Vegan Burgers For Memorial Day

It's that time of year again here in the United States. It's the unofficial start of summer. Actually, I'm a little premature. Monday will be the Memorial Day holiday, and this weekend is when most of us break out the grill. Now living in Southern California, I have truly lost all sense of seasons. It's either warm or hot, and we can grill year round. But we will be out there on Monday, along with most of America.

I don't know what the rest of you have planned, but we're having some family and friends over. We'll be serving the traditional fare of salads, burgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob. The only difference is we'll be serving vegan fare. We'll also be grilling a bunch of portobello mushrooms and a slew of veggies from the farmers market, plus a bunch of onions and peppers, because in our opinion, they can really make a burger or dog!

We bought MorningStar Farms Grillers Vegan last week at our local Trader Joe's (they retailed for $2.89 for a package of 4 burgers). We figured we'd give them a test run tonight. They were delicious! And, we both thought they tasted like meat. Granted, neither one of us has tasted meat in an awfully long time, but they tasted like what we remembered beef patties to taste like. They smelled like meat too. And it bears repeating, they were delicious!

We don't eat a lot of the MorningStar items because they often have egg, milk, or cheese in their products. For example, the Chick'n and Garden Veggie Patties contain milk and eggs. But these burgers specifically state "vegan" on the package. MorningStar Farms even goes so far as to say "natural flavors from vegetable sources" which should put a number of people at ease. Unfortunately "natural flavors" can, and often does, mean derived from animal by-products.

If you haven't tried these yet... we highly recommend them. They're 100 calories a patty, with 12 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbohydrate, and 2.5 grams total fat.

Consumer Reports has an interesting article entitled, Healthful Burgers That Taste Good, in which they laud the veggie burger, saying that 10 of the 12 burgers they reviewed were very good. (Parenthetical comments are ours.)

CR's take. MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie Patties (not vegan but the Original, Roast Onion, and Roasted Garlic burgers are vegan) are a top choice, falling somewhere between meatlike and grainlike, and they're especially moist and flavorful. If you're looking for a meat wannabe, consider Boca All American (not vegan), cheaper than most at 96 cents per burger. Eaten on a bun with condiments, it could be mistaken for ground beef. If you don't favor a meaty taste, try Dr. Praeger's (we like the Tex-Mex burger), whose crisp vegetables and soft filling have a flavor that comes through best without toppings or bun, or Gardenburger Portabella (not vegan), which stands up to bread plus trimmings. Lightlife (as of this writing, only the Light Burger is vegan), the priciest of all, is low in flavor and high in sodium.

Surprisingly, everyone we invited was game to try a vegan meal. We expected a few people to decline because we won't cook meat here. We've found our burgers, the ones we believe might even fool or convert our omni friends. For our "meat" burger, we'll be serving MorningStar Farms Grillers Vegan. For those not looking for a "meat" taste, we'll serve the Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle Burgers (our review at this link).

We don't believe in beating anyone over the head to make our point, but we believe in leading by example. Perhaps we'll win a few converts to our cause. Provided I don't burn the burgers!


  1. the morningstar farms grillers are actually my favorite of all the veggie burgers available–and trust me, I’ve tried them all! (the only thing I like more is my homemade ones) I eat the morningstar farms ones atleast 1-2 times a week during the spring and summer. (I actually had one tonight!!)

  2. I host quite a few cook outs in the spring and summer months and the Morningstar Farms Grillers always go over well with everyone. Even my red meat loving father deigns to eat them. ­čÖé

  3. Another option: Homemade veggie burgers. They’re easy to make, you can create flavors that you can’t find in the frozen pre-made varieties, and you have more control over the taste. If your non-vegan friends like Gardenburger and MorningStar burgers, they might flip over veggie burgers made from scratch (and the folks who aren’t too hot on veggie burgers might change their tune after they taste homemade). There are tons of recipes online and in books and magazines.

  4. Thanks for the great recommendation!

    I am always on the look out for something other than Boca vegan burgers- though yummy it would be nice to try something else. I always shy away from Morning Star as it really does seem they don’t have any vegan products so this is really good to know. Thank you! I’ll be on the look out for these.

  5. Hi Chelsea,
    Yes, I can see why they’d be your favorites. We’re not quite ready to say that yet, but of all the prepared burgers we’ve tried, these taste most like meat (as we remember).

    Hi Christina,
    Jane keeps intending to try your burgers. She’s been to that recipe a number of times. But so far she hasn’t gotten around to it yet.

    Hi Sugar,
    Glad to hear your red-meat-eating dad loves them. As I mentioned, we’re going to have a bunch of omni’s over. We’re really hopeful that they’ll like these. We’re feeling a little pressure representing the vegan way of eating. What if they don’t like the foods we serve? We’re acting as ambassadors to vegan foods. Oh, the pressure!

    Hi Gary,
    Eventually, we’ll get around to trying them from scratch. Right now Jane looks upon them as a convenience food, so it’s more convenient to buy them pre-made. Most of the food we eat isn’t processed, but it’s nice to have easy alternatives too!

    Hi Tracy,
    With all this hype, I hope they live up to your expectations when you finally do try them!

    Hi Autumn,
    Yes, I’ve seen McDougalls info. First, I’m always a little leery of people who sell their own products and then say other products aren’t as good/healthy. You could argue that they’re motivated to create a better product, or they could be marketing geniuses.
    My other point is that there is so much conflicting information on soy product out there. I’ve even read somewhere that any tofu processed in the US is toxic as it is processed for expediency sake, which creates some kind of toxic build up. That may be true, but there are plenty of other people saying “eat tofu.” Our doctor has suggested that eating soy in moderation is perfectly safe. Of course, who knows if he has all the facts. (see
    this post).

  6. Ha! You think docs dont know about nutrition you should sehow little they learn about pharmacy in med school. Usually one semester. They trust the drug reps for information. Yikes! I worked in pharmacy and docs often called us up to ask questions about meds. I guess they cant be a jack of all trades.

    I have no problem with tofu, it is the processed stuff that freaks me out. I try to stick with a Japanese diet. Miso and tofu in moderation. Okay, except miso soup which is almost like beer in Japan. They dont eat processed soy there and they live to be as old as the hills.

  7. Hi Autumn,
    Yes, unfortunately, we know about the lack of nutritional training most physicians get (we linked back to our post on that topic). Had no idea about the drug reps though. That’s frightening. I’ve know a few really intelligent drug reps in my day, but currently, one of our less intelligent relatives is in that position. Yikes!!!!!

  8. Hi LaTara,

    The difference in price at our local Trader Joe’s is negligible. I guess we’re lucky. Mostly though, we’ve stayed away from the Morningstar products because many of them contain eggs. We wouldn’t have even picked these up to look at the ingredient list, except that the name is “grillers vegan.”

    If you don’t have a TJs near you, then I’d say get them for special occasions. After Memorial Day, we’ll blog about how they went over with our omni’s.

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