Food lover and trying very hard to not make myself fat while I'm at it
I'm not a Vegetarian, but...
First and foremost, I am not a vegetarian. I love hamburguers, hotdogs and all things beef. That being said, I have spent endless hours watching Netflix documentaries on how the excessive amounts of meat consumed by humans is destroying the planet.
As a person whose palate doesn't agree with the taste of most steamed vegetables, I have tried throughout the years to search for options to reduce my carbon footprint on this planet. And as continuous studies demonstrate the health hazards of charcuterie and red meat, I feel like this is a step I need to take rather sooner than later.
Fortunately for me, one of my favourite dishes is a vegetarian dish (leek with chips), but that's still a long way from reducing meat in my diet altogether.
My Hamburger Journey
A few years ago, I started experimenting every vegetable patty concoction in the market. The beginning stages of my endeavour consisted on encountering what would be more similar to a vegetable tortilla. That was the option back in the day, and I found myself chewing on fried bell peppers and corn within a bun. It was definitely not going to deter me from the meat burger, but at least they were trying their best.
The bean and chickpea burger came next on the market, to much of the vegetarian community excitement, and was even adopted by some fast food restaurants. I tried it myself but I found myself chewing a big load of bean mush dissolving into a puree in my mouth. It's a great option if you have no teeth, but it will leave you staring with envy at your friend's double pounder beef burger.
Mushroom burgers had then become the next with all shapes and sizes, up to the most beloved Portobello burger. Still this option hadn't made the cut for me.
The McVeggie came along and fortunately that was, for me, the beginning of something I could eat. Even though it's still a vegetable mix that tastes like vegetable and doesn't pretend to be anything else, the sauces and remaining ingredients, helped it achieve an actually delicious burger that I could eat despite my distaste for vegetables.
And then the miracle came along
Finally one day, my friend and I, were dying to try this new restaurant which had this jungle-like decoration. We didn't even know it was a vegetarian restaurant until we got there; we were more excited about the instagrammable jungle-themed environment surrounding us.
Along came the menu and, in the stubborn pursuit of not giving up, I asked about the vegetarian burger: what is it made of and how does it taste. The waitress very honestly said she wasn't sure about all the ingredients, but certain that it was mostly made of peas. My neck twitched at the thought of another deep-fried pea puree and I politely asked for the salad instead. She must have spotted my mild disgust and enthusiastically defended the burger with all its might: "it tastes like meat, I swear. It's mind boggling, please try it and tell me I'm right". I couldn't quite understand why she was so adamant about it, unless she was the pea farmer herself and hadn't met the selling quota for the month. Hesitantly I said yes.
The burger came in all its lush resembling a beef burger and the patty was brown - again, like a beef burger - and it smelled like no different than - a beef burger. No smell of peas was to be found. My friend was expectantly waiting for me to take a bite - I guess I was the guinea pig for the evening - and I did. It was meat, they had served me the wrong burger. Fortunately my friend stopped me from calling the waitress, pointing out the fact that this is a vegetarian restaurant with no meat options.
There was no conversation that evening during dinner that didn't focus on that burger. I dissected it thoroughly with my knife, scientifically isolating its constituents thinking I was being fooled. Not a pea in sight, but every inch of the burger looking like meat. Our gloating waitress came by and asked: "so what did I tell you?". Still in disbelief I asked if it really was a pea burger. She stated it was isolated pea protein, according to the chef, mixed with some 20 other ingredients which she couldn't specify. I still left thinking the restaurant was pulling a stunt, and fooling their customers into believing they had hit the jackpot.
The Final Test
The next day, I had to buy last minute items at the shopping mall. By coincidence, or by divine attempt to contradict my stubbornness, I found this small vegetarian restaurant truck staring at me and I decided to go take a look. Something called the Faux Meat Burger by Beyond caught my attention and I asked what was that all about. His response, in a sense of deja vu, stated it was made up of 90% pea protein and tasted like meat. That was it: I was going to put my mistrust to the test.
In this large toasted English muffin style bun, coated on the inside with melted garlic butter, laid a fried egg, sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onion with my "pea patty" in between. My bite was everything I dreamed of: tasted like meat in the most divine way possible. And that's the exact point when I surrendered.
I finished my meal with the light weight in my stomach that no beef digestion could ever provide me and promised myself i had found the reason to stop the burger carnage.
To all the cows out there, I dedicate this to you as from now on, no burger of mine will contain beef and if I saved one of you in my lifetime, while feasting on one of the best burgers I have ever tried, we won. I not only recommend this burger as a life changer, I think investing in the pea agriculture will probably be a sound financial decision.
Now you can also make it at home:
How about you?
Christopher Follick (author) on December 10, 2020:
Christopher Follick (author) on December 10, 2020:
I think as they become mainstream, the price tends to lower but yes, unfortunately they are still considerably higher than the meat version
MG Singh emge from Singapore on December 10, 2020:
Looks appetizing. I will have to taste them to savor their taste. Nice article
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 09, 2020:
I'll have to give this a try after reading your review.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 09, 2020:
This is an interesting article. I like some vegetarian burgers that I've tried very much. I've seen the Beyond Burger in my local supermarkets, but it's quite expensive where I live. Now that I've read your review, I'll try it some time.