I think most people assume veggie burgers are healthier than hamburgers, but that is not always the case. They tend to be quite processed Many of the commercial vegetarian patties have quite a bit of sodium, ranging from 330-510 mg in just one patty. Not to mention the ingredients list of 20+ on some of the most popular ones. At a restaurant, sodium often ranges above 1000 mg sodium for a veggie burger. Plus, they are often smothered with oil when cooked.
That being said, veggie burgers are almost always lower in calories and saturated fat than hamburgers. They also provide fiber since the top ingredients are usually oats, brown rice or some type of wheat. Again, it depends what you are looking for. If looking for weight loss, choose a veggie burger. If watching sodium intake or are favoring “whole” foods, throw a fresh hamburger on the grill.
The best of both worlds is to make your own veggie burgers. It is fun because you can control the flavors (spicy Cajun burger? garlic and herbs?). It really isn’t too difficult either. Requires about 20 minutes of prep and the rest is cooking. This recipe has about 275 mg sodium, 4.5 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein per burger. And it is delicious! Very easy to freeze and use for lunches as well
Makes 8 burgers. Requires about 3 hours from start to finish (including freezing time)
2 cups water
1 ½ cups dry quick oats
1 cup TVP
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 medium bell pepper, chopped finely
½ cup sliced mushrooms, minced
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
2 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
- bring water, soy sauce and Cajun to a boil
- add remaining ingredients and stir until excess water is absorbed
- turn off heat and allow to cool
- preheat a pancake griddle or pan over the stove and grease
- using a ½ cup measuring cup, scoop mixture to form patties. rinse measuring cup between patties. Freeze for 2 hours. Could skip the freezing, but it helps keep the burgers from falling apart.
- cook for about 20-25 minutes per side on low-medium heat
*it is important to not cook too fast / at too high of a temperature. This can cause the outsides to be crispy and the insides to be under-done
**could also bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about the same amount of time, still being sure to flip patties halfway through
Nutrition Facts for Average of 3 Popular Commercial Veggie Burgers: Serving size: 1 burger: 125 calories, 3.5 grams of fat (0.5 grams of saturated fat), 445 mg sodium, 15.5 grams of carbohydrate (1 carb choice), 4 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 7 grams of protein