I was surprised the other day when I wandered down Target’s frozen food aisle and noticed MorningStar Farm’s Roasted Garlic and Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) Burgers.
They’re new and come packaged in a brown and black box that’s noticeably different from the rest of the MorningStar Farms line. I was intrigued by the quinoa even before I realized that the burgers were non-GMO. They earned my unqualified thumbs-up when I took some home for a taste test.
Quinoa is a super food. Ancient Inca warriors supposedly ate balls of the stuff before going into battle. In more recent times, the United Nations found it so important to world nutrition that they designated 2013 the International Year of Quinoa.
Some people think quinoa is a grain, but the Whole Grains Counsel calls it a “pseudo-cereal,” because it’s grain-like, but not actually. It’s related to beets, chard, and spinach; and it’s a complete protein.
Vegan With Organic Ingredients
Not only are MorningStar Farms Roasted Garlic and Quinoa Burgers meatless, they’re vegan and made with organic quinoa. That means no nasty pesticides, hormones or harmful chemicals.
The package lists other organic ingredients as well, including lentils, brown rice, onions, roasted garlic, red bell peppers, rolled oats and more. If all of this sounds a little too non-meat-y for you… well it might be. And that’s okay.
If you’re a die-hard meat-burger fan, the idea of eating quinoa and all those other healthy ingredients might throw off your meat-eater’s equilibrium. So don’t think about them. Just close your eyes and take a bite. And as you nibble, consider this: They’re also certified by the Non GMO Project . Their little butterfly logo is right there on the box.
That means Roasted Garlic and Quinoa Burgers contain none of the franken-grains or animal/plant DNA-spliced, genetically modified ingredients that American food processing companies don’t even have to list on their packages. Additionally, each burger has:
44 percent less fat than beef
7 grams of fiber
7 grams of protein
Did I mention that they’re tasty?
I was surprised once again when I cooked up a few garlic/quinoa burgers. Pan-frying released a powerfully garlicky smell, which prepared me for the powerfully garlicky taste. I served one up like a genuine burger–whole grain bread, cheese, organic mayonnaise, a few of my homemade pickles. With my first bite I realized, it was not only non-GMO, it actually tasted pretty good.
I’ve traveled the non-meat road
My son stopped eating beef and pork in high school. A few years after that, my daughter gave up meat and poultry. It broke my heart that my fabulously savory Sunday roast beef and my meaty, family-sized lasagna had lost their places of honor in my children’s hearts.
Eventually I moved forward with my own trek along the non-meat road. It brought me to marinated tofu, falafel, hummus, and a whole new world of veggie/grain-based, meatless dishes that would have made my mother say…hmmm. Spicy Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Mexican restaurants also helped fill my desire for low-to-no-meat dishes.
I know veggie burgers
On the go, I still indulge in the occasional beef burger. But at home, frozen, veggie/grain-based products are my non-meat, fast food staple. I regularly consume black bean burgers, mushroom burgers, and tomato basil burgers.
I change things up a bit with veggie soy crumbles and brats, veggie chick’n (not to be confused with chicken), veggie pot pies, and a certain line of frozen foods that perform meat-like magic with “…the proprietary technology of Mycoprotein…”
I’ve eaten my share of frozen, non-meat offerings, and MorningStar Farms Roasted Garlic and Quinoa Burgers are as tasty as any I’ve had.