When you’re a vegetarian in a meat eating world, you are surrounded by aromas at mealtimes, which make the soya based products prepared for vegetarian consumption a little dull. There’s no need to worry about that with manufacturers really trying hard to get your business. The UK market for vegetarian burgers has expanded over recent years to give vegetarians more choice, more sense of flavor and texture and good value for money. There are basically two types of burger available, one ready made and in the freezer section of supermarkets and one in powder format to be mixed into burgers. This guide goes through the pros and cons of each type to show you the best brands.
Holland and Barrett
These health food shops have been around for years, and sell powder style burger mixes. They are very easy to blend with egg whites (if you are not vegan) or to mix with spring onions and a little water to form the burger itself. Taste-wise they aren’t bad, and certainly a good alternative for the vegetarian who is traveling or who has little space in the freezer. Preparation time is relatively short, and the taste is better than it used to be, with a hint of spices which can be added to, in order to suit your preference.
Linda McCartney burgers
These are getting more imaginative, although the taste factor is somewhat lacking. The burgers cook easily and come in packs which are frozen, but what’s missing from them really is authenticity. Although the range of burgers made by Linda McCartney has increased, they still don’t rate as the best of the bunch, which will be dealt with later in this guide. They are quick and easy to prepare and if you like a lot of dressings and added tastes, they do give you these options, though they don’t come near to the natural taste of other brands mentioned below. They are also pricey and one can only assume that the name demands a higher price tag.
The Quorn brand is one that has gained a lot of popularity over the past couple of years and with good reason. The range of foods is extraordinary and the burgers really are tasty. The downside is that they come in two sizes and it’s the larger burgers which seem to have the edge on taste. If you need something added to that taste, then their steak range may be a better choice. For availability, Quorn is a popular make, available in all major chain stores such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s etc., and because of this availability is possibly the most popular option. If you want really tasty burgers, the smaller ones don’t give you quite enough of a portion while the larger burgers really do, and taste every bit as good as the meat equivalent. Serve with onions, cheese, etc., and enjoy the flavor without actually having to eat meat.
The Quorn range is made from a form of mushroom, and the texture of the meat is sufficient to give a substantial meal. Add a bap, a little HP sauce and you have an ideal snack. Add French fries and salad and you have a superb meal. These are one of the tastiest and better value for money burgers available for vegetarians.
Frys Vegetarian Burgers
These were pioneered by a family who wanted to eat vegetarian foods, and who now have a factory producing good quality burgers. These are top of the list simply on the taste factor, because their burgers cater for everyone. Normal burger flavor can be served in a bun with onions, cheese and pickles, but if you want a taste with more of a kick to it, they do a range called Spiced Burgers which have a taste one may associate with Indian cuisine. These tender burgers cook well and don’t retain as much fat as Quorn do when cooked. One of the problems with Quorn is that is absorbs fat while cooking and has to be drained before serving. These burgers are less absorbent and thus those who cook these in Olive oil will enjoy the burger taste without the added fat.
These are the top of the list of UK vegetarian burgers and buying any one of them will be an experience worthy of relishing, though the firm favorites are Frys and Quorn, with Burger Mix coming in next for ease of use and availability when there is no space left in the freezer. It’s handy that they have dry ingredients and can make a very spontaneous meal. The best bet is to shop around for the best prices and to look out for two for one deals which are often given in the larger supermarkets. Be careful of sell-by dates as the products do deteriorate if left until after the suggested dates of expiry, and do cook according to the instructions.