I Tried Every Frozen Veggie Burger I Could Find — These Are the 3 I’ll Be Buying Again
No freezer should be without a box of veggie burgers. The frozen patties cook up within minutes, making a healthy lunch or dinner super fast and easy. And you don’t even need a bun! They can add heft to salads, be crumbled into wraps, or even sauced and served Sloppy Joe-style. Or go Greek and tuck into pita with feta and cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives. Or mix a black bean version with salsa and cheese and roll into enchiladas. Truly, burgers are just the beginning.
With that in mind, we set out to find the best veggie burgers in three popular categories so you can stock up and be ready anytime you need a healthful, quick-fix, mealtime strategy.
How I Tested the Frozen Veggie Burgers
I skipped the plant-based meat versions this time because that’s a giant and growing category all its own. Instead we focused on those that truly put the “veg” in veggie burger. I wanted patties with noticeable bits of vegetables, legumes, and grains like you’d get if you made them from scratch.
Even within the vegetable-packed burger category there are many brands out there with a wide range of options, so we narrowed the playing field to three subcategories that seem to be the most popular. Black bean is for lovers of spicy bean patties, cauliflower is generally a lower-carb option great for those looking to get more nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetables into their diets, and “California” style is basically what launched the veggie burger category in the first place (think: grains and beans and diced vegetables without one ingredient or flavor dominating). They’re the blank canvas of veggie burgers.
Here are the burgers that rose to the top.
Best Black Bean Veggie Burger: Hilary’s Fiesta Black Bean Burger
Black beans add lots of protein and a rich flavor to veggie burgers, but all too often the patties can seem mushy, like refried beans on a bun. This Hilary’s version mixes the beans with millet, peppers, and spinach to give the patties enough texture and structure to stand out from the softness of a hamburger bun. They cook up golden and crispy outside, and the chile-cumin-lime flavor is really balanced, but generous enough to pack a punch of flavor. They’re really delicious on their own and would be great in a taco salad too. Each patty offers eight grams of protein, and is vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free.
Best Cauliflower Veggie Burger: Tattooed Chef Buffalo Cauliflower Burgers
The zingy flavor profile of Buffalo wings is perfect for livening up bland cauliflower. And if you’re spice-averse, don’t worry — the heat is very mild. The patties are delicious on their own, making them a great contender for salads, but they’re a perfect match for your favorite burger toppings too. I liked that there were discernible pieces of cauliflower in the patties to give me something to bite into, and that cauliflower is literally the first ingredient. Other brands I tried were overly mushy or overly bean-y, with the vegetable more of an afterthought. Although the ingredient list is wonderfully simple, these patties are not vegan or gluten-free.
When you’re firing up the grill and want a meatless patty that can hold its own against that fiery flame, this is the burger for you. These super-firm patties aren’t quite the thickest of the bunch, but what they lack in height they make up for in deep, smoky flavor, reminiscent of a fresh-off-the-grill patty. Bonus: These burgers come in a resealable pouch.
Best “California” Style: Amy’s Organic Sonoma Veggie Burger
So many of the traditional (i.e., “California”-style) veggie burgers I tried were mushy. Others were so pea-forward it was like eating solidified pea soup. Still others had a strong processed soy flavor or pronounced sweetness. When it comes to traditional veggie burgers, I just want vegetables blended into a toothsome patty, and that’s what Amy’s Sonoma burger delivers. The vegan patties are built on mushrooms, which gives them their deeply savory flavor, plus quinoa and walnuts for protein and a firm texture. Amy’s California burger is nearly identical, but adds wheat gluten, which the Sonoma version proves it really doesn’t need.
Did your favorite make the list? Tell us about it in the comments below.