It’s a very exciting time to be vegan. We’re seeing great advancements in food technology that are making vegan alternatives to meat products taste ever more like the real thing and less like bland imitations. It’s also becoming increasingly easy to get ahold of mock meats and dairy alternatives in supermarkets, which hopefully makes the prospect of transitioning to a plant-based diet seem more appealing and doable.
At the same time, however, all vegan meats and cheeses are not created equal, and you’re bound to encounter some duds along the way, even if you’re just a casual consumer of plant-based alternatives. This annoyance is compounded by the fact that these foods can be very expensive and often cost more than their non-vegan counterparts. A few factors play into this phenomenon depending on where you live and shop, including lower taxation and higher subsidies for animal products, smaller scale production of vegan foods, and the tendency for vegan products to be organic.
That’s why we’re launching a new series, where we’re going to test new vegan releases and decide whether they’re worth the hype. There’s nothing worse than overspending on mock meats that tastes like soggy cardboard or plasticky cheese.
Trying the Garden Gourmet Incredible Burger
We’re kicking off our new series with a review of Garden Gourmet’s Incredible Burger. Following the wild popularity of the Beyond Burger in the United States, a number of European brands are trying to capture some of that success by creating their own vegan burgers that taste and “bleed” like an authentic beef burger. We were certainly impressed by the Beyond Burger’s meat-like taste and texture and are excited to see if some of these European burgers are just as good.
Preparing the Incredible Burger
At first glance, the Incredible Burger has the same pink appearance and irony smell as the Beyond Burger. The Burger is soy protein and wheat gluten based. To cook, I pan-fried the patty for 7 minutes, as per the instructions on the packaging, with some vegetable oil. Frying was a relatively easy, though I did notice the bottom of the pan getting pretty sticky, which made the burger a little more difficult to flip. I assume this was the “blood” leaking out.
I topped the burger patty with sliced tomato, arugula, eggplant bacon, caramelized onions, and ketchup. On the side, we had a spelt, spitzkohl (sweetheart cabbage), and edamame salad, with a tahini dressing.
Tasting the Burger
Biting into the burger, I was honestly amazed at the texture of the patty. It has the same chewy texture as real beef, and I felt it was much juicier than the Beyond Burger. The patty had that slighty uneven ground-beef style texture. Thankfully it did not have the uniform frankenfood type texture that we have encountered with other mock meats. It definitely delivered in the texture department and made for a very satisfying eating experience.
Okay, I’m going to be honest. As someone who hasn’t eaten beef in four years, it’s a bit difficult to evaluate the “authenticity” of the Incredible Burger’s flavor. To me the patty tasted meaty with an iron-y, smoky flavor. In fact, the patty actually reminded me a little bit more of pork than beef. It was certainly not an overpowering flavor though. I think this patty is definitely made to be eaten with toppings and not on its own. But I guess that’s how you’re meant to eat all burger patties.
However, I’m not sure that an omnivore would feel the same way. Since I’ve become vegan, I’ve noticed that meat has a unique kind of “sweaty” smell that you don’t find in plant-based foods. Basically, meat smells like a dead animal, not like a plant. This burger doesn’t have that same kind of sweaty smell or taste that I have come to associate with meat. I know that’s probably a weird characterization of meat, but it’s a peculiarity I noticed the Incredible Burger lacks. For this reason, I am not sure an omnivore would necessarily think that the Incredible Burger tastes like beef.
From a nutritional standpoint, I think the Incredible Burger can certainly stand in as a protein source in a meal and replace beans, lentils, or tofu. The patty boasts 19 grams of protein, which is on par with both the Beyond Burger and a standard beef patty. It also has about half as much fat as a beef patty and is, of course, free of cholesterol. Unfortunately, the sodium content is quite high at 1.13 grams per patty. I will say that thanks to the high protein content, the Incredible Burger is very filling.
Is there anything else I need to know?
As far as I can tell, neither the Incredible Burger, nor any of the Garden Gourmet products contain palm oil, which is great. It may also be worth noting that Nestle owns Garden Gourmet.
Final Score: ★★★★
If you’re vegan or interested in plant-based meat alternatives, I would definitely give the Incredible Burger a try. It’s the best vegan patty I’ve tried with a meaty texture and slightly smoky taste. This burger really lived up to my expectations and filled the burger sized hole in my vegan existence. At about 3,50€, the Incredible Burger is priced fairly reasonably and is also cheaper than the Beyond Burger. If you’re interested in trying the Incredible Burger, you can buy Garden Gourmet foods in the following countries:
- Great Britain,
- the Netherlands,