Not Your Mother’s Veggie Patties
By : Thomas Hiatt
Beyond Burger is not simply another veggie burger as they contain no actual vegetables, but rather vegetable derivatives. The central idea behind them is to “build meat directly from plants” which basically amounts to a reverse-engineering of the process an animal uses to break down what it consumes while removing the animal altogether from the equation.
The top two ingredients are water and pea protein isolate, simulating the texture and nutritional make-up of real beef. Beet juice extract and pomegranate fruit powder are used for the “blood” coloration. Sunflower lecithin is added as a binder. Expeller-pressed canola and refined coconut recreate the marbling effect of a high quality grind..
Fried up as patties, they retain their juiciness. However, chopped up they tend to
dry out and lose much of their moist, chewy, “meaty” texture. Another disadvantage is the product being sold frozen while the instructions state it be cooked thawed. A bit of patience is required. These issues aside, they taste very close to real beef, fooling even some self-affirmed carnivores in taste tests.
Concerns about the sustainability issues of the traditional livestock industry (i.e, the effect on the land, the environment, as well the bovines themselves) are addressed here (although, to be fair, some improved practices of the beef industry, such as the open range grass cattle feeding, are becoming more eco-friendly.)
They are ideal for vegan, kosher or halal diets.