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We here at Dr. Gourmet resisted reviewing veggie burgers for a long time. That was not just because of their formerly well-deserved reputation for tasting awful, but also because their ingredient lists ran too far into the over-processed food territory.
The good news is that by far the veggie burgers we've reviewed have been good - and some great. Veggie Gourmet makes some good burgers that are firm and chewy, not crumbly like some veggie burgers can be. Sol Cuisine's Original and Spicy Black Bean burgers are just as good as some turkey burgers we've reviewed. On the other hand, Hilary's Eat Well burgers are the kind of veggie burgers that made us avoid reviewing them.
Hilary's burgers are essentially flavored quinoa cakes, which is too bad, because I love quinoa. After that poor experience, I was prepared to find today's offering just as bad: Qrunch Foods Quinoa Burgers.
Like Hilary's burgers, these are quinoa cakes held together with coconut oil, but that's where the resemblance ends (and a good thing, too). The instructions for these range from toaster to toaster oven to oven (and with a nearly-audible sigh, they also give you microwave instructions, stating, "If you must...."). We've learned that the best method for veggie burgers is baking them, so we did, for 17 minutes at 400°F (the instructions are for 15-20 minutes).
Again, like Hilary's, these are gluten-free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, wheat free, egg free, and nut free. But the flavor is quite different. These have a more truly quinoa-y flavor, being nutty and, as one tester put it, "almost like cornbread." The "Spicy Italian" version has an overpowering fennel flavor with the "spicy" provided by red pepper flakes. But the plain version has that mildly nutty flavor, a moderately creamy center, and a pleasing crunch to the outside. I wouldn't hesitate to feed these to my kids on a whole wheat or gluten-free bun with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. With that nicely crunchy texture, it would be more like a fried chicken sandwich than a hamburger. Per "burger," these have 190 calories, only 150 milligrams of sodium, and 2 grams of fiber.
Reviewed: May 17, 2013