I had to. I did. I regret it.
The interwebs and airwaves have been full of the word: a fast-food burger joint now has a meatless burger. It is called The Impossible Whopper.
This item is made from “… soy protein concentrate, several oils (including coconut and sunflower oil), and various additives …” according to the Impossible Foods website.
It lives up to its name.
I had a free lunch and more than a bit of curiosity, so off to Emporia’s Burger King I went.
The sandwich looked fairly normal, albeit nothing like the prettified version on TV. The first bite was very Whopper-like. I was surprised and thought, “maybe this is going to be OK!”
Bite two was a bit dry, and bite three confirmed my fears. The sandwich had cooled considerably, and the meatless patty was akin to corrugated cardboard. Sigh.
It was impossible … to eat.
According to the company’s nutritional report, the Impossible Whopper is a total of 630 calories with 45 grams of fat. Carbohydrates are 58 grams, protein 25, and cholesterol 10. That’s not too surprising. Then, you get 12 grams of sugar (12?) and 1080 mg of sodium — 1080!
The original Whopper has 30 more calories, 5 grams less fat, 9 grams less carbs, 3 grams more protein and, well, 80 mg more cholesterol, which makes sense. Whopper Mach I has sugar in it too, 11 grams, and the sodium is only 100 mg less. If the recommended daily allowance of sodium is 2400 mg, one whopper is nearly half of the day’s intake, and that is before you get to the fries.
Furthermore, el Impossible is cooked on the same grill as the meaty ones, as evidenced by this disclaimer: “For guests looking for a meat-free option, a non-broiler method of preparation is available upon request.”
No wonder my first bite of the Whopper tasted like a Whopper. It was covered in Whopper grease.
I enjoy plant-based foods. I have made my own black bean burgers, tofu skewers and what not. I lived on Morningstar Farms and Boca Burger patties in college.
It’s good to eat less meat — good for you and good for the planet. But eat something good, not a faux burger overloaded with sodium and extra fat.
Emporia’s wonderful local places provide freshly-prepared, plant-based meals that are healthy and fulfilling. Try the Salsa Street burrito bowl with rice, beans and all the fixings. Chi ‘Em Eats has some amazing tofu spring rolls and Bahn Mi. The agadashi tofu and edamame at Shangri-La are wonderful. Do-B’s has a great Vegaburger and a sourdough grilled cheese. I’m sure I’ve missed some other great vegetarian options in town, and I do apologize for that.
Why does a meatless burger need to be meat-like? Own up to the fact you are eating vegetables and enjoy your food. It does no good to feel better about eating a “meatless burger” if you don’t like it and it isn’t good for you.
Thus endeth the sermon.
Give this recipe a try — it makes four patties and you can double it to freeze ahead for rushed mealtimes. Kick it up a notch by including a grilled portabello cap as a second patty. Veggies Rule! Let’s get cooking.
Murphy’s Meatless Burger
2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, rinsed, drained
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise, divided
3/4 cup fine breadcrumbs (panko is perfect)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons canola oil
4 slices of cheese (it’s cheddar or provolone for me)
Pulse the beans, onion and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped, but not mushy.
Scrape into a large bowl and combine with egg, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise and the breadcrumbs. Season with a little salt and pepper (you can always add more later) and form into 4 patties. Place them on wax paper and cover; refrigerate 15 minutes to let them firm up.
Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add patties and cook until golden, about 5 minutes per side.
Top each patty with a slice of cheese and cover the skillet to melt.
You are ready to make your meatless burger, with bun, spreads, lettuce, tomatoes, thinly sliced raw onion, avocado, pickles — whatsoever your little old heart desires. Enjoy!