What are the Healthiest Veggie Burgers?

veggie burger and fries on a plate

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Veggie burgers have come a long way. So much so that even the biggest meat lovers may trade their beef or turkey burgers for a meatless alternative every now and then.

However, not all veggie burgers are made equally. While vegetables may account for a small portion of the ingredients, some veggie burgers are heavily processed and high in calories and fat. In some cases, they may not be healthier than their meat counterparts.

While homemade veggie burgers are likely the healthiest option, there are many store-bought variations with impressive ingredient lists and nutrition facts. Here is how to spot the healthiest veggie burgers at the market.

Are Veggie Burgers Healthy?

The term “veggie burger” can be misleading. The name implies that the ingredients are entirely made of vegetables. Veggie burgers can include vegetables as well as grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and spices.

While veggie burgers can certainly be a more nutritious choice than some animal-based burgers, some options are more nutrient-dense than others.

Health Benefits

High in Fiber

Animal protein is naturally void of dietary fiber, but the opposite is true of plants. A diet rich in fiber is associated with many health benefits, including heart health, improved digestion, weight loss, and more.

Veggie burgers like black bean burgers are an excellent source of fiber. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends roughly 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams of fiber for men every day.

Source of Plant-Based Protein

Aside from the taste, one of the main appeals of traditional meat burgers is the high protein content. Protein is an invaluable nutrient to the human body, and it’s no secret that vegans and vegetarians have to put more effort into getting enough essential proteins than meat eaters.

Consuming veggie burgers is one of the many ways that people following a plant-based diet can increase their protein intake. Veggie burgers made from beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds are the highest in protein, though patties made from vegetables also offer a few grams of protein per serving.

Low in Cholesterol

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day. If you already have high cholesterol then the National Lipid Association recommends consuming less than 200 mg of cholesterol per day. Meat-free foods are naturally low in or free of cholesterol, but certain plant-based foods can also help lower dietary cholesterol. Veggie burgers made with whole grains like barley have been shown to lower cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors.

What to Look For

Veggie Burgers vs. Vegan Burgers

Veggie burgers and vegan burgers are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two.

Classic veggie burgers are made with vegetables and other plant-based ingredients. You can usually see pieces of vegetables in the patties, and they have an earthy flavor. Not all veggie burgers are vegan. Some may be made with animal products like milk, cheese, and eggs. However, many veggie burgers are vegan-friendly. If you’re vegan, be sure to check the ingredients list. 

Vegan burgers refer to the meat-like patties that have come on the market in recent years. These are formulated to look, taste, and feel like regular beef burgers. Since the priority of these burgers is to emulate the experience of meat, they tend to be higher in fat and calories and more processed than healthier veggie burgers.

7 Veggie Burgers To Try

Hilary's Eat Well World’s Best Veggie Burger

These veggie burgers are named “world’s best” for a reason. They’re vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and kosher. Everything on the ingredients list is recognizable and easy to pronounce. 

One burger contains 120 calories, 5g fat, 15g carbohydrates, and 2g sugar. They’re also lower in sodium than other processed veggie burgers with 200mg per serving. However, with just 2g of protein per patty, you’ll want to pair with a high-protein side like bean and corn salad or green peas.

Beyond Meat The Beyond Burger

This meat-like burger will leave your taste buds satisfied. The main ingredient is pea protein, but rice protein and mung bean protein also add to this meaty patty. Each patty is ¼-pound and packs 20g of plant-based protein and 230 calories. 

It’s a more processed option but suitable for those looking for a meaty alternative that’s lower in cholesterol and saturated fat. The Beyond Burger is also free of GMOs, soy, and gluten.

Dr. Praeger's Purely Sensible Foods Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers

A black bean burger is the go-to choice for those looking for a high-protein veggie burger that isn’t overly processed. These patties contain 150 calories, 5g protein, 7g fat, 16g carbohydrates, and 7g fiber each.

The ingredients are simple with black and beans and quinoa making up the base of the burger. It’s then seasoned with plenty of spices like garlic, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, and more.

Hodo Tofu Veggie Burger

Before any of these veggie burgers existed, there was tofu. Tofu has always been a reliable protein source and meat-like alternative for vegans and vegetarians. Made from soybeans, tofu makes for an excellent veggie burger.

The Hodo Tofu Veggie Burger is an organic option with 200 calories, 9g fat, 11g carbohydrates, and 19g protein per serving. It’s also fortified with vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium for extra vitamins and minerals.

Amy’s Kitchen Organic California Veggie Burger

Amy’s Kitchen has brought vegetarian products to the market for several decades. This reliable brand has several healthy veggie burger options, including the Organic California Veggie Burger made of bulgar, mushrooms, and walnuts.

Each patty contains 150 calories, 5g fat, 21g carbohydrates, and 6g protein. While it contains 550mg sodium per serving, a lower sodium version also exists.

Carla Lee's Organic NutBurgers

When you think of veggie burgers, you might think of peas, carrots, black beans, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Well, add nuts to that list. These unique veggie burgers are made with cashews and sunflower seeds, making them an excellent source of healthy fats.

With 290 calories per patty, these nut-based burgers are higher in calories than other options. However, they pack 5g fiber and 9g protein per serving. They’re also a rich source of vitamins and minerals.

NEAT Meat Replacement Mix

Don’t check the freezer aisle for these veggie burgers. Instead, check the pantry section. These veggie burgers require you to get a little more hands on than just popping them in the oven or on a skillet. In fact, they come in a powdered version that forms patties when mixed with water and a binding agent.

The mix is made of the following simple ingredients: pecans, garbanzo beans, oats, cornmeal, and salt. Each 39-gram serving, approximately ⅓ cup of the mix, contains 190 calories, 15g fat, 4g protein, and 11g carbohydrates. When formed into patties, the meaty mix browns like beef over heat.

4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Lacey Muinos
Lacey Muinos is a professional writer who specializes in fitness, nutrition, and health.