tal (author and executive chef for Wynn resorts) also uses and endorses their products. Really great. Enjoy!

  54. My top 4 veggie grocery store frozen food isle bought burgers, in no order (all vegan)
    1. Amys Texas- not a huge amys fan, but i love the texas ones. Picked up some new Amys Sonoma Burgers that im interested to try, quinoa and walnuts top two ingredients.
    2. Various Masala Veggie Burgers- i have had trader joes, Swad, Tandoor chef, all amazing. There was one, i think it was Swad but not sure, that i got at an Indian market that tasted JUST LIKE i remembered MCd’s burgers to taste like when i made it on sourdough muffins and used veganaise and mustard, but its been about 12 years since i have had MCds
    3. Gardenburger Spicy Black Bean-delish
    4. Sunshine burger- breakfast- i actually like most of their flavors when i prepare them certain ways, but bfast is my fave. i have had the rock issue with them as well however.

  55. In my opinion, the BEST bean burger doesn’t come in a box, it’s made at home. Here’s the recipe: http://hilahcooking.com/veggie-bean-burgers/

    I’ve never had a better burger, pre-made or homemade.

  56. what about the classic gardenburger?

  57. We just tried the Amy’s Sonoma veggie burger and my whole family liked them. They are vegan, dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free. They contain quinoa, mushrooms, onions, gluten-free oats, walnuts, celery, carrots, garbanzo flour, potatoes, salt and sunflower oil. They were moist, tender and full of flavor. They are 140 calories, 5 g protein, 5 gr fat, but high in sodium at 500 mg. (the only downside I could see)

  58. My husband and I like the Food for Life Moofrey Burgers. They’re not vegetably or beany. The Trader Joe Masala burgers are nice too, but almost like a potato patty. We’ll have to try Amy’s after all the rave reviews.

  59. I just found a very nice tasting Eggplant Burger made from DOMINEX.
    Calories 90
    Total Fat 1g
    Saturated Fat 0g
    Trans Fat 0g
    Cholesterol 0mg
    Sodium 450 mg
    Total Carbohydrate 10g
    Dietary Fibre 4g
    Sugars 3g
    Protein 9g

  60. I was challenged by the mothers in my cooking classes to come up with a healthy, good tasting, nutritious vegan burger their whole family could eat. As a result I created Asherah’s Gourmet 100% organic Vegan burgers. They are made from Quinoa and vegetables and are free of the top 10 food allergens including soy and gluten. They are GMO free. We are in many Whole Foods Markets and health food stores across the country and soon will be nationwide with Whole Foods.

  61. What do you think of Bahama Rice Burgers. Have you tried them?

  62. Ok, I am new to all the vegan stuff….i have to admit my husband and i are full-fledge meat and potato people…. that being said my husbands blood pressure is through the roof and he has diabetes. I am trying to help him switch from ground beef to something more healthy that he can cook on the george foremen and throw on some cheese. Ive tried turkey burgers and soy burgers (that i hid in the ground beef)…didn’t work he won’t eat it unless its “real meat”. Any suggestions?

    • Maybe try a black bean burger. Top it with some vegetarian chili and he’ll never miss the “meat” I bet. My brother is a full fledged meat eater and he liked the Lightlife Backyard Grillers. They sell them at Kroger around me. I haven’t tried them because they are not vegan. It can make for a better transition burger to a 100% vegan lifestyle. Also try the Masala Burgers from Trader Joe’s if you can get to one, very yummy and 100% vegan.
      Maybe also check out the documentary “Forks Over Knives”. It can offer some help on eliminating his high blood pressure and diabetes through diet alone. It’s a big leap, giving up meat, but it gets easier the longer you go without it. Oh and potatoes are great! So you guys can be full-fledge no meat and potatoes people from now on. Good luck on everything! :-)

  63. I love Dr. Praeger’s All Natural California Veggie Burgers! Now that’s veggies! Ate it in Florida, I live in Michigan, and unfortunately have nowhere to buy them.

  64. Enrique says:

    I love Dr. Praeger’s burguers. But know what? Costo is not selling them any more. Why if they sold like hot bread? Who knows, but I am trying to find another seller in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

  65. this article gives textured soy protein a bad rap and then suggests products with “wheat gluten” as a primary protein ingredient.
    wheat gluten sucks as a primary protein source compared to soy protein, textured or not.

  66. I’ll never buy Dr. Praeger’s again; they were mushy and fell apart

  67. My new favorite burger is Amy’s Sonoma burger. It has a quinoa and mushroom base and doesn’t have gluten or soy. I’m always nervous about paying for something and not liking it, but I’m definitely glad I tried these out.
    Thanks for all the great posts!

  68. Here’s my problem with reviews like this — I’ve just talked my family into setting aside red meat and eating veggie burgers. They now come to me with this review saying, “See, they only get a D for nutrition, what’s the use?”

  69. Jillian says:

    Hilary’s Eat Well Spicy Green Chili Adzuki Bean Burger is the only thing that can compete with the real deal. Not sure they were around when this was originally posted, but they’re out there now! Vegan, soy-free, and gluten-free.

  70. How about Trader Joe’s Masala Burgers? … my favorite!

  71. Make your own!!

    So many ways to do this… I usually do a couple cups of beans, sauteed onions, garlic, corn… maybe half a cup of oats, and then a “binder” like cooked brown rice, tofu… put it in the food processor. I add the corn last. form patties on a floured surface. If you want to get fancy you can do it with a bread crumed surface. Either make them all at once, or save the batter in the fridge or freezer.

    How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman is the best book. This is where I got the idea.

