The rich, warming scent of a beef burger sizzling on the grill, followed by a ginormous first bite that sends juices snaking down your hands, is one of the best parts about grilling season. While burgers feel like an American staple in the summer, you may feel a twinge of guilt firing up the grill. Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or are in serious denial), it’s no secret that our planet is in need of some serious TLC and that America is not the healthiest nation on earth. So adopting more of a plant-based diet helps tackle both of these issues by reducing our carbon footprint and improving our personal health. And you can kick off summer right with what you cook at your barbecues.
Choosing well-sourced ingredients, such as sustainably raised or caught fish, and opting for vegetables over meat can make a difference not only for your health but also for the health of the planet. Vegetables have a lower carbon footprint than beef, which is one of the many reasons why environmentalists encourage a largely plant-based diet. However, anyone who has dabbled in vegetarianism or a vegan-during-the-day diet has probably been burned by the sad meat substitutes out there claiming to be as good as beef burgers — instead of the plump, delicious patty you’re craving, you’re served up dry, crumbling chunks with zero flavor.
Enter The Beyond Burger. If we were to throw out some startup lingo, then we would call them a disrupter in the plant-based burger game. In fact, they’ve been acclaimed as a game changer for both vegetarians and carnivores alike — the burgers actually taste good and like beef (meat eaters can verify this). It’s not a fluke that they are all the rage across the country: They’re served at thousands of restaurants like TGI Fridays, Veggie Grill, Bareburger, Epic Burger, and Plan Check, and can also be found in the meat aisles of over 8,000 grocery stores across the country (instead of relegated to the fake meat section). Here’s what you should know about Beyond Meat and their burgers.
Most plant-based burgers fall apart during cooking — but Beyond Burger doesn’t.
The main issues with most vegetarian burgers are texture, moisture, and the ability to hold up during the cooking process (aka tasting and acting like a real beef burger). Beyond Burger has combated this problem in a few ways. The company aimed to recreate the architecture of a beef burger by braiding together proteins, fats, and minerals to mimic the texture of meat so that it gives you more substance in each bite. Beyond Burgers blend in coconut oil and potato starch to provide juicier patties and a heartier mouthfeel.
The “bleeding” color comes from beets.
Biting into a Beyond Burger comes with a little surprise: You’ll find that red-tinted juice seeps out of the patty, much like the juices of a burger, which somehow makes the whole experience more satisfying. To achieve this, a tiny amount of beet juice is added in for color, making it look like a medium-rare burger that “bleeds out red” rather than the dull, gray-green wannabe burgers with specks of orange that we’ve been stuck with (if you’ve had them, you know what we’re talking about).
They’ve been acclaimed as a game changer for both vegetarians and carnivores alike.
By achieving a meat-like texture and layered flavors as the base of the burger, each patty tastes like a substantial and juicy burger — there’s none of that crumbling and falling apart that you find with other substitutes. This helps meat lovers get the flavor profile and texture they want without the baggage of beef. Plus, since many vegetarians struggle to find substantial (and tasty) sources of protein, the use of peas in the Beyond Burger provide a solution with 20 grams of protein per burger.
They’re healthier than a burger made from red meat.
With less saturated fat than traditional beef burgers, Beyond Burgers are also free of GMOs, soy, and gluten — so you can feel less guilty about having a burger for dinner. Serve with some grilled vegetables on the side, and you satisfy the burger craving without the baggage of red meat.
And the best part? They are super easy to cook.
There’s no fear of overhandling the meat here or worrying about it being under- or overcooked. A quick three minutes on each side makes you a healthy and easy weeknight dinner. For recipe ideas, check out basketball star JJ Redick’s Beyond Burger recipe and one from chef Spike Mendelsohn that’s topped off with a secret sauce. And the company recently launched a line of sausages that taste and cook just like your favorite links, which can be thrown on the grill this summer. (You’re welcome.)