Sunday, October 4, 2015

Chef Ernesto Veggie Burgers (Dollar Tree)

CHEF ERNESTO'S VEGGIE BURGERS
In a word: surprising.
 First, let’s clear something up for those of you that may be stumbling on this blog for the first time:  I eat meat.  I love meat.  I don’t necessarily like the way the animals are treated prior to ending up on my table, but you know what?  I don’t think about that, the way we all tend to ignore things that we don’t want to deal with.  I like the way they taste, and it would take a lot for me to give that up.

My wife, on the other hand, decided a couple months ago that she wants to be a vegetarian.  At the risk of sounding mean (something I’m not trying to do), she starts and stops stuff like this all the time--she’s been gluten-free a couple times, which only lasted a few months total, and she’s tried diets and quit them before I could even bat an eye--but this is honestly something I could see her stick to forever.  When I heard that Dollar Tree started offering a small line of vegetarian products, I really wanted to try them just as bad as I wanted her to try them.  She was a little off-put at the idea for a while, and I started to become a little hesitant, but I decided now was the time to give them a shot.

Since there’s no meat in them, they’re already pre-cooked, which makes heating them up a snap.  Even though the oven was the recommended method, it takes about ten minutes, which was more time than I wanted to spend on something I wasn’t even sure that I would like.  So I took the easy way out, and microwaved one patty for about two minutes.  I must say that, right out of the microwave, these things smell really delicious.  They don’t smell anything like a burger would, but I guess that’s fine because these aren’t burgers.  But they smell like a mix of spices and vegetables that was really inviting; I went from trying these solely as a joke, to actually looking forward to taking a bite.

I did throw them on a bun, and liven it up a bit with ketchup and mustard, then took a bite…wow.  These things are actually pretty darn tasty.  Now, as I said, I’m predominantly a meat-eater, and these don’t taste like any veggie burger that I’ve had, so take my words with a grain of salt.  But the reviews I’ve seen, from actual vegetarians, don’t help clear up any ambiguities:  I’m seeing reactions range all over the spectrum, from complete and utter hatred, to others that really enjoyed them, so if you don’t believe me, you’re just going to have to try one anyway.

I will say that they taste way more akin to a potato than an actual burger (and sure enough, a quick scan of the ingredients prove that potatoes are first on the list), so if you’re actually looking for a meat replacement product, these will probably turn you off.  However, I thought they were really fantastic, in a totally-different-than-what-I-was-expecting kind of way.  Seriously, I just got done eating a couple of expensive, locally sourced veggie burgers, that my wife was given by her sister, and while they tried so hard to look and taste like meat, the effect was ruined when I would get a sunflower seed, or similarly crunchy piece, in my mouth.  These are super-soft, and the only thing I saw fall off of one was a piece of corn, which I’m totally fine with.

Even if you can’t accept these as a meat substitute, I feel like these could at least be given a shot as a side dish option.  They really remind me of potato pancakes, and would be just as delicious on their own, after being cooked to a slight crisp in the oven.  However you eat them, I was pleasantly surprised.

Overall: 8/10.  Let’s get one thing out of the way:  These potato-based “burgers” taste nothing at all like meat.  Not even close.  So if you’re a vegetarian that likes a similar taste and texture to an actual burger, then you can stop reading now, and move on.  In fact, they taste very similar to potato pancakes, with the added benefit of having corn and some peppers inside!  I just threw these on a bun with some ketchup and mustard, and they were absolutely delicious.  I’m only a part-time vegetarian, but these are better than veggie burgers I’ve had that literally cost four times as much.  And getting two in a box for $1?  That’s some unbeatable value.  Even if you don’t like them as a meat substitute, treat these as potatoes and cook them up as a side dish.  I’d unequivocally recommend these to anyone, vegetarian or otherwise.

7 comments:

  1. Cumin is spice that smells like "human sweat." Ginger, on the other hand, is refreshing.

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  2. They taste heavily of Cumin. It sounds like you are not fond of this spice used in Indian cooking. Cumin is frequently used. As far as samosas go, these are very good, quite tasty, and a great value at $1. I agree about the crispy crust --- delicious!

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    1. That makes sense...I've actually never had Indian food (at least that I can recall), so that flavor would be pretty foreign to me. I'll have to sample more Indian cuisine and then try these again someday!

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  3. Just stumbled on these veggie patties and I really like them. Good find for the price. I will be getting more.

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one! They're quite tasty, quick, and semi-healthy, for $.50 a serving.

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  4. Late comment, obviously. I just started eating these recently, and they don't go by themselves on a sandwich. They taste good though.
    They are a good side with eggs or something else.

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    1. Yeah, they do function better as a potato pancake kind of substitute, I agree, but I didn't mind them on a bun with ketchup as a REAL quick and generic meal. Sometimes you just need food in your tummy and the bread at least makes it a little more filling.

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