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The Best Veggie Burgers: from the Healthiest Veggie Burgers to the Highest in Protein

- Written by on May 6th 2015

There are an insane number of veggie burgers on the market. Whether you're vegetarian, vegan, or just a Meatless Monday supporter, it's nice to have so many options. But not all veggie burgers are created equal. Some taste truly disgusting—not even a faint reminder of what a burger is. Others have a mile-long ingredient list full of unnecessary additives. The worst veggie burgers suffer from both.

The best veggie burgers, and likely also the healthiest veggie burgers, will contain whole food ingredients and as few additives as possible. They should be high in protein without relying on extremely artificial or even potentially harmful protein sources. And of course, they should taste good, even if they don't try to imitate the taste of meat (usually for the best).

best veggie burgers

So, which burgers do we think have a right to be on a list of the best veggie burgers? Ask and you shall receive:

The Veggie Burgers with the Best Ingredients

Some veggie burgers have more than 20 ingredients, and it's often not because they are full of that many kinds of vegetables. We wish. Dr. Praeger's line of veggie burgers is absolutely an exception. Their ingredient lists are some of the shortest from the veggie burgers we looked at, and tell me, what don't you feel good about eating from the list below?

Kale, cooked quinoa (quinoa, water), cooked brown rice (brown rice, water), expeller pressed canola oil, cooked millet (millet, water), onions, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, potato flakes, roasted corn, red peppers, water chestnuts, roasted zucchini, broccoli, rice starch, roasted garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper.

Okay, maybe you're not a fan of canola oil (you perfectionist!), but overall that's a pretty harmless list for a convenience food.

Dr. Praeger's Sensible Foods Kale Veggie Burgers

  • gluten free, vegan, GMO free, soy free
  • numerous other flavors (not all are gluten/soy free or vegan - check packages)
  • only 3 grams of protein (the variations with textured soy protein have more)

Another line of veggie burgers with super clean ingredient lists are Hilary's Eat Well veggie burgers, those these may be harder to find than Dr. Praeger's. They even dare to call one of their burgers the "World's Best Veggie Burger."

Water, Organic Whole Millet, Organic Adzuki Beans, Organic Whole Quinoa, Organic Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil, Organic Sweet Potato, Organic Onion, Organic Mild Green Chilis, Organic Psyllium Seed Husk Powder, Organic Arrowroot, Redmond’s Real Salt®, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Garlic, Organic Cumin, Organic Chipotle Powder, Organic Chili Powder, Organic Lime Juice

Hilary's Eat Well Green Chili & Cumin Adzuki Bean Burger Patties

  • certified organic, gluten free, vegan, GMO free, soy free
  • only 5 grams of protein
  • primarily sold in Whole Foods/health food stores

The brand Amy's also offers veggie burgers made with organic, whole food ingredients, but they didn't score as well as Dr. Praeger's and Hilary's Eat Well in the taste tests we considered, such as those from The Huffington Post and Food Network. Still, we would be willing to try their Texas burger, which leads us to the next section...

Veggie Burgers with the Most Protein

Amy's Texas Veggie Burger contains 12 grams of protein per patty, without sacrificing its clean ingredient list too much. Its primary ingredient is textured soy protein concentrate (non GMO) and it gets some extra protein from mushrooms, wheat gluten, bulgur wheat, oats, and walnuts. Though it is dairy free and vegan, this option is not suitable for gluten free or nut free diets. In fact, none of the veggie burgers in this section is guaranteed to be gluten free, though Wildwood's original veggie burger only lists soy on its allergen warning label (read below for more details).

Amy's Texas Veggie Burger Barbecue

  • GMO free
  • 12 grams of protein
  • Not gluten free or nut free

If you can find them, Wildwood offers certified organic tofu burgers with 11 grams of protein each.

Wildwood Original Veggie Burger

  • certified organic, GMO free
  • 11 grams of protein
  • does not contain wheat, but is processed on lines used for wheat-containing products. Measures are taken to avoid cross contamination.

Easiest to Find Veggie Burgers

We highly recommend scouting out the burgers we've already recommended, particularly if you were interested in finding the healthiest veggie burgers. If you can't find any of those brands, you're probably going to be choosing between MorningStar Farms and Boca burgers, unless you decide to make veggie burgers yourself or order a veggie burger mix.

Based on ingredients and nutritional breakdown alone, we'd go for Boca's non-GMO vegan burger, which at least has fewer vegetable oils and flavor enhancers. It also contains a whopping 17 grams of protein for just 90 calories. The taste tests done by The Huffington Post and Serious Eats, on the other hand, greatly favor MorningStar Farms. Unfortunately, neither is gluten free.

If you've tried both, let us know which you think is the best veggie burger between the two.


Boca Soy Protein Burgers

  • non-GMO soy option and vegan options available
  • 17 grams of protein for 90 calories
  • scored lower than MorningStar Farms in at least 2 taste tests
  • highly processed

MorningStar Farms Grillers Prime

  • performed better than Boca in at least 2 taste tests
  • 17 grams of protein for 170 calories
  • highly processed
  • NOT vegan (contains egg!)

You may have noticed the last four burgers are all soy based. Soy is the highest quality plant-based protein (in terms of the body's ability to use it), but some people prefer to avoid soy. Unfortunately that is difficult to do if you want a high protein veggie burger. Quorn offers high protein, soy free veggie burgers, but they also contain a fungus called mycoprotein that we personally aren't in a hurry to consume.

All things considered, we'd most likely give Amy's Texas Veggie Burger a try if we need the protein; otherwise Dr. Praeger's and Hilary's Eat Well clearly make the best and healthiest veggie burgers.

Author

Crystal Schlegelmilch

Written by on May 6th 2015

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