Product: Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burger – $5.49+
I remember, back in the days before I was diagnosed as a Celiac, I was simply a vegetarian. And as a vegetarian, I often would pick up different meat alternatives to try out for dinner. One of my favorite brands I would return to was Gardein. Gardein was a company that began with a simple dream – to use the power of vegetables to create healthy fast food. It was something the CEO and the company did very well. In fact, Gardein products are now served in various restaurants, including numerous restaurants at the Wynn in Las Vegas.
I do, however, remember and even recall someone asking…and did so myself…after I had to go gluten-free…for Gardein to consider making gluten-free products. The original response those three years ago was that taking the vital wheat gluten out of the products would jeopardize the integrity of said product. Therefore…no go. In fact, so many of the vegetarian/vegan meat companies took that stance. And for a long while, a vegetarian meat product didn’t cross my lips. Sure, there were a few options I tried and some that I liked. But none were like the ones I used to devour every week.
Gardein announced that it had some gluten-free products coming out to the market. And lo and behold, my newest local grocery store in the Louisville area happened to have some of these products. I have a CSA bin that gave me TONS of leafy greens this week. So, I figured it would be a good time to perhaps make up some veggie burgers. I was pretty set on one of my standards…Hillary’s Eat Well or Qrunch or something along those lines. But as I was passing by the freezer section in Lucky’s…there they were…a beacon of refrigerator light shining down upon them as if they were a gift from the gluten-free gods themselves.
Gardein’s Gluten-Free Veggie Burgers. In fact, there were a couple of different varieties to choose from: Garden Veggie Burger and a Chipotle Black Bean Burger. My roomie and I actually swear there was a gluten-free beefless burger there as well. Honestly! Not just the Beefless Ground. But I can’t find anything on that on their Web site. But…trust me…we saw it because it was in the running to come home with us.
Anyway…dinner time tonight meant…veggie burger time. Gluten-free veggie burger time. So, I started up the oven to cook the remaining sweet potato fries to go with the burgers and then pulled out my skillet to get it heated up. The Gardein Garden Veggie Burgers were taken out of the freezer and I carefully (NOT!) pried them apart with a sharp knife so I could have two of the four in the package. Then, I placed a bit of coconut oil in my skillet, let it melt, then put the patties down to cook. The bag said it would take around 4 minutes on each side. This was perfect. I got my gluten-free hamburger buns (Rudi’s Gluten Free Multigrain Hamburger Rolls, in case you were wondering!) out, sliced, and put in the oven to toast. Then, I flipped the veggie burgers over to get the other side cooking as well. As things were finishing up, I sliced a tomato, rinsed some of the lettuce I had in my crisper drawer, and got out some vegan cheese to melt over the top of the patty. As the fries finished up and the buns finished toasting, I placed a cheese slice on each patty, tossed a bit of water into the skillet, and then covered it so that the steam would perfectly melt the cheese.
As that was happening, I placed some condiments on each bun, then got the lettuce placed onto the bun itself. I removed the Gardein Garden Veggie Patties from the skillet and let them sit (per instructions) for one minute. Then I placed them patty over the lettuce, topped it off with the tomato and the top of the bun and VIOLA…dinner was served…with a side of sweet potato fries!
Settling in for dinner, I was really looking forward to trying a new brand of veggie burger. Especially since it was from a brand I used to trust as a vegetarian. They definitely didn’t disappoint. Whatever integrity Gardein thought it would lose by making gluten-free products…didn’t happen. Honestly. The Gardein Garden Veggie Burger was amazing. It was perfectly crusted on the outside, but the inside was soft and bound together with real vegetables, brown rice, and oats. I loved that I could not only take a bite of the burger and have it taste like a real burger…but I also got a bit of a serving of vegetables (corn, peas, peppers). I could see the brown rice cooked throughout and giving the patty some depth of flavor and a bit of volume and density. This burger was a very good size too…no skimping by Gardein. I loved seeing that. And it had a great, almost nutty and fresh taste to it. It was love at first bite with me. And I am happily assigning this the top spot on my gluten-free veggie burger list. Yes…it really is that amazing and that good. And…it will actually fill you up!
Now that I’ve mentioned that…I might as well get down to the ingredients and nutrition, yes? Yes!
Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burgers are made from water, cooked brown rice, roasted vegetables (non-GMO corn, red and green bell peppers), carrots, onions, gluten-free rolled oats, peas, non-GMO expeller pressed canola oil, non-GMO soy protein concentrate, modified vegetable gum, dehydrated garlic, organic cane sugar, onion powder, sea salt, spices, yeast extract, natural flavors (contains gluten-free soy sauce), paprika, citric acid. Simple ingredients…but huge flavor. These burger patties are gluten-free, vegan, kosher, and non-GMO.
Nutritionally speaking, I am so in love with these stats, you just can’t imagine. So often, the gluten-free veggie burgers are laden in calories and fat. I guess it’s just how the companies try to make up for it being (GASP!) gluten-free. But Gardein turned out one fantastic product and managed to do it and keep both calories and fat in check. A serving of the Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burgers is one burger. This serving will dish up 110 calories and 4 grams of fat. Yep…you read that right! LOVE IT! One burger will also give you 280 mg sodium and 2 grams of sugar. These burgers are cholesterol free. One burger patty will also give you 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.
Did I mention how delicious these are? Delicious and nutritious! Gardein was a little gun-shy to take on gluten-free. It tookk them a couple of years, but after listening to the numerous requests by consumers, they have entered the gluten-free market. And they did so with a bang. If you are looking for an amazing gluten-free veggie burger, run to your store and find the Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burger. Trust me…it will be the best you’ve ever had.