It looks like a burger. It tastes like a burger. It even “bleeds” like a burger. However, this burger is not made of meat. Plant-based burgers and meat alternatives are the trendy new food that have hit the market in response to consumer’s eco-friendly demands.
What’s in a plant-based burger? Depending on the brand, commercial products use any one combination of pea, soy, rice, mung bean, or potato protein. Plant-based fats, thickeners, and vitamins are also added. A person may turn to a plant-based meat alternative for a variety of reasons, including a concern for animals, the environment, or their own health. While plant-based meat alternatives contribute less greenhouse gas emissions than animal agriculture, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are healthy. When compared to a beef patty made with 80% lean ground beef, these burgers are heavily processed, contain more sodium and the same amount of saturated fat.
Cocoa butter or coconut oil is typically one source of fat, which is what contributes to the saturated fat content on the label. Whether coconut oil is good for the heart is still up for debate, but it is undebatable that coconut oil has more saturated fat than butter and even lard. Studies show saturated fats may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nutritionally speaking, plant-based burgers are not much different from a regular hamburger, and like a regular hamburger, they are a perfectly fine “occasional” food.
Black Bean and Rice Burgers (Printable PDF)
¼ cup ground flaxseed
½ cup water
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 green pepper, finely chopped
½ onion, finely chopped
½ cup frozen corn
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
1 cup bread crumbs
1 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, combine flaxseed and water. Stir and set aside. In a large bowl, mash all except ¼ cup black beans with a fork. Heat oil in large skillet. Add green pepper, onion and corn. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 more minute. Add flaxseed mixture, cooked veggies and ¼ cup black beans to the mashed beans. Stir in rice, breadcrumbs and spices. Divide mixture into 10 burgers. Place burgers on greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes; flip and bake for 10-15 minutes more.
Yield: 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 170 Calories, 3 grams fat, 170 milligrams sodium, 29 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, 8 grams protein