Is the Impossible Burger Vegetarian? How About Vegan?
Vegetarians have a hard enough time finding satisfying meals at restaurants. When you’re dealing with fast food chains, it can be nearly impossible to find something other than fries or a wimpy salad to eat
Burger King has recently released their Impossible Whopper, which promises to be a tasty alternative to their regular beefy burger. But how does the Impossible Whopper stack up, and does it truly meet the requirements to be considered vegetarian?
Is the Impossible Whopper vegetarian?
Yes, the Impossible Whopper is 100% vegetarian. It is manufactured by Impossible Foods, who also supply other restaurants with their Impossible patty so that they can cater to non-meat eaters.
Still curious about this crazy burger that supposedly tastes (and even “bleeds”) like real meat? Follow along to learn more!
What is an Impossible Burger made of?
As mentioned above, the Impossible Whopper is actually not strictly unique to Burger King. Well, the Whopper name might be, but that mainly concerns the toppings and other unique add-ons. The Impossible burger is made by Impossible Foods, a company that specializes in plant-based “meat” that tastes and feels just like the real deal.
This is great news for plant-based eaters out there. For too long, the only options have been unsavory soy crumbles, bland tofu, oddly textured corn products, or just plain vegetables. While lots of companies have improved greatly, and some plant based meats are almost indistinguishable from real meat, most have yet to appeal to a wider audience. Specifically, meat eaters tend to avoid any meat substitutes due to the stigma of them being strange or unappetizing.
Impossible meat seems to be doing a great job at attracting people who previously had been uninterested in exploring more plant-based options. Their product really does look and feel like ground beef, so how exactly do they do it?
According to their website, the ingredients in Impossible Burger “meat” are:
Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% Or Less Of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant), Soy Protein Isolate, Vitamins and Minerals (Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12)
Water as the first ingredient may strike some as a bit odd, but remember that most animal matter (including your very own body) is made of water. This tends to evaporate during the cooking process, which is why your burger patty will shrink up a bit on the grill.
The next ingredient, unsurprisingly, is soy protein concentrate. Soy is the bulk of the mass of Impossible meat, giving it texture and body as well as volume. While soy based products have a history of struggling to replicate an authentic meat taste and texture, by all accounts the team at Impossible Foods seem to have struck gold with their formula!
The next ingredients are sunflower and coconut oil which contribute to the fat content of the “meat”. According to Impossible, these will help you get that characteristic grilling sizzle. After that, we have a slew of flavorings, texturing agents, and even some nice vitamins added in. There are also special binders added in to make it so you can use the meat for just about anything that you would use ground beef for. It can be shaped into things like meatballs and burger patties without crumbling apart.
One of these ingredients stands out among the rest: soy leghemoglobin. You may recognize “hemoglobin” as a molecule found naturally in blood. Soy plants and other legumes have leghemoglobin, which carries the heme molecule through them much like hemoglobin does in humans. This helps give Impossible meat its special and pretty realistic meaty flavor.
All in all, it seems that Burger King has selected a pretty solid patty for their now extremely popular Impossible Whopper. Even non-vegetarians rave about the taste, so next time you get hit with a fast food craving be sure to check it out!
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Can vegetarians eat plant-based meat?
Yes, they can! After all, plant based meat first grew in popularity due to vegetarians and vegans demanding more options.
Most plant based meat conveniently has no animal ingredients, but not every single one is the same. If you’re a vegan or prefer not to eat eggs or dairy, you’ll have to do a little more investigating to make sure that your meat alternatives are okay to eat.
Eggs are a popular binder, especially in homemade meat alternatives like mushroom burgers or tofu nuggets. Additionally, some foods may be cooked in butter or have added cheese that you’ll need to be aware of.
Is the Impossible Burger healthy?
The term “healthy” is subjective, but overall it is pretty safe to assume that most fast food menu items aren’t strictly good for you. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they have no nutritional benefits or that you shouldn’t eat them. After all, we all deserve a treat once in a while!
According to Impossible Foods, a four ounce patty of Impossible Burger meat actually contains a whopping 19 grams of protein! That’s about 31% of your daily value. That puts it on par with beef when we’re looking at protein by weight.
The Impossible Whopper, as prepared standard by Burger King, comes in at about 630 calories. That’s no small amount, but it’s probably not an everyday food. It can also be assumed that a lot of these calories are from the copious amounts of mayonnaise, so ordering light or no mayo would save you quite a bit. It has 34 grams of fat and 25 grams of protein all together.
It has much less cholesterol than the original Whopper, about one ninth as much. This is due to the lack of animal fats. It does about a third more sodium, however, so be sure to take that into account. All in all, it’s roughly comparable to the nutritional value of a regular hamburger, so don’t treat it like a health food.
What can vegetarians eat at Burger King?
Vegetarians won’t have a ton of options at Burger King, but a veggie burger does put them at a distinct advantage over their competitors (almost none of which offer something similar). Apart from the Impossible Whopper, you can have the main veggie staple of fries (as always) or even onion rings.
Breakfast is where Burger King shines in meat-free choices. The egg and cheese croissant is always a favorite, and their hash browns are also great. They have some great French toast sticks, pancakes, and even oatmeal if you have a sweet tooth.
Is the Impossible Burger vegan?
The Impossible Whopper at Burger King was designed to be for vegetarians, and as such contains no meat. However, as it comes on the menu, it is not vegan. The patty itself contains to animal products, but the mayonnaise that comes standard on any Whopper is made with eggs.
If you want a vegan Impossible Whopper, you can start by ordering it without mayo. Burger King’s bun is vegan, which is nice. The other toppings include lettuce, pickle, tomato, ketchup, and onion, all of which are vegan-friendly. Do keep in mind that, in most restaurants, the Impossible Whopper will be prepared on the same surface as other meat-containing products. Some strict vegans won’t be able to eat it for this reason.