Earth Grown Vegan Flame & Grilled Soy Protein Burgers (Aldi)

A stock image of Earth Grown Vegan Soy Protein Burgers, from Aldi
Gross.

It had been a while since I'd last had a veggie burger, so when I saw Aldi would be carrying a soy patty, I figured I was overdue to have another one. I didn’t know what to expect—the only soy thing I think I’ve ever had was soy milk—but I was intrigued enough to pick some up to take to work for lunch. After all, no matter how it tasted, it would be better than a freakin’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich, of which I have had far too many over my 37 years of existence.

The patties can be cooked in the oven or microwave; I just use the microwave. The package says to cook them for two minutes, but I always find that lesser is better—after 90 seconds in the microwave, these were very hot, to the point that I couldn't imagine leaving them in any longer. They have a delicious smoky scent with a hint of spice, a very welcome aroma, and the inclusion of grill marks were pretty cute. So far, so good!

The flavor, on the other hand, is where it all starts going downhill. The taste doesn’t even come close to matching the delicious, inviting aroma, as it initially tastes like absolutely nothing, followed up by a strong smoke flavor. That’s it. The texture was also a letdown, as it was soft and stringy when pulled apart, something as gross as it sounds. It's also a little softer than actual meat, though that didn't bother me quite as much.

I ate one of the patties just by itself, and almost felt sick afterwards…it was a lot to take all at once. The second one I dressed up with a bun and ketchup and it was much more palatable, but still not very good. I guess if you’re a vegetarian and need some protein, there are probably worse ways to get it, but by the same token, I’m sure there are much, much better. And in case you need a second opinion, my wife—she of much more enhanced palate--hated these, too. Just terrible all around.

Overall: 2/10. It smells really delicious and inviting, and this is where all the praise ends. The texture is softer than real meat, something that's not really a big deal, but the biggest turnoff is the stringiness that ensues when you rip a piece off. It looks almost like strings of mucous, which isn't something that really heightens my appetite. The taste is also awful, with an initial base of nothingness, followed up by a sudden blast of smoke flavoring without any other context. Where's the inviting blend of mouth-watering spices that I smelled before taking a bite? Something was definitely lost in the translation between nose and mouth, that's for sure. Awful product that we will be sure to avoid like the plague for the future.


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