Veggie burgers get a bad rap — especially the frozen hockey pucks you find at the supermarket.
Admittedly, none of them can top fresh veggie burgers, mixed, formed, seared, and spatula'd off the skillet onto your plate. But some of them actually do taste good, stay together well, and are really freaking cheap. No, you won't get that juice-dripping-down-your-chin quality that only exists in medium-rare burgers and the very best veggie burgers, but you can't think of them as burgers. (We've gotta stop calling them that.)
Think of them instead as veggie patties — some grain-based, some black bean-based, some 'shroom-based (really anything-but-meat-based) — that also happen to please your tastebuds between two buns.
We had a burger tasting at the mbg office in which we sampled a whopping 17 frozen veggie patties and lived to tell the tale. Some we had to spit out (pretty sure it was dog food), while others had us coming back for seconds. The best ones, we found, didn't try to imitate meat; we could taste (and see!) individual vegetables in them. Our least favorites had the chill-inducing texture and look of rubbery meat, no vegetables in sight.
Only eight of them made the cut, and here they are:
Scores are all out of 10.
Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burger