Recently, I have made the conscious decision to eliminate meat from my diet to improve my digestive health. I have tried different sorts of meatless sandwiches in search of what I miss the most: a traditional beef burger. I’ve been to Veggie Galaxy, Shake Shack and, surprisingly, Wahlburgers – all of which have unique, tasty and, most importantly, meatless options. But which of these has the best meatless sandwich?
1. Shake Shack – Shroom Burger
Shake Shack, known for its juicy burgers and creamy milkshakes, offers this alternative mushroom burger that lives up to the hype (for some). Every vegetarian I’ve ever met says they absolutely love the Shroom Burger, but I beg to differ. At a glance, this is a very simple burger – lettuce, tomato, special sauce, and the main, most sought after ingredient, deep fried Portobello mushroom. But your taste buds don’t know what they’re in for until you take a bite and are simply stunned by the overflow of melted cheese. It feels like lava oozing out of a volcano – except this is cheese so who cares? I personally did not enjoy this burger because I felt I tasted too much of the fried breading instead of the mushroom itself. This so called “burger” does not exactly mirror the traditional beef burger and should be called a “deep-fried mushroom cheese sandwich.” And maybe if that was my expectation, Shake Shack would have gained a loyal customer.
2. Veggie Galaxy – The Club
The Club sandwich at Veggie Galaxy is served on your choice of sourdough, rye or whole wheat. It consists of grilled tempeh bacon, smoked tofu, tomato, romaine lettuce, red onion, basil pesto and roasted garlic mayo. The sandwich is carefully crafted to excite your taste buds from the first bite where you are greeted by the spicy garlic mayo with the bracing flavor of basil pesto. Right under the pesto is the grainy tempeh bacon neatly placed on top of the romaine lettuce and tomato followed by smoked tofu. The lettuce, red onion, tempeh and tofu were essential to organically concocting a refreshing sensation. The tempeh did not exactly mirror bacon, but there was a hint of smoky flavor that gave me the illusion it was there. The smoked tofu was reminiscent of the deli ham in the original club sandwich. All in all, this sandwich slightly mirrored the original club at first glance, but it was different, and tastier than I could have ever imagined.
3. Walburgers – The Impossible Burger
Wahlburgers is famous for their family friendly environment and above average burgers. To my surprise, they also specialize in a vegetarian burger known as the “Impossible Burger” – a four-ounce, plant-based patty with caramelized onions, cheddar, lettuce, chili spiced tomatoes and Wahl sauce. When served to you, it’s hard to tell it isn’t beef because the browned patty legit looks like beef. My taste buds were in shock when I took my first bite; I couldn’t believe it wasn’t meat. The patty was juicy, flavorful and was everything I longed for. I reluctantly ate the burger the rest of the way with doubts in mind until I finally asked the waiter why this tasted so amazing! She informed me that the main ingredient in this plant-based patty, heme, allows the texture to mimic ground beef. So there it is, a plant-based entree that can live up to the name “burger.” It’s impossible it’s not meat!