Close-up Hamburger with fast food

Mandatory Food Fight: Plant-Based vs. Beef Burgers

Ah, burgers. They’re a staple of the American diet. Those thick patties piled high with lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and anything else you can think of, stuffed between two plush buns, are the stuff of our food fantasies. Nothing hits the spot quite like a juicy burger.

But times, they are a-changin’. And so is the burger industry. While beef used to be the only option for a burger patty, followed by turkey and black bean options, now there are plant-based and meatless alternatives, like Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger, that boast similar burger craving-crushing qualities to beef, plus health and environmental benefits.

Does this mean our double-fisting days of cow meat are going by the wayside? Are plant-based burgers really all they’re cracked up to be? We delved into the culinary, nutritional, and environmental factors of both beef and plant-based burgers to answer the question, “Which burger is best?” for this edition of Mandatory Food Fight. What we concluded might surprise you…

Cover Photo: Enes Evren (Getty Images)

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Which burger is best? That depends. If you’re going for pure mouthfeel and flavor, either burger will hit the spot (though we’re still leaning towards beef). If you’re trying to make a burger part of your healthy meal plan, 1) you’re barking up the wrong tree (burgers of any kind aren’t exactly a go-to health food) and 2) you should probably stick with beef, which has fewer processed ingredients and more naturally-occurring nutrients. But if your main concern is protecting the planet, plant-based burgers made from pea protein are the only way to go.

Overall Winner: Beef

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