Plant-based meat alternatives vary in quality

Restaurants expand vegetarian options


Sophia Curran-Moore

The “Impossible Breakfast Sandwich” at Starbucks contains cheese, an egg and a patty made from soy protein concentrate. Many restaurants in the Twin Cities are expanding their vegetarian options.

Sophia Curran-Moore

Going out to eat as a vegetarian can be complicated. Especially at fast-food restaurants, finding tasty vegetarian options is often tricky. Luckily, many restaurants are expanding their vegetarian offerings beyond just a salad. I reviewed four meatless meals offered in the Twin Cities and discovered some are definitely better than others.

Starbucks “Impossible Breakfast Sandwich:” ★★★★★

This breakfast was a great way to start my day for a very reasonable price. I was relieved the sandwich was warmed all the way through — not cold in the middle. The texture of the soy-based patty was practically identical to real sausage. The egg was pleasingly fluffy. Although the bread was a bit bland, the melted cheese and seasoning inside the sandwich added the perfect kick of flavor. I would recommend this mouthwatering morning meal to both meat-eaters and vegetarians.

The “Veggie Whack A Mole Burger Basket” is pictured. Can Can Wonderland offers many plant-based meat options, such as veggie burgers, veggie hot dogs, and veggie imitation chicken tenders. (Sophia Curran-Moore)

Can Can Wonderland “Veggie Whack A Mole Burger Basket:” ★★★★☆

When I visited Can Can Wonderland, an entertainment facility in St. Paul, I was impressed that an entire section of the menu is dedicated to vegetarian entrees. I ordered the veggie burger basket, which includes a meatless burger, crinkle-cut fries, and a sauce. The fries and ketchup were scrumptious. The burger had a very fluffy, delicious bun. The veggie patty tasted like a real burger, but it was too rare for my taste. The cheese and pico de gallo provided good flavor, but the guacamole flavor was underwhelming. The guacamole was what drove me to select this meal, so I was a bit disappointed. The food was good, but not good enough to justify another trip to St. Paul.

The “Veggie Sandwish” from Five Guys contains onions, mushrooms, green peppers, lettuce and tomato. Other toppings can be added by request. (Sophia Curran-Moore)

Five Guys “Veggie Sandwich:” ★☆☆☆☆

When I went to Five Guys with my friends, I was thrilled to have a vegetarian option — until I tasted it. The veggie sandwich was unbearably greasy. A mountain of napkins accumulated on my table in a useless attempt to sop up the grease on my hands and face. The bell peppers were uncooked, adding a weird crunchy texture that didn’t complement the sandwich. There was a general lack of flavor. The onions, which I hoped would add a crisp sourness, were disappointingly mild. The more bites I took, the more the sandwich literally fell apart. Mushrooms and vegetables fell out of the bun and made a mess. Eating this sandwich was an unpleasant experience.