After you’ve discovered that your beloved Morningstar products contain a ton of wheat gluten, you’ll find yourself in the frozen food-section of a grocery store with a vexing first-world problem: which of these overpriced gluten-free veggie burgers actually taste good?
Luckily, curiosity and a steady job means I’ve done some of the hard work for you.
My top recommendations, for both flavor, nutrition, cost and non-crumbliness are Michigan-made Ope burgers. However, if Kalamazoo is too far away, Qrunch burgers (made with quinoa) and both Amy’s Bistro and Sonoma burgers are excellent as well.
Sol cuisine’s spicy black bean sliders: These were excellent, very filling, with a warm spicy flavor, an excellent texture, and they hold together well. I was really happy with these, especially after I was disappointed by their mushroom rice burgers. Which leads me to a good question: is it better for a veggie burger to be heavily spiced and flavorful, or should it have a simpler flavor, so it can go on any sandwich? In this case, these little sliders make me want to go find the large version of their black bean patties.
Qrunch burgers: These are light and crunchy, like a grain fillet. However, while I like their plain patties, I’m not really sold on the flavored ones. The green chile ones were seriously lacking in a spicy bite, and the Italian spice ones just tasted artificial and strange.
Asherah’s Gourmet vegan chipotle burgers: These are great! A lovely hint of spice behind a wonderfully rich burger flavor, a great texture and they hold up to being cooked. Definitely a lesser-known brand worth checking out.
Dr. Praeger’s kale burgers: These have a lovely, rich veggie flavor. However, they’re very mushy and prone to falling apart. Also, they tend to be on the pricier side. They’re pretty good as a pasta or rice topper, but a little disappointing as burgers.
Their California burgers are pretty good, made with lots of veggies— but they’re really just patties of vegetables, and without mushrooms or some type of protein, they’re just not that filling.
Engine 2 Plant Strong: I really want to like these lentil cumin because I love lentils, and wish there were more commercially-made veggie burgers with them. However, I found the patties a little bland, but they do hold up well when cooking. Also, they seem to be some weird in-store brand of Whole Foods.
A note on shopping for these: some, like Amy’s and Qrunch burgers, are easy to find in a Kroger’s or Meijer. However, a lot of these burgers require a trip to a health for store, or a higher-end place, like Whole Foods. (Ope’s burgers are always at the Ypsilanti Co-op.)
Also, I paid for all these myself.