I decided to try the 100% Vegan Impossible “Meatless Meat” at Qdoba yesterday. Thought I would do a traditional taco (NOT Vegan) but use the Impossible filling rather than meat and assess the difference in taste and texture.
First off, what is the Impossible Meat Substitute, What’s in it and how is it made? Impossible Foods uses genetic engineering to make ingredients that are essential to the taste and texture of its plant-based meat substitute: soy leghemoglobin (also known as heme) and soy protein. Soy protein replaced wheat protein as the main base for Impossible’s second recipe, while soy leghemoglobin is responsible for making the patty taste like meat.
According to its website, the five main ingredients include: water, soy-protein concentrate, coconut oil, sunflower oil and natural flavors. If you get a 4 oz Impossible hamburger patty: The Burger is kosher and halal certified but not organic. A 4 ounce patty packs 240 calories, 14 grams of fat, 370 milligrams of sodium, and 19 grams of protein.
So, it does qualify as “Vegan.” But many Vegan advocates have gone much further in recent years, promoting a “whole food, plant-based” regimen that limits oil, does not use sugar (or honey or agave), does not eat flour and avoids processed foods, especially the highly processed foods. (If course animal products of all kinds are also avoided including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and cheese). My sweet wife has followed this eating regimen for nearly two years and looks and feels great. I enjoy much of what she prepares, but I am weak…I still want meat and cheese and bread, for instance.
That said, a WFPB advocate would not even consider this Impossible creation as it is highly processed, genetically engineered and loaded with fat, even if its vegetable fat.
But me, I tried it. And it tastes pretty good. It is not spot on like meat, but it’s close. If I was blindfold tested, I could certainly tell the difference. Impossible spent a great deal of effort to make it taste like hamburger — and it’s close. But not so close in texture as it is much chewier. Sadly, Qdoba didn’t add any taco flavoring so it was also a tad bland.
The big difference is price. A regular meat-filled taco at Qdoba is $3.50. An Impossible Taco is $4.25. Is it worth the difference? For taste, no. But Vegans and others may argue that it is if you are trying to save the animals killed for meat. It may also be better for the environment on a number of levels.
I enjoyed my tacos, even with the Impossible filling. But was it because I added cheese? Nah…it was good.
Bottom line, if you don’t mind spending a little extra money for a soy-based meat substitute that is likely more healthy and certainly better on the environment, than go for it. It tastes pretty close. I give it a 4 out 5…dinging it on the slight texture difference.