The Edgy Veggie

Taste-testing the new wave of veggie burgers

 
 
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Very veggie:</span> While veggie burgers are better than they used to be, condiments like a Moroccan spice paste help bring their flavor to life.
Very veggie: While veggie burgers are better than they used to be, condiments like a Moroccan spice paste help bring their flavor to life.
Ellen Kanner / For the Miami Herald

Main Dish

Moroccan Veggie Burgers

Veggie burgers love condiments, so dress them up with your favorite fixings. Or go really wild, and lay on Moroccan spice paste that takes your basic veggie burger from boring to bodacious.

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 handful Italian parsley, finely chopped

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

4 veggie burgers, thawed

Mix together crushed fennel seeds, coriander, paprika, optional red pepper flakes and minced garlic in a large bowl. Stir in tomato paste and olive oil to form a thick paste. Gently mix in chopped parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Paint burgers liberally with the spice paste. Grill, bake or panfry as desired. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving (spice paste only): 38 calories (78 percent from fat), 3.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated, 2.5 g monounsaturated), 0 mg cholesterol, .5 g protein, 1.7 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g fiber, 35 mg sodium.


ellenkanner98@gmail.com

The first wave of commercial veggie burgers had issues.

With the taste and texture of Styrofoam, they suffered an inferiority complex. Wanting to be meat, they suffered an identify crisis. Those who ate them suffered, too.

Was meatless, grillable and great an impossible combo? Happily, veggie burgers have evolved, some more than others.

•  Franklin Farms Veggiburgers (10 ounces, $4.99) in your grocer’s produce section still try to be meaty. Chewy, pinkish-hued and sporting unconvincing grill marks that look more like racing stripes, they have a smoky flavor disconcertingly like a slice of ham steak. They’re hamless but contain the vaguely worded “natural flavors from non-meat sources.”

While mushrooms, carrots, corn, onions and red peppers top the list of ingredients, Veggiburgers also contain eggs, soybean flour and soy protein concentrate, which may concern those seeking non-genetically modified food sources. That said, Veggiburgers have the fewest calories (100) and the most protein (12 grams) of our veggie contenders.

•  MorningStar Farms (9.5 ounces, $4.69), a Kellogg subsidiary, was one of the first to introduce veggie burgers. They’re still around, offering a dozen meatless burger options, from Asian to Mediterranean, and one vegan variety. Dense, with a nicely peppery finish, it’s non-GMO and made with organic quinoa, textured soy protein and lentils. Though light on the veggies, it’s rich in flavor, thanks to roasted garlic, yeast, spices and natural smoke flavor. Each burger contains 130 calories and 8 grams of fat. Other MorningStar Farms veggie burgers can include egg whites, corn syrup and soy isolates. Check the label.

•  Winner: Dr. Praeger’s Kale Veggie Burgers (10 ounces, $3.99) are vegan, soy-free, non-GMO and defiantly green. They’re made from just a few ingredients, including quinoa, brown rice, millet, canola oil and a veg-intensive blend of kale, carrots, peppers, onions and corn. They’re not trying for meaty but to be the best veggie patty they can be — and that’s pretty good. Each burger contains 130 calories, and 6 grams of fat.

All three veggie burgers are quick-cooking and available at supermarkets. Let the evolution continue. Meanwhile, let’s fire up the grill.

Ellen Kanner is the author of “Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner.”

Read more The Edgy Veggie stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category