This article was originally published on The Paleo Penguin on May 19, 2019.
When I got back from vacationing in England last month, I noticed the new Beyond Meat: Beyond Burger was popping up everywhere.
A&W had TV adverts with people claiming they couldn’t tell the difference between a vegan or beef burger. White Spot, a restaurant I frequent due to them being accommodating with my allergies, had a whole new menu section utilizing the burger patty in new dishes. The photos looked super tasty. The only downside was their Avocado Beyond burger that came with fries was $19!
When I see a product, the first thing I check is whether I am allergic to anything. I took a visit to their company website and the only red flag I saw on the ingredient list was “mung bean.” I didn’t even know what this was and had to look it up online.
One of my major food allergies are beans and includes red kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, edamame beans, green beans, and white beans. For some reason, bean sprouts or chickpeas don’t bother me.
I referenced my allergy test results in search of mung bean and was surprised to see it listed as one of the 300 foods I had tested. I was even more surprised to discover, I wasn’t allergic to it!
When I looked at the ingredients list on the package, I discovered something interesting. Below are the ingredients as listed on Beyondmeat.com:
Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Contains 2% or less of the following: Cellulose from Bamboo, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Maltodextrin, Yeast Extract, Salt, Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Dried Yeast, Gum Arabic, Citrus Extract (to protect quality), Ascorbic Acid (to maintain color), Beet Juice Extract (for color), Acetic Acid, Succinic Acid, Modified Food Starch, Annatto (for color).
But when you look at the actual package I purchased, the ingredients are as follows:
Water, pea protein isolate, canola oil, refined coconut oil, rice protein, natural flavor, dried yeast, mung bean protein, methylcellulose, potato starch, sugars (apple extract, pomegranate fruit powder), potassium chloride, vinegar, concentrated lemon juice, beet juice extract (vegetable glycerin, water, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid), sunflower lecithin, Lycopene extract from tomato, Vitamins and minerals niacin, [vitamin b3] pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin b6], thiamin hydrochloride [vitamin b1], riboflavin [vitamin b2], folic acid [vitamin b9],Beyond Burger packaging 2019.
cyanocobalamin [vitamin b12], calcium pantothenate, biotin, zinc sulphate, ferric orthophosphate.
The online ingredients don’t mention mung bean, rice proteins and some other things. I have no idea why there is a difference. If you look at the ingredient list on A&W, they are closer to the package ingredients than the website.
The fact that I could eat this meant I would give it a go. I picked up a package at my local Thrifty’s market. It was $8 plus tax and there were two patties in the package. I figured this wasn’t as big of a gamble as buying the burger at White Spot. I really hate wasting money on new foods I don’t end up liking.
On a side note, the package says you cannot freeze them and once you open them, the burgers must be eaten within 3 days. This meant I was cooking both of them at once.
When I unwrapped them, I was surprised by the look of the burgers. They looked like a chunky milky pasty kind of meat. The patties were formed and quite thick. You just peel back the paper and drop them in the pan.
I added a splash of olive to ensure they didn’t stick and the instructions said 4 minutes on each side set on medium heat. I did exactly what it said.
I was sketchy about how pink they remained as the longer they cooked, the color didn’t change. I quickly looked it up online and other people said the finished product stays pink, to resemble a real beef burger.
This was kind of an issue for me because I have never eaten a pink burger in my life. I am one of those people that says well done for any type of meat. I am also a little picky when it comes to meat. I eat chicken, seafood, minced beef and occasionally ham or bacon. I have never eaten steak, lamb, or roast because I don’t like the texture.
Once they were cooked, I topped each patty with some vegan cheese slices I keep handy exclusively for burgers and some tomatoes. I don’t eat bread so my go to is always a bed of lettuce.
The outside of the burger was crispy, but when I chewed it, I was getting hung up on the texture of the burger as all I could taste were the chunks. The flavor was good and it was moist, not dry. I wouldn’t say the taste was similar to a plain beef burger, but more of a burger that was flavored. I felt like it was trying too hard to be a real “beef.”
I only ate half a patty and then aborted my mission. I also got a slight headache right away, which is an indication something doesn’t like me in it despite the ingredient list being fine.
I talked to a few friends that have tried the Beyond Burger and they recommended slicing the patty in half to make it skinnier. They said it cooked better and wasn’t as pink. That might work better or it would make the patty just a crispy hard hockey puck, I don’t know.
I know veggie burgers are always better with toppings and a bread roll as it masks the real flavor. Perhaps it would taste better this way or covered in avocado mash?
For the record, I was a vegetarian for 3 years before I was diagnosed with my allergies and have eaten my fair share of veggie burgers and enjoyed many brands. If it wasn’t for my allergies, I would still eat them. Finding ones without nuts, soy, or beans are next to impossible. One of my favorites was the Kirkland Garden Burger that you can buy at Costco or the veggie burger at Burger King.
Would I buy this again? No. Does it live up to the hype it is getting? It is hard to say. I think vegans or vegetarians would like the burger as it reminds them of what a burger used to taste like, but for someone that eats meat as well, I think it is too different for my liking.
Give it a try and let us know what you think of it!
I give Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger a rating of 2 stars ★★
Note: I was not paid to write this review and this is just my opinion on the product I sampled. If there is a product you want me to sample, drop me a message on Facebook.