If you prefer to eat a plant-based diet, you might consider a veggie burger that really bleeds and tastes like meat impossible. Two new companies have recently started proving you wrong. You can find the Impossible Burger at a number of restaurants, including White Castle. The Beyond Burger appears at Whole Foods, as well as T.G.I. Friday’s. But how do they taste? A number of experts weighed in. Don’t miss their final verdict, as well as one shocking health revelation (page 15).
1. This tech reporter had harsh words for the burger
Ars Technica Automotive Editor Jonathan Gitlin probably represents the harshest critic. “The crust on the Impossible burger was pretty good, and maybe if the patty was thinner it would have worked better. But I wasn’t a fan of the taste, which was a little bitter and lingered at least until I got to the metro station,” he said. Overall, he rated the Impossible Burger a three on a scale of 1-10.
Next: This British vegetarian crossed the pond to provide her perspective.
2. A British vegetarian revealed a surprising take
She called it the best veggie burger she’s ever eaten. | Impossible Foods via Facebook
The BBC Good Food reporter said she came away from the Impossible Burger pleasantly surprised. “The feeling I wanted was the joy that comes with a warm, fatty, and salty burger wrapped in an amazing brioche bun, pickles, sauces, salad, and cheese,” she explained. “This definitely had that naughty, fatty taste and texture I was looking for … It was simply delicious.”
She called it the best veggie burger she has ever had, but with one caveat. Because she could still tell the difference between this one and real meat, it did leave her a tiny bit disappointed.
Next: This tech reporter also really enjoyed his burger.
3. This reviewer could not even tell the difference
It was convincing. | Impossible Foods via Facebook
Ars Technica Senior Tech Policy Reporter Timothy Lee called the Impossible Burger, “a convincing imitation. … If I got one and didn’t know it was an Impossible Burger, I don’t think I would have noticed the difference,” he said. He added that it did not taste like the juiciest, most flavorful burger in the world. However, it tasted just like your average burger.
“If you’re someone who would like to eat less meat — for moral, dietary, or environmental reasons — but can’t bear the thought of giving up beef, the Impossible Burger is a compelling product,” he said.
Next: The following food blog loved the burger.
4. You will not believe this food site’s response
They sampled the Beyond Burger at Whole Foods. | Raedle/Getty Images
“When our editorial team tried the final product, the kitchen fell silent,” Tasting Table wrote, of the Beyond Burger. They first sampled the burger when it appeared at Whole Foods in 2016. “Nobody could believe how good it was. The texture may have been a little soft, but overall, everyone was seriously impressed.” Of course, we have to point out their highest compliment: “We didn’t hate it.”
Next: This reporter said all of the publicity colored his expectations.
5. This expert did not expect it to taste like a real burger
He thought it tasted like this beef burger. | Dizelen/iStock/Getty Images
Scott Johnson of Ars Technica tried the Impossible Burger and said it just about met his expectations. As a vegetarian, he didn’t really want it to taste exactly like meat. “I don’t expect a carnivore to fail a blind taste test between an Impossible Burger and ground beef,” he said.
“But what made it unique was the fact that it does cook up the way ground beef does. The surface sears similarly, giving it that slightly chewy texture without becoming dry and crunchy. That contributed to a great sandwich that hit flavor notes I don’t think I’ve tasted since giving up beef.”
Next: A Whole Foods marketing representative also agreed.
6. But how does the texture work?
The texture is similar to ground beef. | iStock/Getty Images
Thrillist said the Beyond Burger’s texture came really close to ground beef. “As one Whole Foods rep pointed out to me, ‘it chews like a burger,’ too. He’s not wrong. It’s also not dry — it tastes undeniably fresh,” said Thrillist. “I remember when I first had a Boca Burger a billion years ago and thought, ‘Wow, this almost is like a real burger!’ I was stupid back then.”
Next: The following critic also weighed in on the meat’s color.
7. Its color came shockingly close to real beef
Can you tell the difference? | Impossible Foods via Facebook
Tech Insider found itself impressed by the Beyond Burger’s taste and moistness, but did not feel fooled by the burger. “In a blind taste test, it definitely wouldn’t fool me as beef, but its texture was shockingly close — and it was even pink in the middle,” one tester said. However, most vegetarians pointed out that they also do not really expect exact dupes.
