Beyond Vs. Impossible: The Vegan Hamburger Showdown

Skeptical about meat alternatives? There are two “burgers” that may change your mind.

It looks like a burger, smells like a burger, and even tastes like a burger. Yet there’s not an ounce of beef hiding inside of it. So is it, or isn’t it?

For the vegans and vegetarians of the world, meat-alternative burgers are the answer to the beloved American staple. Unlike other cultural classics like mac ‘n’ cheese and hot dogs, hamburgers have gone too long without a viable and tasty plant-based alternative. Veggie burgers can be too dry, while tofu patties are often depressingly bland. Fortunately, the Hudson Valley boasts not one, but two vegan burger contenders that rival the real deal in everything but composition.

The Beyond Burger, a patty that juices and oozes just as freely as a Grade A burger, relies on peas for its 20 grams of protein and beets for its meat-like color.

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“It’s really the culmination of 7-plus years of work against our goal to understand meat, its composition, and associated sensory experience, better than anyone on the planet, and then rebuild that directly from plants,” the site’s F.A.Q. page declares.

Here in the valley, The Beyond Burger retails at grocery stores like Stop & Shop and Target. It also appears in national chain restaurants like TGI Fridays and BurgerFi.

The Impossible Burger at Bareburger oozes like a beef patty.

Photo courtesy of Bareburger.

Yet it is not the only “better burger” on the market. The journey to develop the aptly named Impossible Burger began in 2011, according to the brand’s website. The company blends wheat and potato proteins with heme, a plant-derived molecule that ferments to create the cholesterol-free vegan burgers.

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Currently, the Impossible Burger is only available in select restaurants. Farmers Hardware in Saratoga Springs and Boitson’s Restaurant in Kingston are Hudson Valley stockists, while Bareburger in Hartsdale and Rye and Maud’s Tavern in Hastings on Hudson cover Westchester.

Bareburger serves both the Beyond and Impossible burgers, making it the perfect location for curious eaters to conduct a taste test.

“The biggest differences of the Impossible and Beyond Burgers is simply in the form the raw product arrives in,” explains Anthony Roman, marketing coordinator for Bareburger. “Impossible is like raw ground beef and Beyond is like a fully formed raw beef patty. Other than that, both deliver a shockingly similar cooking and eating experience to a real beef burger.”

Calorically, the vegan patties are fierce rivals. The Impossible Burger boasts 220 calories and 20 grams of protein per 3 oz serving while The Beyond Burger packs 290 calories and 20 grams of protein per 4 oz serving. In comparison, an 80/20 beef patty at 4 oz contains 280 calories and 19 grams of protein, according to MyFitnessPal.

With numbers that comparable, has the burger finally met its match? Only taste will tell.

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