Traveling to Alaska as a vegan can be pretty daunting. There is hope though, in the sparsely populated vegan options on menus at places like Bear’s Tooth, Middleway Cafe and others. But you can also get sick of them pretty quickly.
So I decided to join some friends recently on a downtown crawl.
The brewery is located in the old Snow Goose space, and they have done an amazing job with the design. I would have taken more photos, but it was Iditarod weekend and the place was absolutely PACKED. To the gills. So apologies for that (you can find some photos on their website).
I have been waiting for the Beast Burger from Beyond Meat for a VERY LONG time. Ever since my friend over there told me it was in “the works” I wanted to try it out.
As a vegan, veggie burgers are crucial. First, they give me a staple I can relate to from my meat days. I know to some this may sound stupid, but that’s just how this vegan rolls. On a nice summer day, I still like tossing something on the grill other than corn and asparagus. Or, in the winter I may crave a bacon double cheeseburger.
There are a lot of contenders in this space too. Companies like Gardein, Field Roast, and now Beyond Meat all produce decent burgers (in addition to the Boca and other large brands). But it seems like each one trades off something.
Gardein’s burgers are good, but plain and oily. Field Roast’s Hand formed burgers require you to refinance your home mortgage ($7.99 for 4 small patties) and companies like Morningstar add egg whites so they are not even vegan.
All of this meant I was really stoked to finally get my paws on a brand new burger.
As always, the retail packaging was designed well and the price was good. Two 1/4 pound patties (frozen) per $6.49 box means a premium, all vegan, non-GMO burger patty for $3 and change.
I tossed them on the grill along with some asparagus. I decided to pair them with some vegan bacon strips from Sweet Earth and Chao regular cheese slices.
These burgers grill up really nicely over a well seasoned propane grill. I applied a little spray olive oil to each side (per the instructions) to help them out a little.
Watch them grill:
I heated them up really well, melted some Chao cheese on ’em, dropped the bacon on and had a GREAT lunch.
My first impression was yes. Yes to a good-tasting, hearty as heck, well made vegan burger. The flavor was right in the middle of the “not so meaty but still meaty enough” scale that companies like Beyond Meat must navigate carefully.
While the taste is what really excited me, it were the nutritional claims that made me look twice. Beyond Meat claims that the Beast Burger:
Has more protein and iron than beef;
Has more omega fatty acids than salmon;
Is GMO free;
Features a “beyond nutrient blend” which apparently makes me healthier.
All of this poses a question I will ask myself rhetorically,
“If I can eat more protein and iron, more omegas, less cholesterol (as in zero), less fat, and less cancer-causing meat stuff, while enjoying a great texture and flavor why wouldn’t I?”
The ingredient list, while long, is all natural, basic ingredients. I see things like pea protein, canola oil, beet juice powder, onion powder, paprika, etc.
I mean when you look at the actual nutrient benefits of these burgers, combined with the taste and texture, relatively low cost, no worry of food-borne pathogens, ease of cooking, and a multitude of other benefits….shouldn’t’ we?
At least one thing is for sure. My freezer will be full of these things, and I look forward to dragging some with me to Moab and the Rubicon later this Summer.
You’d be amazed how many calories you burn when wheeling. Yes, you are sitting down quite a bit. However, you are constantly climbing in and out of your Jeep to scout obstacles, running ahead for that photo, scrambling up hills with winch lines, etc etc.
When jeeping for a long period of time, nothing is more important than a hearty breakfast. On our recent trip along the Rubicon Trail, we woke to a chilly Sierra morning and I decided to warm up with some breakfast burritos.
These are a twist of my friend Andy’s amazing breakfast burritos from Moab.
So what do you get when you merge the Rubicon with burritos? Ruburritos (thanks Jesse!)
As vegans, we have all lived on some deserted islands. We have all defended our protein intakes. And, we have spoken (or perhaps marched) on behalf of the animals.
But of all the curves the omni crowd throws at me, the one I struggle with the most is the topic of processed foods.
I am what I like to call a “meaty vegan.” I grew up in the woods of New England, eating wholesome foods like ham steaks, meatloaf, and spaghetti sauce “flavored with meat.” So personally I enjoy the meat analogs that allow me to bridge the gap between my personal heritage and veganism.
But that also comes with it’s own set of concerns, mostly around the fact that most of this food is highly processed and contains a lot of oil, salt, and sugars.
This is no joke: Earlier this week, we went to New Seasons to buy a package of Beyond Meat‘s newest product – Beyond Beef. Each place we looked however did not yet have Beyond Beef. So when I arrived at home, I was so surprised to find a package on my porch – a freezer pack from Beyond Meat! They sent me two retail packs – one of their “feisty” flavors, and one of the standard “beefy” flavor.
So tonight we decided to use the feisty version for taco night. This is a super easy, delicious dinner that easily fed 3.
First, combine the Beyond Beef, corn, black beans, garlic and onions in a frying pan. Brown slightly.
Second, build your tacos!
This was our first time trying the new Beyond Beef. The second we put it in the pan, we could recognize a difference from all other ground up beef crumbles. It was more substantial, and had a great color and texture. It cooked easy and uniformly.
In the tacos, the Beyond Beef was delicious – adding its own flavors. Beyond Beef is an awesome new addition to the vegan crumbles market, and I look forward to using it in many other dishes!