The best plant-based meat substitutes to grill this weekend
Grilling is on the agenda for at least 60% of Americans this holiday weekend, but if you eat a plant-based diet, that means finding the perfect dog and burger substitute that will satisfy your taste buds and food choices. Now you can have both tasty patties and grillable vegan dogs and enjoy the thrill of the grill with the rest of the family. Just buy double, as they’ll love the taste of your herbal options as well.
This year, more choices than ever before offer realistic meat-like protein made from peas, soybeans and other plant sources, so we sampled the best sellers and found some new ones. For those who don’t like the taste of meat (even in a plant-based alternative), there are delicious, healthy veggie burgers to add to the grill this year. No matter where your food preferences lie, this guide to vegan grilling has you covered.
The 5 best plant-based burgers to add to your grill this summer
There is nothing more essential to grilling than a good, juicy burger. These days you have a sea of delicious plant-based burgers that make animal meat look old-fashioned. Of course, a common question is Beyond Burger or Impossible Burger? So we’ll get there, but there are also plenty of newcomer products out there that will satisfy your desire for a meat substitute.
Dr Praeger’s Perfect Turk’y Burger is a winner in both taste and health; it’s soy-free, gluten-free, and GMO-free, containing 20 grams of protein while squeezing through three types of veg, though you’d never know it. It is also high in iron, 50% of your daily requirement and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat (compared to others who have more saturated fat).
Trader Joe’s Protein Patties Will satisfy everyone in your party as they are both meaty and lightly smoky. We love all things Trader Joe’s and they offer a patty that is what you’d expect from a meat alternative, and could fool anyone who didn’t know they are plant-based.
Beyond Burger has reconfigured its formula to be “even more fleshy” than the previous one if that is possible. The new version is still pea-based and gluten-free, soy-free and GMO-free.
Impossible burger is similar to Beyond but uses soy protein as its base (and is not non-GMO). Impossible also uses something called ‘heme’ iron, which helps give it that real meaty taste – and you’ll definitely be fooled by eating because it’s a spooky and realistic version of a beef patty.
As for the differences in taste between the two, it depends on your personal preferences, as both do a great job masquerading as a meat patty and are sure to wow your guests. The two companies also both make plant-based beef beans, for use in meat sauces, tacos, or any recipe that traditionally calls for a ground beef product.
Vegetarian options to add for a healthier alternative
Hilary Vegetarian Black Bean Burger. If you’re not into new age meat-like burgers, Hilary’s vegetarian black bean option gives you a robust taste but without the ‘fake’ aspect of a meat alternative. Just be careful when cooking as these will not withstand the flames as well as the meat-like patties.
Portabella mushrooms. If you really want to go “natural” there is always the option to put a large portobello mushroom right on the grill and eat it like a burger! It’s no coincidence that nature made portabella mushrooms the perfect size to sit between two hamburger buns. You can season and marinate to your liking (a few suggestions for spices and sauces below) and throw them on the grill.
And, speaking of buns, there are plenty to choose from, but for a healthier alternative to the highly processed and refined options, try Silver Hill Bakery Whole Grain Burger Bread, still organic and GMO-free. Or, for a gluten-free bun that holds up well, try Northern Lights Millet and Chia Buns.
Best plant-based sausages and hot dogs to grill
Plant-based sausages are a growing share of the meat substitute market, which we suspect is due to the fact that they are simply delicious. Where you had little to choose from, there is now a full line of sausages to add to the grill. Discover Vejii or GTFO is vegan, to choose from to taste test this weekend. Vejii offers two-day delivery for all of its top-selling products, so you can get yours in time for the weekend.
Upton’s Naturals Herbal Updogs just might be your new favorite ballpark-style classic franc. They char to perfection after just a few minutes on the grill. Packed with 19 grams of protein for every 160 calorie dog, your guests will be impressed with the taste and texture, the guilt-free nutritional profile and the ingredient list.
Sweet Earth Vegan Jumbo Hot Dog recalls a classic ballpark-style fair play; they are made from a protein base of peas and potatoes and provide an authentic hot dog experience and grill beautifully. Sweet earth also done Vegetable links of green chedd’r sausage with chili, with the perfect amount of kick. These links contain 13 grams of protein with only 160 calories (less than some of the other sausage meat replacement sausages).
But for the generous and hearty classic sausage, you also can’t go wrong with Beyond meat sausages, absolutely delicious with a heavy structure and holds well on a grill.
For picturesque grilling, try a skewer or skewer
If you love colorful grills and serve veggie lovers, there’s nothing more worthy than a skewer full of peppers, mushrooms, corn and eggplant, or whatever you like to add. Why not just skip the meat substitutes and make a more complete plant-based option with a skewer full of fresh veggies. You can also pack protein, using extra firm tofu that will stand up to grilling and get creative with your choices. Let the children each load their own and watch how much they like their vegetables (children eat what they make themselves).
Excellent vegan sauces and seasonings
Sauces and seasonings are often the secrets to awesome grilling. Sauces are popping up everywhere and vegans are getting easier and easier to find. Pure Grit actually one containing all the plant ingredients including cider, vinegar, tomato puree, agave nectar, tomato paste, molasses and spices.
This little goat manufactures a range of spices that embody the flavors of various cultures around the world. The “Cuba” is a perfect fusion of sweet and spicy, ideal for garnishing with vegetables or tossing with your plant-based “ground beef” for flavor.
Wildwood’s Spicy Garlic Aioli will make you forget about the mayonnaise made from eggs and serve you as a new must-have for your burger condiment.
For unconventional fixation, Bitchin ‘sauce will delight and impress. They have a wide selection of nut-based flavors and work as a dip or a spread.
If you want a delicious kebab marinade, try Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki with the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors. Cleveland Kitchen manufactures a range of fermented, vegetable-based dressings that come in a variety of flavors such as miso jalapeno and sweet beet for a light and healthy versatile dressing.
Keep a meat free zone on the grill to make your vegan guests happy
When grilling a plant-based burger, most of your vegan or plant-based guests will appreciate that you keep them on one side of the grill to avoid greasing them. It sounds like a small detail, but for someone who shuns the beef, this is important. Reserve a section on the grill that’s a “meat-free zone” (and let them know you did), and grill your veggies and other plant-based foods on that MFZ side.
Have a good grill! Label Beet and use the hashtag #plantbasedgrilling to tell us what you’re grilling this season.