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Meateater taste tests vegetarian burgers from McDonalds, Grill’d, Soul Burger and Hungry Jacks

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McDonald’s has finally joined some of its biggest Australian burger chains in launching its first veggie burger to much fanfare.

The fast-food giant is monitoring how its customer base responds to the vegetarian-friendly patty option, which looks similar to McChicken burger.

The decision comes as people are increasingly resorting to vegetarianism and veganism for personal or environmental reasons.

New data suggests more than 2.1 million people in Australia eat almost entirely plant-based options. 

Daily Mail Australia reporter Brittany Chain is not one of those people. In fact, she couldn’t imagine life without eating meat.

We put the McVeggie burger to the test to compare it with other plant-based options on the market.

Suffice to say the results were very surprising. 

Daily Mail Australia reporter Brittany Chain tasted four plant-based burgers available on the market at the moment (Pictured with the McVeggie)

Daily Mail Australia reporter Brittany Chain tasted four plant-based burgers available on the market at the moment (Pictured with the McVeggie)

McDonald’s – McVeggie burger, 481 calories – 6 out of 10 

On first glance, it would take a McDonald’s aficionado to realise they hadn’t been presented with a standard McChicken burger.

With the same bun, and a similar looking patty sat on a blanket of green lettuce, I certainly wouldn’t have known the difference.

Before even reading the ingredients list, I could pick what the patty was made with.

While the coating was crispy and reminiscent of chicken patties, the texture itself had more in common with falafel. 

When I read the ingredients I realised it combines potatoes, peas, corn, carrot and onion and is paired with cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise and pickles.

Pictured: Promotional picture for the new McVeggie burger available at McDonalds

Pictured: Promotional picture for the new McVeggie burger available at McDonalds

For someone who would typically never opt for a burger option on a late-night McDonald’s run, I was pleasantly surprised with the McVeggie burger. 

In an office full of vegetarians and vegans, the McVeggie burger got the tick of approval, despite being ‘ridiculously late to join the Aussie game’.

A statement from McDonald’s stated while there are no meat ingredients in the burger, ‘due to its cooking procedure, it’s not strictly vegetarian.’

Price:  $5.70

Satay Tofu Burger – Soul Burger, 414 Calories – 8 out of 10 

I think its once again important to remember that I wouldn’t typically pick a burger as my first choice at lunch, but if I was in a burger-craving mood, I’d go for this one.

The satay marinated tofu was tender and paired with apple slaw, aoili sauce and tomato relish on a wheat bun.

Each burger contains about 414 calories, coming in just under the McVeggie option.

Another impressive thing with the Satay Tofu burger is that Soul Burger isn’t pretending its anything it isn’t.

Pictured: Daily Mail Australia reporter Brittany Chain about to taste one of the burger options

Pictured: Daily Mail Australia reporter Brittany Chain about to taste one of the burger options

They’re not using ‘plant-based meat’ and they’re not advertising that it will taste ‘just like’ the real thing, because it is the real thing. 

One small criticism is that the tofu itself was cut into a very thick cube and slightly overpowered the  rest of the ingredients and the bun itself. 

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All in all, I think its safe to say this burger was the best of the bunch and much better than many beef burgers I’ve had in my time.

Price: $10.50 

The satay marinated tofu was tender and paired with apple slaw, aoili sauce and tomato relish on a wheat bun

The satay marinated tofu was tender and paired with apple slaw, aoili sauce and tomato relish on a wheat bun

Garden Goodness – Grill’d, 654 Calories – 4 out of 10 

This just didn’t do it for me.

From what I’ve heard, Grill’d has a great range of options for vegan and vegetarians, but the Garden Goodness burger left a lot to be desired.

The green veggie patty looked like it didn’t spend enough time in the food processor and there was excessive salad spilling out of the sides. I almost didn’t know where to begin.

Texture is without a doubt the most important thing when it comes to food for me – if it looks like mush and feels like mush, I’m not having it.

Pictured: The promotional shot of the Garden Goodness burger and the version Daily Mail Australia ate 

The burger itself was quite sloppy and a bit difficult to eat based purely on its mammoth size and the patty itself seemed to drain all the moisture from my mouth.

On a positive note, the patty offers vegetarians an option to eat something based on vegetables rather than a meat-based substitute which imitates the real thing. 

The burger contains 654 calories, and is brimming with beetroot, tasty cheese, avocado, salad, relish and herbed mayo on a huge bun. 

Price: $13 

The burger itself was quite sloppy and a bit difficult to eat based purely on its mammoth size

The burger itself was quite sloppy and a bit difficult to eat based purely on its mammoth size

 Rebel Whopper – Hungry Jacks – 5 out of 10

I’ve been hearing good things about the Rebel Whopper burger since Hungry Jacks first released it.

Advertised as ‘100 per cent Whopper, 0 per cent beef’, I was a bit skeptical about a burger so determined to pass off as something its not.

But I decided to come into the taste test with an open mind.

It was the most calorie-dense option on the plate at 666 calories, but was a decent size loaded with the perfect amount of lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mayonnaise and ketchup.

Pictured: The promotional picture and the actual Rebel Whopper which Daily Mail Australia sampled

It was also the first of the range to imitate beef, and it actually smelt like just that – an imitation. 

I found the meaty odour quite off-putting and the feeling remained as I took my first bite.

The burger would’ve benefited more from being entirely vegetarian, rather than substituting the meat for a plant based option only to grill it on the same platforms the meat is grilled on.

Overall, I can see the appeal for people who are trying to eliminate or cut meat out of their diet slowly. 

Price: $8.15 

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