Wow, have veggie burgers come a long way from the TVP laden meatless patties that first appeared in restaurants back in the early 1980s. Fast forward to 2013, where many find themselves not only vegetarian, but also with a gluten – and maybe even a soy – allergy or sensitivity. Finding an allergen-free veggie burger becomes an even bigger conundrum for vegetarians, as gluten grains and soy bi-products are the quintessential meatless burger baseline for flavor, structure, or both.
Enter Sunshine Burgers, started by Carol Debberman, mother of five, and run with equally health-conscious co-owner John Hiler. These USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified burgers are not only gluten-free, but are also free from soy, corn, dairy, eggs, tree nuts and peanuts. Yes, we know, for those of you with multiple food allergies out there, who are also vegetarian, let the cheering commence. Found fully cooked then frozen in packages of three, the South West flavor is one of six patty flavors available. (Also worth trying are the Barbeque or Hemp and Sage options.)
No hidden, artificial or inflammatory ingredients in these babies. The South West burger is comprised of organic ground raw sunflower seeds, organic brown rice, organic cooked carrots, organic black beans and a variety of organic herbs and spices – all recognizable (i.e. organic cilantro), without the mysterious “natural flavors” ingredient. Each patty boasts 10 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, 410 mg of potassium, and 260 calories. Keep frozen until you are ready to dig in, and note that you might need to use one of your own plastic bags for storage of the uneaten burgers once the container is open to avoid freezer burn.
What about taste and texture you might ask? Well let’s just say that for someone who really likes a good grass-fed beef burger, these veggie burgers remain a staple in my freezer. As a quick lunch atop a bed of greens, for a warm snack, or even for breakfast, these burgers warm up nicely in a toaster oven after about 10 minutes. They hold together well, and the texture stays moist even after heating. They are excellent plain, but of course are even better with some ketchup.
Jess Kelley, MNT