I’ll be honest — I didn’t really have any expectations of a non-meat burger.
It was just last year while planning the first HBG VeggieFest that I learned that Arooga’s offers tofu wings (I know that sounds gross, but I tried them too, so bear with me), and I knew they had additional plans for vegetarian options on their menu.
The Impossible Burger
Arooga’s owner Gary Heuther caught wind of the Impossible Burger a few years ago — the company was gaining momentum on the west coast, and Heuther sent an email saying, “if you ever expand to the east coast, give me a call.” It took some time, but as the company grew and expanded, they reached Heuther, and here they are.
The Impossible Burger is “meat, made from plants, for meat-lovers.” From its raw state through cooking on the griddle or grill, it looks and smells pretty darn close to beef.
What is it, though?
The Impossible Burger is made mostly of wheat and potato proteins, coconut oil, and heme. That last one is the secret (or not, I guess) to its meaty flavor, and it’s a natural molecule found in all living things. Go figure! There are no hormones, antibiotics, and it is cholesterol-free.
In fact, every time you eat an Impossible Burger, you’re helping reduce your carbon footprint. Creating this savory substitute uses 95% less land, 87% lower greenhouse gas emissions and 74% less water than eating traditional beef.
A serving size has just 220 calories (before you load it with your toppings and bun).
It’s available at all Arooga’s stores and franchises, local and up the east coast.
Oh yeah, and uh — it’s good.
Arooga’s invited me to their corporate headquarters to sample the Impossible Burger, along with their tofu wings and new sriracha hummus.
Real deal, the burger looks like a burger from raw through cooking. I mean, it depends on how finely ground your ground beef is, but it’s close. My burger was prepared as they do on the menu — Arooga’s sauce, toasted bun (skip this if you want vegan!), lettuce, tomato (no onion for me).
No kidding, the thing is tasty. No weird texture or aftertaste either. I would definitely consider adding this into my diet, and if you’re veg-curious, this is a great way to start. Comes with fries!
Arooga’s Faux Wings
These come out looking like boneless wings, though the texture is definitely more “chicken nugget” than tender, but when lightly fried and topped with Arooga’s wing sauce, these were satisfying. Like the Impossible Burger, I couldn’t detect any odd aftertastes. Again, another great way to ease into a veg-friendly diet. Served with USDA organic carrots, hand-cut celery & bleu cheese dressing.
Arooga’s Sriracha Hummus
Heuther noticed the Arooga’s menu was lacking a good vegetarian option in the appetizer section, so they worked on this hummus. Sriracha is a pretty mild hot garlic sauce, and it’s a global favorite for a reason. Its flavor is pretty mild in this already garlicky hummus, so even sensitive palates could enjoy this. Served with red and blue corn tortilla chips.