Review by Doh Driver
When moving from a meat-inclusive diet to a vegetarian or vegan diet, everyone seems to end up with Boca Burgers in the freezer, with good reason. They seem to nicely fill that "burger" hole in the American food tradition. Bocas are found in many large grocery chains (and can be ordered in restaurants such as Denny's), and are easy and satisfying. The taste--depending on the chosen flavor--ranges from good to quite yummy. Personally, I've gotten lazy: I just fry a patty, top it with salsa, and chow down. I like mine a bit crispy on the edges, what can I say? Frying isn't the best way to prepare them if you're trying to reduce the fat in your diet, but Bocas can be a bit dry when heated by other methods (such as microwaving). Certainly, grilling is a tasty way to prepare them, too, and if your meat-eating friends invite you over for a cookout, few foods can be thrown on the grill as handily. They can be versatile, limited by your imagination (or more likely, by what's in your refrigerator). They lend themselves to the "classic" take on the burger, but also do well (especially the roasted onion variety) with taco seasoning, crumbled into a shell. They also have the right texture to support a vegan gravy.
If you are looking for a "burger" that tastes like meat, you won't find it in a Boca. The flavors are smoky or savory, but not meaty. Bocas are more chewy than a meat burger. However, if you're looking for something that is round and flat, and can be put on a bun and topped with ketchup, lettce and tomatoes, then Bocas fit the bill. Kids seem to take to them quickly, although I wouldn't count on Bocas to try to convert a picky eater or a doubting teenager (or adult).
Unless you're inclined to make your own veggie patties from scratch, Boca Burgers can be a very convenient way to get a healthy burger into your or your loved ones' diets.
P.S. I must warn you, dear Reader, that Boca Burger is a subsidiary of Kraft. Kraft is stubborn in its use of genetically-engineered (GE) foods, and only some Bocas are certified organic and therefore are not genetically modified (typically, the ones sold in health food stores, not major grocery stores). So it will be left to you to read the label and decide whether or not you want your dollars to go to Kraft and GE foods. Also, many Boca products contain cheese, milk, or egg, so if you're vegan, check this list (taken from the Boca website):
- Original Vegan Boca Burgers *
- Roasted Onion (naturally flavored) Boca Burger
- Vegan Boca Burger (made with organic soy)
- Boca Ground Burger *
- Boca Meatless Ground Burger (made with natural ingredients)
The items I starred are, one can assume from Kraft's distinctions, not free of genetic tampering.