There’s a new burger in town that’s got tireless food Instagrammers scrambling for the perfect shot. Meet the Beyond Burger, the meaty-tasting all-plant burger, now available at all Bareburger chains across the UAE.
What’s special about this burger?
Yes, the UAE’s literally burger town. But Beyond Burger takes things up a notch. For starters, it’s completely made of plants. But here’s the zinger: It tastes just like a beef burger. The patty is made from peas, beetroot (for that red colour), coconut oil and potato starch. It’s not only great for new vegans and vegetarians who sometimes crave meat (like this journalist) and also meat lovers who prefer a healthier option. Also, there’s no gluten and no GMO (genetically modified organism). And the Bareburger one comes with vegan cheese!
How did they make plants taste like meat?
Beyond Meat, which makes a range of meat-like products from plants, is a Los Angeles company founded by Ethan Browne. Through years of research, his company perfected the ingredients that go into a heating and cooling system at their labs that can replicate a cow’s four stomachs. Cows eat plants, and humans eat cow’s flesh. Beyond Meat replicates that flesh in their lab. “It’s as simple as mixing together fat and protein and then water, and then forming it,” Browne told Esquire magazine. Makes sense.
Is it really a healthier option though?
Yes, and no. Just because it’s made of plants, doesn’t mean you should be eating it daily. A lot of the ingredients are processed, which means they lose many nutrients along the way. Also, coconut oil is a major component, which means it’s high in saturated fat.
“Coconut oil is ideal for replicating the fat in ground beef,” a representative from Impossible Foods, which makes the Impossible Burger, is quoted in Men’s Journal as saying. “It melts like beef fat and gives our burger its juiciness.”
According to CNN’s Joe Yonan, nutrition-wise, the Beyond Burger stacks up closely to an 80 per cent lean beef burger, using the USDA Nutrition Database: 290 calories (compared to 288), 22 grams total fat (compared to 22.7), 5 grams saturated fat (compared to 8.7), and 20 grams protein (compared to 19.5). The biggest difference, he points out, is no cholesterol, compared to the beef burger’s 81 milligrams.
Who are the people behind Beyond Meat?
Beyond Meat was founded in 2009 by Browne in his search for an alternative to mass-market animal products and in the hopes to improve human health, conserve natural resources and promote animal welfare while caring for the environment. Bill Gates was so impressed with Browne’s vision, he signed on as investor. So did Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Since it debuted in 2016, more than 25 million Beyond Burgers have been sold, according to the company. It now sells a range of products, including sausages, chicken strips and beef crumbles, all made from plants.
What’s the taste verdict?
As a new vegan who occasionally (often!) craves meat, the Beyond Burger is a great alternative. Sure, there are plenty of veggie burgers available. But when it comes to taste, consistency (ever seen a veggie burger patty crumble as you close in for a bite?) and aroma, this is as close to the holy grail plant-based burgers have gotten so far. To make my case stronger, I have blackmailed my colleagues and a few carnivore friends to taste test, and the reactions have been unanimous: It’s really good. Not enough to wean them off meat, but enough to consider the option once in a while.
Where you can buy it and how much it costs.
The Beyond Burger is exclusively available across all Bareburger chains in the UAE. Delivery is exclusive to Carriage users. It costs Dh45.