Summer Fun With Vegetarian Fast Food

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Summer is about barbecues and occasional food fests, so what is a vegan or vegetarian to do? Well, with so many new meat alternatives on the market, now we can join right in. I usually don’t buy processed meat alternatives so on my last shopping trip I was surprised to discover just how many new kinds there are out there. So many in fact, that I couldn’t decide.

I also discovered that stores now sell various new syles of buns. They tend to be the same whitebread junkfood that I so fondly remember from childhood, but sold in new formats (thinner ones, ones with pseudo “smart” grains hidden away, etc). I was irresistibly drawn to the tiny little ones- so-called slider buns, and mini hot dog buns.

The result- I bought the little elf buns, 2 kinds of veggie burgers, 2 kinds of veggie dogs, and added in my own homemade beet burgers and we had two days of “taste offs”. To taste my burgers, I cut them in quarters and ate them open-faced on the buns, while a half length of a hot dog fit nicely into the mini dog buns.

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With a side salad, fresh chili-lime sriracha corn, and garnishes, it was two days of summertime junkfood indulgence. The results were inconclusive (I’ll share the details below for what my family decided), but I did learn that there is no earthly excuse left for me to eat “real” processed meats. There are so many delicious options now that I can fill any wayward junkmeat craving that could ever arise.

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Burgers tested:
Yves “Veggie Burger Burgers”
Isadora’s “Go-Nuts Burger”, made with walnuts from nearby Saturna Island, BC.
My homemade veggie and beet pulp burger, made with pulp from my juicer.

Hot Dogs tested:
Yves Veggie Dogs
Field Roast Frankfurters

Results:
My daughter and I both liked the Yves burgers the best. They are also the cheapest for me to buy since a local store carries them and frequently puts them on sale. They are the most like real meat burgers in taste. My son and I also really liked the Go-Nuts burger, which was not much like a meat burger, but we thought it tasted pretty delicious. We liked the texture of the crunchewy nuts, but my daughter was put off by it. Bonus that it was local, but (likely because they are a small, newer company) it was the most expensive, even on sale. My son’s favourite was my homemade burger (yay me!). I also love its taste, but I cannot get past its deep red color. With white in it also from the chopped onions and oatmeal it just looks eerily like raw hamburger meat to me. No matter how much I tried to cook that color out, I still needed a blindfold to eat it.

My son was lukewarm about both of the hot dogs, but he has never been a hot dog lover, even when we ate meat. My daughter liked the Yves dog best. I am able to cook it so that it has a good texture and juiciness like real hot dogs (see my older post here for tips on cooking veggie burgers- I do hot dogs in a similar way), but to me it still didn’t quite have that real hot dog taste I remember. The Field Roast, however, was phenomenally close to a real frankfurter in taste. It was my favourite, although it was also phenomenally expensive, and extremely salty.

The final verdict: All of these had good and bad points to weigh out, and nutritionally nothing beats homemade, but it was a lot of fun and I could occasionally see doing something like this again. We laughed and chatted and learned new things about each other as we compared and tasted our way through all the different combos.

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