The 10 Best Veggie Burgers, According to Nutritionists
Consider these patties an easy way to eat your veggies.
The frozen food aisle has come a long way, especially when it comes to plant-based patties. With the rise in popularity of plant-based burgers comes an array of veggie burgers you can purchase at the store to heat and eat. Dietitians from around the country weighed in on their favorite store-bought veggie burgers. Below you’ll find some oldies but goodies, and some new kids on the block that you’ll want to give a try ASAP.
Dr. Praeger’s is a favorite of many dietitians including Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com, author of Read It Before You Eat It - Taking You from Label to Table. "Their All American Veggie Burger supplies you with 28g of plant protein and a meaty texture and it’s also soy and gluten free," says Taub-Dix who explains that it’s important to check to see how much protein is in your burger — especially if you’re a vegetarian or vegan and this food is being relied upon as a major source of protein. "Dr. Praeger’s makes veggie burgers with ingredients you can recognize." Taub-Dix also likes Dr. Praeger’s Sweet Heat Beet Burger that contains six vegetables along with a whopping 19g of plant-based protein in each serving.
Dietitians sure enjoy Morningstar Farms veggie burgers! Melissa Altman-Traub MS, RDN, LDN likes the Tex Mex variety because it’s spicy and have a great texture. "Nutritionally, it provides 11g of protein and 10% of the daily value for iron, with only 1 gram of saturated fat and no cholesterol." Altman-Traub enjoys her veggie burger lightly grilled on a whole wheat bun with lettice, tomato, salsa or guac, and sautéed onions and peppers.
Michele Sidorenkov, RDN of My Millennial Kitchen also favors Morningstar Farms but chooses their Garden Veggie Burgers because "they're made with real, everyday ingredients that you can actually see and pronounce. When you know that's in your food, you can feel good about what you are eating!" Sidorenkov cooks her burger in a lightly oiled skillet because that seems to give me the best texture and burger-like sear. She then places her cooked burger on a bun and loads on the avocado, lettuce, tomato, and mustard.
"Boca Burgers are a veggie burger that you can’t beat for the taste, nutrition and price," says Dr. Joan Salge Blake, EdD, RDN, LDN, FAND, nutrition professor at Boston University, author, and host of the hit health and wellness podcast, SpotOn!. They are available in the frozen section of your supermarket and are made with soy, cheese, and yummy flavoring. "The burger provides 13g of protein for about $1 per burger. It’s a vegetarian steal," explains Saldge Blake who enjoys them on a whole wheat burger bun topped with salsa and reduced fat pepper jack cheese for a burger with a kick.
Several dietitians claim Hilary’s to be their favorite including NYC-based Registered Dietitian, Rebecca Ditkoff, MPH RD CDN & founder of Nutrition by RD and Kellie Blake, RDN, LD, IFNCP of Nutrisense Nutrition. Ditkoff keeps a box as a staple in her freezer "because it tastes amazing and has a great texture. Additionally, I love that they are made with simple ingredients, such as fiber-rich whole grains, kale, spinach and sweet potato and are lower in sodium compared to other veggie burgers." Blake also recommends these burgers to clients who must avoid ingredients like eggs, dairy, wheat/gluten, corn, soy and nuts. Blakes likes that "they’re also convenient when you just don’t have time to a from scratch burger."
New York City culinary nutritionist Jackie Topol, MS, RD enjoys this veggie burger from Amy’s because it is "made with mushrooms, whole grains, and walnuts which makes for a very hearty patty that has that perfect umami flavor." It’s also lower in sodium than most veggie burger with 270 mg per patty and doesn’t have any overly processed soy or mystery ingredients in it. Topol’s favorite way to eat it? Topped with lettuce, tomato, avocado and some organic ketchup without a bun and with baked sweet potato fries on the side.
These burgers are a favorite to several dietitians and there are many reasons why. Leanne Ray, MS, RDN, owner of Leanne Ray Nutrition loves Sunshine Burgers "because of the super simple ingredients list and mild flavor. They are a bit unique containing just whole grains, vegetables and sunflower seeds with no fillers or preservatives."
Mary Purdy, MS, RDN, Adjunct Professor at Bastyr University and host of Mary's Nutrition Show loves these burgers "because this is a true to its name 'veggie' burger, in that all of the ingredients are recognizable plant foods like carrots, black beans, brown rice and sunflower seeds, which means there's more whole-foods nutritional bang for the burger buck. They also have a variety of flavors to suit all palates, including those seeking a spicy kick." Plus, Purdy says that "they are one of the few plant-based veggie burgers that actually have close to 10 grams of protein, which can help satiate and prevent cravings for....another burger!"
Chloe Paddison, RDN, LD of Cureative Nutrition opts for Fieldburgers "because it offers a great texture and flavor while holding together nicely in the cooking process." The base of the burger is mushrooms and Paddison says that "it is definitely a prominent flavor along with the complimentary seasonings and other vegetables." This veggie burger also packs in 25g of protein with only 7g of net carbohydrates. "This is unique, as most veggie burger alternatives come with higher carbohydrate amounts from the starchy vegetables used." Paddison eats her burgers on its own with ketchup and mustard, or crumbled as a taco filling.
Jenna Gorham, RD, founder of Gorham Consulting Group says "this is the best tasting veggie burger I've had!" Gorham likes that it uses just whole food ingredients, is lower in sodium than other packaged meals, and offers a good source of filling plant based protein and fiber. In addition, "the consistency is perfect — not too moist, too dry or crumbly, like some can be," says Gorham who keeps them on hand for quick easy lunches and dinners. Gorham likes to top it with Dijon mustard or avocado slices (either with a bun or bun-less) and a big side salad or grilled veggies.
"With only 15 mg sodium per burger and made with ingredients I’d use in my own kitchen," says Cathy Leman, MA, RD founder of dam. mad. About BREAST CANCER, "my favorite packaged veggie burgers are by Engine2." Leman eats these burgers toasted on a whole wheat English muffin topped with avocado and red onions, uses two patties as the protein source over a salad, or as a filling for a veggie wrap.
"Made mainly with rice and vegetables, Thai Sweet Chili Veggie Burgers are a flavorful option for those looking for an alternative to traditional black bean burgers," touts Cassidy Reeser, RDN, LD and Owner at Cozy Peach Kitchen. "With 8g of plant-based protein and 3g of fiber per patty, these veggie burgers deliver flavor without sacrificing nutrition."
Reeser enjoys her Trader Joe’s burger on a whole wheat bun with avocado, sautéed peppers and fresh spinach. "Because the patties are so flavorful on their own, they also work well as a protein source in simple grain bowls or salads," says Reeser.
Mandi Knowles, RDN, owner of The Well Crafted Life, a holistic health and wellness company is also a fan of Trader Joe’s but prefers the Vegetable Masala Burger. "This Vegetable Masala Burger was one of the first ways Trader Joe’s stole my heart. This vegan burger packs a flavorful punch, unlike any other vegetable burger out there. It’s made with few, yet wholesome ingredients and literally takes less than 2 minutes to make," says Knowles who enjoys them in a whole wheat pita with avocado, shredded cheese, lettuce and tomato.