Thursday, August 12, 2010

REVIEW: Morningstar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Burgers

My previous experiences with "meatless" burgers, sausages, dogs and patties have all pretty much ended with a mix of disappointment in the product and a gnawing craving for the real thing. So it was nothing short of a GIANT leap of faith when I purchased the jumbo box of Morningstar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Burgers at Costco a couple weeks back.

Not that I'm going all vegetarian on you or anything like that. But even I'll admit to enjoying nights that feature almost no cooking on my part and I figure it never hurts to push away from the cavalcade of pit beef, sushi, burgers, ribs and pulled pork that has recently been my life.

For me, just making the purchase of a 12-pack of 1/4 lb. anything represented a classic "good side and bad side play tug-of-war". On the one hand I had a coupon, so the money-saving, cost-conscious gene I inherited from my folks was doing a jig. On the other hand, the part of me that vividly remembers tossing out package after package of icicle-caked frozen foods from my parents' basement freezer after they moved out of my childhood home tends to paralyze me with fear every time I set foot in Costco or buy more than four cans of soup at one time.

But after spending the better part of the weekend prepping, cooking, having and cleaning up from our annual cookout and suffering from the soul-crushing boredom of a day on jury duty, I felt like it was time to bite the bullet and give Morningstar Farms the old college try.

Seriously – how bad could they possibly be?

While none of the other meat-free burgers I've tried were truly awful, I must admit that I've never been in any big rush to try any of them again. And sure enough, a quick check of our freezer yielded half a package of ice-encrusted Boca Burgers from some long-ago cookout. (The Freezer-Cleaner in me trembles just typing that sentence.)

After giving the package a final long, hard look and deciding to make a mini-pulled pork sandwich just in case they sucked, I popped the burgers in and followed the very specific timing instructions as close as possible. The package recommends baking in the oven and flipping the patties over halfway through the 23 minute cooking time but even I'm not so anal about following package directions that I would set the timer for 11:30. And I'm pretty anal when it comes to recipes, cooking times and directions on foodstuffs... don't even get me started on expiration dates.

Once the 23 minutes was up I topped each burger with a slice of Sargento Reduced Sodium Pepper Jack Cheese – again, in case they sucked – let the cheese melt and then popped them onto awaiting buns.

Much to my surprise – and relief – I can safely say that these are my favorite meatless burgers of all time. Granted, that's like being voted the prettiest Kennedy girl but you get the drift. While these certainly aren't going to make me forget Tessaro's in Pittsburgh or even the exquisitely cooked burger I recently had at Iron Hill Brewery in Mt. Laurel, NJ they had a nice crisp exterior that led to a soft center, all flavored nicely with corn and chipotle. Plus, at just 7 grams of fat per serving I won't feel bad about firing one up for lunch.

I'm not sure I'm quite ready to go down the vegan Hickory BBQ Riblet road yet, but I'll keep you posted.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

check out this recipe and you will become a BBQ riblet fiend!

http://saintcharlesveganeats.blogspot.com/2010/08/bbq-pizza.html

Anonymous said...

I've tried the black bean burgers and the bbq riblet and i love both and im not even vegan. I love all kinds of meat but these taste just like the real thing.. They are so Good!! I'm actually eating on now. lol

Anonymous said...

I just finished blackbean burger for my dinner. I also bought mine at Costco on a whim. Love them. I forgot to pick some up yesterday and now I have only one left.

Anonymous said...

These are delicious. They are crunchy on the outside and well seasoned. I just microwave them for a minute and then finish them off in the toaster.

Kricia Rachelle said...

Looks like we were there the same weekend! Was there a little old lady handing out samples too?

Kricia

http://hellotoyou.me

Anonymous said...

Please contact Costco in store or online to bring back the black bean chipolte burger. I can't believe they deleted them from inventory.

Dan said...

They're still carrying them at our local Costco in MD. Love these things!

Unknown said...

Mega Ditto
Please contact Costco in store or online to bring back the black bean chipolte burger. They have started to discontinue them because of lack of interest. I am not sure how long they carried them. I tried them, loved them and the next time I went back they were no longer in stock.

Anonymous said...

I'm eating a black bean burger right now and I agree with most people's assessments. Hands down the best veggie burger ever. I'm a meat-eater and always will be but I'm trying to get more fiber in my diet (since I eat very few grains) and decided I needed more beans. Black beans tend to mess with me so I ate a couple of Beano tablets just in case!

Anonymous said...

I tried them over the weekend, and they are really good.

Anonymous said...

I'm a meat lover. That said, one of these Black Bean Burgers on a whole wheat bun with a slice of fresh tomato, slice of sweet onion, a few English Cucumber slices, and a teaspoon or two of chunky salsa ... what's not to like? With an ear of freash corn, one of my favorite summer dinners.

Anonymous said...

I just became a pescetarian (no red meat or pork, but I eat shellfish etc.) So I decided to switch to tofu & the riblets are so good, I was almost fooled into thinking I was eating meat. Tofu like the riblets that contain their own sauces and flavors are usually idiot proof, so you can pop them into the microwave without having to worry. The sauce that comes in the package gives all the flavor you need so they taste fantastic every time.

Anonymous said...

LOVE THESE! Also bought on a whim at Costco, but I love black beans and any meatless burger not trying to act like a moo-burger. By far my fav all on it's own with some spicy mustard. If I'm looking for more: stuffed in a ww pita with feta, that spicy mustard, cucumbers, and maybe some red peppers for color. I don't know what box I'm on, but there's always one in my freezer!

Linda Allen said...

Have eaten the whole box in the past 10 days. One thin slice of cheese, 1/2 cup of homemade pico, and a couple TBSP of my low fat cilantro lime dressing and I have a less than 300 calorie very filling meal. Yumm!

Anonymous said...

We tried the Chipolte Black Bean Burgers this weekend and absolutely "loved" them. They are definitely THE best veggie burgers that we have ever eaten!! We now plan to include them in our future cookouts!

Anonymous said...

I also love these burgers, I have chopped them up and added them to a southwest taco salad and as a base for nachos. Costco in SoCal still has them.