I haven’t eaten a real burger in almost 6 years.
7 year old me– a voracious carnivore, inhaling any steak, meatballs and roast beef sandwiches that crossed my path– would be shocked by that.
Many people who give up meat for reasons like animal cruelty, health risks or the environment might tell you they no longer crave or miss meat. I am here to say that’s not always the case. I do miss meat sometimes. And above all, I miss eating cheeseburgers.
While I’ve tried nearly every vegetarian substitute, nothing has satisfied my childhood love for a classic cheeseburger.
When I heard about the Beyond burger, I was skeptical. A burger that chewed and tasted like real hamburger meat? You know what they say– if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That is, for everything except the Beyond burger.
Upon seeing the packaging in the fridge, my roommate remarked that she thought I was eating meat again until she read the packaging more closely. Pinkish-red in hue, and approximately the same size and weight of a beef patty, it definitely ticks the box of burger-like pre cooking.
Then it was time to put it into the pan– to which it creating the perfect sizzling sound. It truly did “bleed” like real meat, releasing plant-based liquid.
After about 3 minutes on each side, it was finally done! I decided to make as close to the burgers I grew up eating: a classic hamburger bun with melted cheddar cheese, avocado, ketchup, mayo, tomatoes, lettuce, and my family’s signature ingredient– Frank’s hot sauce.
I also heated up some frozen garlic fries for my foray back into the ultimate burger and fries experience.
Then I took the first bite, and I couldn’t believe my taste buds. It tasted like real meat! The package wasn’t lying.
While a little more chewy rather than the crispier layer of meat, everything about the taste and texture reminded me of the burgers my dad used to grill in the elementary-school summers. It even had the look of a real burger when I bit into it.
It was chewy and greasy and all the things that make a burger a burger.
I ate with a smile on my face, shocked at how realistic and nostalgic the food made me feel.
I’m sure if 7 year old me were to take a bite of the vegan burger I made, she’d have no idea it wasn’t a real cheeseburger.
Photos courtesy of Sidra Rashid