Left: Gardenburger’s black bean burger; Right: Morningstar Farms’s version
Frozen veggie burgers aren’t exactly known for their hyper-deliciousness, but they are useful to have around when you want a snack or quick lunch that won’t ruin your upcoming pig roast dinner. We particularly like the burgers that feature beans rather than that mysterious textured soy protein that looks like it was made in a lab. But since what’s in the package never resembles the picture displayed, it’s hard to know which brand to buy. So for this week’s taste test, we pitted black bean burgers from Morningstar Farms and Gardenburger against each other.
What’s funny about supermarket veggie burgers is that they’re not actually so healthy. They’re low in fat and calories, but they’re heavily processed, and have yard-long ingredient lists. Both brands tested contained black beans, corn, peppers, soy protein and dozens more hard-to-pronounce things. But one of them is much more delicious than the other. Click through to find out.
Somehow, Morningstar Farms has managed to make a black bean veggie burger that appears to be fried, at least once it sits in a non-stick skillet for 10 minutes or so. It has a golden, crunchy exterior, and holds together like a fried patty, so that you could just munch on it out of hand. It tastes of beans, corn, salt, and a tiny bit of chipotle, which is just fine for our purposes.
The Gardenburger, on the other hand, is gummy and soft. In the pan, it turns sticky, and it tastes of liquid smoke (the promised “chipotle”). Yuck.
If you’re going to de-frost a black bean burger, it might as well be one that you can pretend saw the inside of a frying pan. Morningstar Farms wins this Battle of the Dishes handily.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 18, 2009