  72. jason sheldon says:

    Hi guys (and gals). I’m newly going into the vegan lifestyle and am thrilled to HIGHLY recommend the Sunshine Burgers! They’re soy-free (soy is bad for you) and they taste amazing!!! i fry them in coconut oil (which is extremely healthy for you and a great butter alternative) and they’re devine. I’m glad i found these, i’m a fan for life

    • MissLeahBeah says:

      have you tried the bbq?? Those are the only ones have have lasted the test of time for my taste-buds. they are amazing!!

  73. *snickers* soy is not bad for you, that shit again?

    • MissLeahBeah says:

      processed soy is bad, yes. However, unprocessed-non GMO soy beans, tofu, and tempeh, etc. are good for you to have a couple times a week!!

  74. Gardein’s Ultimate Beefless Burgers are the best I’ve had. My omnivorous boyfriend craves them and maintains that they’re better than 90% of actual meat burgers.

  75. I’ve been eating veggie burgers for several years and the best by far are Dr. Praeger’s or Hillary’s Eat Well.

  76. I am so glad that I found this post! I am blogging about veggie burger for the Vegan Month of Food this year (Vegan MoFo) and I am definitely going to include the link to this post for my readers to check out. Thanks :)

  77. I just tried Dr. Praeger’s burgers today and they are ridiculously delicious! I was Googling them and stumbled on this site. My fiance and I run races and have found a new interest in vegan eating after watching Vegucated last week. I’m so excited to explore this site more!

  78. I’ve tried the Boca and Morningstar brands years ago. I didn’t like the soy protein, wheat gluten in them. Anyway, it still doesn’t say the soy is GMO free, does it (I picked up the packaging to see yesterday). However, I recently tried Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burger… love love them. Tasted yummy, vegan, GMO free. But it has soy flakes… a deal breaker for me.

    I’m looking to try Asherah’s Gourmet Vegan Burgers. No soy, gluten, dairy, eggs, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, shellfish… sounds like a dream come true.

  79. Cheryl Ware says:

    Please check out “No-Bull Burgers”, created by a small company in Charlottesville, VA. THey are starting to distribute to a wider geographic area. They’re now available from about DC to Richmond. Also, Lukas Volger’s book, “Veggie Burgers Every Which Way”. Wonderful recipes and pictures.

  80. The sunshine burgers make a southwest flavor that is really tasty!

  81. I wish we could get these in South Africa !!

  82. this is an interesting read. i second the person who states that gardein burgers are good. i was pressed for time and bought some and recently sampled them. they are pretty good. and vegan.
    i have had some success with finding recipes on line. i have tried two, one from my youth and one i found on delish, i think. a local restaurant which has long been closed used to make a burger called the golden lion. not gluten or soy free, but really great. the other is a recipe for kidney bean mushroom burgers which have oats (so there may be some gluten since oats have gluten). for those looking to keep them from falling apart, i recommend refrigerating the mix for about 30 minutes. also make sure they are moist enough when you put them in the frig.

  83. MissLeahBeah says:

    SUNSHINE BURGERS: I have tried many of them and they are ehh. BUT the BARBAQUE is AMAZING!!!! so give those a try. They rock for ingrediants and taste!!

  84. Scott Jurek’s mushroom lentil burgers are awesome! They grill great( at least on a grilling pan). They are one of the few homemade burgers I’ve tried that didn’t fall apart or stick when cooked!

  85. Kraft (Boca) and Kellog (Morningstar Farms & Gardenburger) donated millions to defeat CA Prop 37 to label GMOs. http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_26621.cfm

  86. Has anyone tried the vegan burgers from Quorn? I got to recently and thought they were pretty good. No Soy, but it does have gluten I believe.

  87. I have discovered the best veggie burger in New York….its Garden Supreme Veggie Burgers! I finally got the name from the owner of the diner down the street. I always thought they made them there from scratch, but he confessed that they buy them from a company in New Jersey!! They are awesome!

  88. If you are looking for a real veggie burger, loaded with veggies and light on calories (150, I think), try the QVC Guiltless Gourmet burgers. I am not sure, however, why the are not loaded with fiber, as well. But, they are FABULOUS and filling! Has anyone tried them?

  89. I’ve been vegan for over 10 yrs and have never had any problems with soy. The best burgers I’ve made so far have been from a defrosted pack of Boca Vegan Crumbles and a pack of Gardein Ultimate Burgers. After defrosting, combine, mashing all together–I add a little Colgin Liquid Smoke, vegan Worstershire, and some garlic powder and black pepper. The thawed Gardein patties provide the gumminess to make the burgers stick together. Then shape into burgers. They look homemade, and the meat-eaters love them.

    In my opinion, we sometimes get all caught up in worrying about certain ingredients, soy for example–is it good? is it bad? To me, it’s relative–relative to all the dead animals, dead flesh, blood, pathogens, and carcinogens in the meat I used to eat, soy’s OK. I’m 62, and I’m in the best health of my entire life, and my energy is over-the-top; I work out five days per week, three of which are weight training. My thyroid/metabolism is good, tryglycerides are low, cholesterol levels good, blood pressure normal, and I feel great…so I have my cup of caffeinated coffee in the morning, I love my breakfast tofu scramble, soy burgers, and occasionally have a Coke…moderation is key.

  90. Natalie says:

    The Famous Historic Trempealeau Walnut Burger is the BEST!!!

  91. Hello Friends!! Just wanted to drop a message and thank you so much for all this wonderful information. I Love our Animal Friends so much and a website like this is GREATLY APPRECIATED! Much Love…Steph :)

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  1. […] are difficult to buy — this seems to be a sentiment that I share with others (see this great No Meat Athlete review of […]

  2. […] the trick—Sunshine Burgers are my favorite.  For store brand veggie burger reviews visit the No Meat Athlete & Oh My […]

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