Sometimes you just can't make it into the kitchen to cook. Dr. Gourmet has reviewed over 800 common convenience foods, ingredients, and restaurant selections so that you know what's worth eating - and what's not. View the Index of all Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews
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Every now and then somebody emails us and asks about veggie burgers. We tend to avoid them, however, because not only are they often full of unpronounceable chemical ingredients, they're also incredibly high in sodium.
That said, about a year ago we made our first foray into the world of veggie burgers with three varieties from Sol Cuisine - and they were actually pretty darn good! We've been keeping an eye out for other veggie burgers with under 400 milligrams of sodium per burger, and I was encouraged when I spotted today's burgers from Hilary's Eat Well Products.
There are just two varieties: what Hilary's calls "The World's Best Veggie Burger" and a Spicy Green Chili Adzuki Bean Burger. Both burgers are labeled as being gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, yeast free, egg free, and nut free. They're also certified to contain no GMOs and are packaged in biodegradable plastic pouches.
There are a number of cooking instruction variations for these, ranging from microwaving to grilling, but given our experience with microwaving veggie burgers, we thought baking them in the oven might yield the best flavor. After baking at 400F for 5 minutes, then flipping them over and cooking them another 5 minutes, these were still cold in the center. Not a good start!
Let me begin by saying that these are not burger-like. The Sol Cuisine burgers had a good, meaty texture, but Hilary's are essentially quinoa cakes with flavorings. They're dry and crumbly, yet oddly greasy (they're made with coconut oil). The Hilary's web site says that these are "great... used as a stuffing." I don't know about great, but if you took the stuffing out of your holiday turkey and pressed it into a round cake almost 1/2 inch thick, you'd have something the texture and consistency of these "burgers" - except your stuffing cake would taste better.
"The World's Best Veggie Burger" these are not. They're more like day-old oatmeal cakes with a hint of chili powder or chopped green pepper. I won't even bother with the numbers - these are the kinds of foods that give eating allergen-free a bad name. Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, yeast free, egg free, nut free, and flavor free. Leave them on the shelf.