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Best Of Vegetarian Burgers Print E-mail
Ceri Balston   
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Best of Vegetarian BurgersYou're hungry, you're a vegetarian and you want a burger, but which is the best one available? Harmonious Living goes on a taste test to find out. Steers, Nandos, Chuckleberrys and Wimpy are put the test.

Steers

Branch: All Saints Centre, Olivedale, Johannesburg
Price: R18.00
Serving/Cooking method: Flame Grilled (on a separate grill), served in a sesame seed bun with lettuce and tomato.
Ingredients: Texturised Vegetable Protein, Water, Wheat Gluten, Cake Flour, Albumin, Vegetable Fat, Onions, Garlic, Salt, Ponceau, Nuclin, Caramel E 150.
Nutritional Information (per serving): Energy (kCal) 1876, Energy (Calories) 449, Protein 20g, Fat 14g, Carbohydrates 64g, Sodium 1747mg.

Comments:
I think that this is one of the most well known vegetarian burgers available on the take away market and was the top scoring burger in our tests for taste and satisfaction. The meat eater in our tasting group even declared that it could pass for a real meat burger. This is definitely the option to go for if you're a recently converted veggie who needs to cure a meat craving.

We were also pleased to find that Steers goes to the effort of respecting their vegetarian customer's wishes by grilling the patties on a separate grill to the meat patties.

Our Rating
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Chuckleberrys

Branch: Appleby Centre, Randburg, Johannesburg
Price: R20.90
Serving/Cooking method: Deep fried, served on a sesame seed bun with tomato, onion, lettuce and a pink sauce.
Ingredients: Not provided. Our guess - falafel type patty.
Nutritional Information (per serving): Not provided.

Comments: The two vegetarians amongst us really enjoyed the taste of this burger (a chickpea with curry and coriander flavour) and thought this was an excellent alternative to the meaty taste of the Steers option. This burger scored the highest on texture, it was nice and crunchy, although this was probably to due to it being deep fried which obviously won't help those looking for a healthy option. It was also the largest of the burgers tested, although this did daunt one of the tasters who needed help finishing her portion off.

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Wimpy

Branch: All Saints Centre, Olivedale, Johannesburg
Price: R19.95
Serving/Cooking method: Deep fried, served in a sesame seed bun with a slice of processed cheese, fried onions, lettuce, gerkin and tomato sauce.
Ingredients: Not provided. Our guess - patty made from mashed potatoes with vegetables.
Nutritional Information (per serving): Energy (kCal) 2970, Protein 11.97g, Fat 26.7g, Carbohydrates 108.27g.

Comments: There were some mixed reactions to this burger. Two of the team enjoyed the crunchy texture, whilst the other found the mushy texture inside the patty a bit tedious after a while. No one liked the sauce at all which was quite an off putting psychedelic shade of pink. The general feeling was that if the cheese and sauce was left out, or improved, the burger would have scored a lot better.

Our Rating
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Nando's

Branch: Village Shopping Centre, Douglasdale, Johannesburg
Price: R20.95
Serving/Cooking method: Grilled on a flat top grill (separate grill where available). Served in a bun with tomato, lettuce and a choice of Nando's sauce (lemon and herb, mild, hot or extra hot).
Ingredients: Wheat, bread crumbs, vegetables, fruit, vegetable fat, water, peanut butter, garlic, salt, spices and modified starch. In addition to this, when a vegetable burger is ordered, the choice of basting sauces (lemon and herb, mild, hot or extra hot) is vegetarian as well.
Nutritional Information (per serving): Energy (kCal) 1935, Energy (Calories) 460, Protein 13.6g, Fat 10.3g, Saturated Fat 0.8g, Cholesterol 6mg, Carbohydrates 74.7g, Sodium 951mg.

Comments: We all thought that this burger looked great but found the texture a bit mushy, a firmer exterior would have really helped. The strange thing was that none of the flavours were particularly defined. The general consensus was that this is the kind of burger that you'll either love or hate.

We were pleased that Nando's is transparent about the cooking methods and ingredients of its veggie burger, they also provide the most nutritional information, this indicated that the fat content was the lowest out of all those tested.

Our Rating
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 Taste:
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Criteria/Scoring
We limited the vegetarian burgers we tested to those from major fast food restaurant chains in Johannesburg.

There were three tasters, two of which are vegetarians, the other is a meat eater.

Scores were out of 5 for; look (did it make us want to eat it), taste (how much yum factor was there), texture (was it enjoyable to munch on), satisfaction (how did it leave us feeling) and overall (the average of all the scores).

Prices indicate take away (without chips or other condiments) and all of the burgers tested were in their plainest format available (ie no pineapple chunks, hash browns etc).

We have tried to provide as much information as possible regarding nutrition, cooking method and ingredients, unfortunately not all the chains were forthcoming with this information.

Do you have any comments to make about these burgers? What's your favourite? Let us know on our Facebook group discussion board. If you're a restaurant chain and offer a veggie burger and we missed you out let us know and we'll pop in for a bite.
 
 
 
 
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