|Beyond Meat - Kashrut|
In Israel, they are certified Kosher-Pareve (non-dairy) and have supervision from both Circle K and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. So that is certainly good enough for us.
It was a bit of a challenge to find them. Websites indicated that they were available in Rami Levi supermarkets but we had no luck finding them there. Same for Shopersol. They are available on-line for door to door delivery - but we wound up buying them from "Nitzat HaDuvdevan" - an organic health food store on Ostrovski Street in Ra'anana. They cost 33 shekels for a package of 2 which is about $6.00 each in Canadian dollars. They are sold frozen here. In Canada, they are apparently sold in the fresh meat section in supermarkets.
As you might know, Beyond Meat has been marketing itself as a meat substitute with a taste that is close enough to meat for people to enjoy a completely plant based burger but not feel that they are missing out. Ingredients include pea protein, canola and coconut oils and a variety of other chemicals. In terms of nutritional content, a burger weighs 113 grams. One burger has 300 calories, 20 grams of protein, 11 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fibre, 20 grams of fat (8 saturated) and 360 grams of sodium. No sugar.
|Beyond Burgers on the grill|
The company recommends thawing the burgers before cooking them. So we did that, mostly. It then recommends cooking them on a grill or in a pan for about 3 minutes per side. Since they were not fully thawed, I probably cooked them for about 5 minutes per side on the barbecue.
They do actually look quite a bit like meat hamburgers. I had heard that they "bleed" on the grill and get very juicy like meat burgers. I can't say I really saw this when I cooked them but they were reasonably juicy.
But our samplers were impressed. The verdict was that they were quite close to the taste and texture of a meat burger. They were reasonably tasty, easy to prepare, Kosher-parve (which means that they can be eaten with anything - depending on how you cook them). Two tasters were duly impressed and were definitely prepared to try them again. Admittedly, this was a small sample size.
One member of our group, who does not eat red meat, did not want to try them since they seemed too much like a real burger. It is certainly fair to recognize that vegetarians who are not looking to replicate a "meat experience" might not be interested in something that is designed to taste close to meat.
Personally, I am not a vegetarian though I try to limit the amount of red meat that I eat, primarily for health reasons. Every now and then (or sometimes more often), I enjoy a nice steak or a good burger but I do think about it a lot and sometimes wonder whether I should try a vegetarian diet (from the ethical side of things, rather than purely from the health side).
So from a health point of view, I am not sure that these Beyond Burgers are that much healthier than eating red meat. They have some fibre but the fat content is quite high as is the saturated fat content. The sodium level is high but not obscene. I would have felt a lot better about eating these regularly if the fat content was about half, the saturated fat content about one-third and the sodium content lower.
From a nutritional view point, it might be better to have some fish, some chicken or a soy based main course.
From an ethical point of view, it is certainly nice to have the option of eating a burger that provides an enjoyable culinary experience while knowing that "no innocent animals were harmed in the process..."
|Cooked Beyond Burger|
But overall - here is the cooked product. The verdict was positive and we are willing to try them some more. At $6 each, they are probably not that much more expensive than buying ready made frozen burgers from our local butcher. I hope that they will soon be certified Kosher in Canada from my friends and family there. I am likely to include them as a viable dinner option on either side of the ocean.