Next: This food expert really broke it down.
8. One critic got real specific about his pros and cons
This person was skeptical. | Impossible Foods via Facebook
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats remained more skeptical of the meat-free burgers after he tasted both side-by-side. He said that while they do taste like “a big step up” from previous iterations, they still have a long way to go. “The Impossible Burger does a much better job of imitating the aroma of beef,” he said. “Sniff an Impossible Burger patty and you’ll find it smells remarkably like beef. (Or, at least, it smells like beef raised on a steady diet of coconut.)”
Next: He preferred the Impossible Burger when cooked, too.
9. This burger must not exceed this temperature to stay tasty
Proper cooking is key. | Impossible Foods via Facebook
Serious Eats also said the veggie burgers must absolutely not get cooked too thoroughly, or they lose that juicy texture. “When cooked, [the Impossible Burger] fares better, too, with a mineral, meaty flavor— so long as you keep it medium-rare,” Lopez-Alt explained.
“The second time I tried it … the burgers came cooked gray through and through, and tasted unmistakably and overwhelmingly like wheat, with barely any beefiness.” He did recommend adding toppings like cheese, pickles, and condiments. Those also help convince your taste buds with different textures and flavors. Besides, who eats plain burgers, anyway?
Next: The food critic and recipe tester delivered the following verdict.
10. He called the burgers marvel of modern science
It could be the future of food. | Impossible Foods via Facebook
Lopez-Alt said he came away “incredibly impressed” with both the Beyond and Impossible burgers. He also added they “make me optimistic about the future of our food system and our ability to sustain our growing demand for meat.” That said, they do not really fool him completely.
“[They taste] similar enough to real beef to make you think, “Oh, I’m eating beef!”, but just far enough away from it to make you think, “Hmm, something is not quite right here, but darned if that isn’t delicious.”
Next: The following site also tested both burgers.
11. This tester thought he ordered a totally different food
This person thought he had a hamburger. | Impossible Foods via Facebook
Business Insider also tried both the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger. “When my food arrived, I almost thought I was delivered the wrong meal,” one tester said. “The Impossible Burger looked exactly like a hamburger.” He subsequently reported that it did not “bleed,” but it did have a nice pink color inside. “It tasted a lot more like beef than any other veggie burger I’ve had,” he said, adding that it also smelled like beef.
Next: When it comes to burgers, texture also really matters.
12. They really cared about the texture
The texture resembled beef. | Impossible Foods via Facebook
Business Insider said both burgers looked pink inside, but neither exactly “bled.” One tester said, “The inside of the [Beyond] burger was red, but this burger didn’t ‘bleed’ either.” He also called it drier than the Impossible Burger. While they had slightly different textures, both resembled beef more than your typical veggie burger.
Next: These critics chose a clear favorite, however.
13. Which should you choose, if you can try both?
The Impossible Burger wins in texture and flavor. | Impossible Foods via Facebook
Both the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger looked, smelled, and tasted like beef, according to the testers. They called it “clear that the goal of each company was to appeal to meat eaters.” Serious Eats in particular said both tasted delicious and showed how far meat substitutes have come. Overall though, the Impossible Burger had a better texture and flavor.
Next: We found this fact really surprising.
14. This burger actually contains more fat than beef
A traditional burger actually has less fat than a Beyond Burger. | iStock
Do you order veggie burgers because you consider them healthier than the meat variety? Think again. According to Tech Insider, “the Beyond Burger has significantly more protein, sodium, calories, and fat compared to a normal burger.” Guess we can’t consider these health foods, after all.
Next: That contributes to this feeling we all recognize.
15. Yes, you will feel full after eating these babies
They’re filling. | Impossible Foods via Facebook
Serious Eats pointed out that the Impossible Burger contains 17 grams of total fat but a whopping 15 grams of saturated fat. That represents a full 72% of your daily allowance in one patty. “This high fat content translates to a familiar feeling of burger bloat after you’ve finished eating,” said Lopez-Alt. “I wanted to do nothing more than sit on the couch and veg out after eating them.”
Go ahead and try these meat-free burger alternatives, but not if you want to get healthier. For that, we still recommend you stick to salad or at least make your own.