Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Vegan and a Vegetarian Taste-test Quorn Vegan Burgers

I have a lot of vegan friends who were huge fans of Quorn products when they were vegetarian.  I, on the other hand, spent my vegetarian years eating french fries, cheese, and oreos; nary a meat substitute crossed these lips until I went vegan and, by then, Quorn was no longer an option.  So when they recently contacted me to see if they could send me a sample of their new vegan burgers, I was both excited that they were branching out and anxious to finally give a Quorn product a try.


The burger on the box looked pretty meaty, which doesn't necessarily excite me; I don't like the look, smell, or taste of meat.  I prefer my veggie burgers to taste exactly like what's in them: beans, veggies, whatever.  The ingredients in these burgers were so foreign to me, though, that I didn't know what to expect taste-wise: "Mycoprotein (35%), water, textured wheat protein (wheat protein, wheat starch), onion, potato protein, sunflower oil. Contains 2% or less of rusk (wheat flour, ammonium bicarbonate), palm oil, natural flavoring from non meat sources, salt, sugar, tapioca starch, sodium alginate, smoked paprika, pectin, potato maltodextrin, barley malt extract, smoked yeast, potassium chloride, smoke flavoring, citric acid, gum arabic, silicon dioxide, tricalcium phosphate."  Ah well, all I needed to know was that it was vegan.


So, the actual burger doesn't look anything like the picture on the box.  Anything.


Since it was so thin, I decided to make all four burgers: two each for VM and I to taste.  This is what they looked like frozen:


They didn't look much different cooked; certainly no closer to the image on the box.  I will note that they did smell appetizing.


When I cut into the burger to investigate, it looked kind of like poultry.  There seemed to be a batter of some sort coating of the burger, which is what I think smelled so good. 


I piled up my double decker (VM stuck with a single) and prepared to feast.


No matter how many fixin's, how much ketchup (I like ketchup!), it was not my cup of tea.  I removed one layer of burger almost immediately, but the texture and the taste of the single still did not sit well with me.  Unlike Boca, it was not reminiscent of a beef burger.  Nor did it taste like any veggie burger I've ever tried.  If I had any idea what one tasted like, I'd assume it was most similar to a turkey burger?  There was a gamey taste that I couldn't quite place; perhaps that's their "mycoprotein (fungi)" ingredient? 

I will note that while VM did not suffer loudly through her meal as I did, she did pass on the leftovers.  So I don't necessarily think she liked it better, so much as she's just a nicer person than I am.


One oddity that I wanted to point out before any of you have a panic attack is that the nutrition facts for this burger currently indicate that it contains 5mg of cholesteral.  As we all know, there's no cholesteral in vegan food; so, what gives?  Marty's Flying Vegan Review was on the case; he contacted a Quorn representative and was basically told it was a misprint.  I can certainly forgive a mistake, but I do have to wonder why the same erroneous information is still posted on their website as of today, over a month later.  Surely it takes a while to reprint actual packages, but only a keystroke to correct an online error.  Hmmm.

In any event, it was very nice of Quorn to send me their product to try.  Perhaps I'm not the target audience for this type of burger, as I like my veggie burgers to fall on the side of veggies rather than burger.  Maybe some of you former burger/turkey burger/Quorn lovers out there will wholeheartedly disagree with my review.  If you think that's you, let me know and you just might win a coupon for a free Quorn product, courtesy of Quorn, that I hope you'll use to try these vegan burgers and report back.  Leave a comment by April 15, 2012, letting me know that you'd like to be considered for the distinct pleasure of (possibly) disagreeing with me and I'll let VM choose the winner.  [UPDATE: Check the comments for the announcement of the unfortunate lucky winners.]

15 comments:

  1. I like your review. Even though I've never tasted a quorn burger, I have a feeling I'd appreciate it about as much as you did. Though most people seem to love them, from other reviews I've read. (Weird sort of misprint to appear on a vegan product.)

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  2. Getting free goods? You've hit the big time Bean! While I love give aways, I don't think this product is "plant based" enough for me to enter your give away. As always thanks for your honest review

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  3. INteresting review... I can't say I'm particularly interested in trying them, though perhaps G would be? Consider this comment considered.
    I do want to note that I love your size order piling of patty, tomato, onion ring, and the little pickle nestled atop!

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  4. Hahaha! I thought about using two patties as well, but the taste was so gross I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Love the honesty in your review :)

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  5. Abby,

    I was excited to learn Quorn was coming out with its first vegan product. But after reading this, and more importantly, seeing your photos, I don't think I would buy it. And anyway, I love my Amy's low sodium California burger.

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  6. Andrea- Now I'm trolling the internet for good reviews of this burger b/c the ones I've read simply point out other negatives that I failed to recount :-(

    BYOL- That's me, getting rich of my blog. Burgers for all!

    foodfeud- So far G is the only (possible) taker! I impressed even myself with my burger "dressing"

    Amy- When I think about it, it's kinda worse. Right!?

    MVG- Does this mean you don't want to be in the running either? I can't give this coupon away!

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  7. Abby,

    I said I would never "buy" this product, but a coupon for a free box is a much different story...

    And anyway, as of now Whole Foods doesn't have them... (maybe that's a good thing?)

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  8. Interesting! I haven't tried this one yet, for some reason Whole Foods didn't have it the last time I was there... I'm a bit wary of it too because of the "fungi" since I am an avowed mushroom hater! But of course I have to try it someday.... ;)

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  9. Fry's products are vegan and taste pretty good - plus the other major issue with Quorn is it contains palm oil. Palm oil to be avoided due to the horrific deforestation and subsequent killing of forest wildlife. Of particular note is the orangutan who suffer terribly. Not onlty being killed but babies captured for the pet trade, and females used as prostitutes - yes you heard right. Please spread the word, palm oil flies under the radar and it is in a lot of stuff please visit this site to learn more: wwhttp://www.saynotopalmoil.com/

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  10. MVG- You'd better start kissing up to VM now!!

    Ali- MVG (above) is also a mushroom hater, but thinks that it's different somehow?

    Colleen- Excellent point; thank you for weighing in. I've never had Fry, but I'm a fan of Sunshine Burgers: palm oil free.

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  11. Abby came up with an extra coupon so we have two winners... sorry

    Here we go:
    winner #1 My Vegan Gut
    winner #2 foodfeud

    I admire your eagerness to try this horrible burger. I understand it's free, but I can say no more...

    VM, judge

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  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. Double YAY to MVG and of course Abby!!
    VM

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  14. I've eaten the Quorn Vegan Burgers dozens of times and it's just as good as Boca burgers are. I eat this vegan burger all the time and have used it as a substitute for taco meat and as meatless meatballs with spaghetti.

    I can't stomach the other brands of vegan burgers so I'm really not that easy to please.

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