I remember the first time I heard the term "Veggie Burger". It was at a friend's house when I was about 11. Her parents were having a BBQ and in addition to the sizzling burgers was this light brown thing that looked like a combination between cardboard and dog food. I asked what it was and she said her cousin was a vegetarian and the weird thing on the grill was a Veggie burger.
"Basically it's a bunch of veggies and tofu all mushed together."
Um, can you say GROSS!
The GROSS label lasted until last summer, when I was at yet another BBQ. Some more vegetarians were there and they happened to have an extra veggie burger on the grill. I'm the kind of person that finds other people's quirks quite fascinating, and I love to ask about their jobs, the families they come from, how they met their husbands, what brand of toilet paper they like best--you know, the typical get-to-know-you-too-well kind of things. I love talking to vegetarians. It's fascinating to me that people can give up something like that by choice. There is no religious component (at least to those I have talked to) and most of them love the taste of meat--but they have a variety of reasons for not eating it. Most of them have issues in regard to the treatment of animals we later consume on pot-roast-Sunday, some of them have issues with the hormones used on meat production, and some have purely health related concerns which have taken this shift. As a person that can't go a day without serious sugar consumption and imagines a life without sugar to be paramount to going blind, it's amazing to me to see such dedication.
Anyway, so I started grilling (punny!) these vegetarian cousins of mine and they offered me a veggie burger, which I accepted. I then loaded it with so much ketchup and mustard that it was dripping all over the place. I didn't tell them, but I'm sure they guessed, that I expected cardboard. I was very wrong. In fact, it was delicious. The texture was just like hamburger, but there was no grease. It didn't taste at all like pureed green peppers or brown rice.
The next week I bought some veggie burgers at the grocery store and read up on the nutrition information. They are loaded with protein and fiber thanks to soy and veggies, they are low in calories and the fat content is almost non-existent. I grilled them up for my family--only one refuses to eat them, and I'm not surprised, she refuses most of my great ideas.
It's been abut 7 months since that first-time-veggie-burger-experience and since then I have consumed many a veggie burger and I have eaten exactly two actual hamburgers (I will never lose my love for Article Circle's cheapo hamburgers drenched in fry sauce, sigh) I've ordered veggie burgers at a variety of restaurants and am quite thrilled to have found that Burger King has had veggie burgers on the menu for quite some time. So has Chili's. I have a handy-dandy George Foreman grill which makes the cooking of a veggie burger about a 3 minute process. I defrost in the microwave for about 1 minute while the grill heats, then while the veggie burger cooks (heats through, really, since it's already cooked) I slice my tomatoes, tear off my lettuce, mayo and ketchup my whole wheat bun (or regular bread if I have no buns) and Voila, I have a high-protein, low-fat, very filling lunch or dinner.
So, if like me you had suspicions in regard to the whole veggie burger thing--rest assured that it's not so scary--in fact it's quite good. My favorite is the Boca Cheeseburger, but every other one I've had is also good. Happy snarfing.