Chiorganicgirls Meatless Monday: Grillable Veggie Burgers

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July is National Grilling Month and it’s been a scorcher in Chicago.  With all the BBQs and back yard grilling bonanzas this month, adding some veggie burgers to the mix can happify those who don’t wanna have a cow.  Humans are naturally omnivores, meaning we’re down (and hard wired) for some vegging out.  Plus, eating more veggie based meals can help the environment, reduce cancer risks, minimimize exposure to meat based antibiotics, and improve the quality of life for animals.  But lettuce not forget taste!  There isn’t mushroom for a bad tastin’ veggie burger on the grill.

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Upton’s Naturals, an independently owned Chicago based company, dedicates themselves to providing delicious veggie based meat alternatives for the vegan and vegetarian community in Chicago and abroad.  They just celebrated their 10th birthday and certainly know how to turnip any grilling occasion.

Their veggie burgers are one of the newest additions cropping up on their rotation.  So you may wonder, how does Upton’s Naturals: The Classic Burger stack up?

Battle of the Burger:

Traditional Hamburger vs. Upton’s Classic Veggie Burger

Traditional Single Patty Hamburger

  • Ingredients:
    • Beef (moooo)..maybe some hormones.  We can’t guarantee anything.
  • Nutritional Profile (from the USDA website):
    • Calories Per Serving: 254
    • Total Fat: 10 g
    • Saturated Fat: 3.1 g
    • Trans Fat: .5 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat: .2 g
    • Sodium: 378 mg
    • Carbohydrate: 29g
    • Sugar: 5g
    • Dietary Fiber: 1 g
    • Protein: 13 g
    • Cholesterol: 28 mg

Upton’s Classic Burger

  • Ingredients:
    • Vital wheat gluten, eggplant, water, tofu (water, soybeans, calcium sulfate), sunflower, canola or safflower oil, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), wheat flour, nutritional yeast, evaporated cane juice, onion, sea salt, garlic, natural hickory smoke concentrate, whole wheat flour, oregano, black pepper, paprika, parsley, marjoram and apple cider vinegar.
  • Nutritional Profile:
    • Calories Per Serving: 168
    • Total Fat: 5 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g
    • Sodium: 365 mg
    • Carbohydrate: 9 g
    • Sugar: 1 g
    • Dietary Fiber: 2 g
    • Protein: 22 g
    • Cholesterol: 0 g
Upton’s Taste and Texture: Upton’s Burger tastes a lot like their other seitan blends that we’ve had before.  There is a slight smoke flavor with a peppery finish in the patty.   It’s a hearty veggie burger, not one of those ones that falls apart, and it easily cooks on the grill in a short time.  Can’t beet a quick cooking meat free burger to get those planty vibes!
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So who won?  Is this your garden variety knock out?  Upton’s has less fat, calories, and cholesterol than than a traditional beef burger.  It also has more fiber.  Upton’s is kosher, lactose free and vegan so it digs away at different dietary needs.  Note: Upton’s burger is NOT gluten free so traditonal burger takes the medal for that category.
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Are you ready for your BBQ guests to cheer “Olive Veggie Burgers!”?  
Upton’s Naturals’ Classic Burger is planting itself at natural retailers throughout the Midwest for $3.99 for a 2 burger box. Click HERE for a store locator.  Swinging by the Chi?  Sample the classic burger or many other vegan delights (jackfruit tacos, vegan bacon mac and cheese and more) at Upton’s Breakroom in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.  Visit www.uptonsnaturals.com and find @UptonsNaturals and @UptonsBreakroom on social media.
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Get Green with new OrganicGirl foods!

We’ve known about our namesake almost twinsie, Organicgirl greens, for over a year now.  Their organic pre-rinsed greens mixes have taken center stage in our fridge for months. Their spinach has starred in our green smoothies, their arugula pizzazzed our pizzas.  And yet, we were surprised to find out they had ventured into 2 new product markets, green juices and salad dressings.  Could they get any greener!?

As big Organicgirl fans, we got to sample both the dressings and juices at the recent Fit Foodie Run and (BONUS) were treated by Organicgirl to our very own bottles for further taste inspection.

We’ve been wondering, we have all these BPA free recycled clam shells of Organicgirl spring mix, what do we dress it with!?  Lemon Agave, White Cheddar, Fresh Tomato Italian or Kale Parmesan.

Can we put a squeeze of each on single leaves?  Each dressing has it’s only unique flavor profile that fits particularly well with the various greens that Organicgirl offers.

The Zesty Tomato Italian mingles with pepper greens, feta, artichokes, olives and roasted garlic.  For a fast and easy lunch, take a Toufyan multigrain pocket filled with greens, organic yellow cherry tomatoes, Morningstar Farms grilled chicken and dressing.

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The Kale Parmesan, reminiscent of pesto, meshes with super greens, quiona, baked butternut squash, red and green bell peppers, and pumpkin seeds.

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Continue fall trends with White Cheddar dressing drizzled over a spinach, green apple, dried cranberry salad with walnuts or hold on to summer with Lemon Agave dressing, watermelon, pinches of cayenne, jalapeno and that baby spring mix we mentioned. Another quick lunch creation to add with raw organic greens include cucumbers, veg grilled chicken and shaved Parmesan.

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Also, check out this super cool blog, Nutrition Happens, for even more recipe ideas.  Let’s get drizzical, drizzlical (Olivia Newton John reference!) with these new drizzly dressins’.

Next, the super secret just released Organicgirl “Get Real” Juices

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Fair Warning: If you are the type who loves your juice super fruity fruit loop flavored, these may seem a little..umm..veggie heavy (aka healthy tasting).  However, fear not.  Organicgirl tells you these organic cold pressed vegan juices are “More Greens, Less Fruit” so you can’t act like you didn’t know.  They are way lower in calories (think 45-60 for a full bottle) and way way lower in sugar so you won’t feel like you are crashing after drinking them.  Additional goodness: They have 2-3 servings of veggies in each bottle so it’s an easy way to down a head o’ lettuce or two to start your day or supplement your lunch. 4 veg-rrific options await you: The light and lemony “Brighten Up”, The minty cucumber “Be Cool”, The King of All Greens and ruler of the iron throne (hehehehe) Kale Rules and….

Our vote for best Organicgirl juice: “Fuel Your Ride” with 84% Greens and Veg, pumped up with kale, carrot, spinach, cucumber, beet and parsley.  We suspect the beet and carrot create a magical spell to make the kale less bitter.  Don’t be green with envy (HA!) other juices.

You can find Organicgirl products at Mariano’s (unless it’s Sunday when everyone snags all the baby spinach and makes us sad.  Don’t go on Sundays, people) as well as other food retailers in your salad-hood.