Here’s What’s Really in an ‘Impossible’ Burger

There's one key ingredient you need to know about.

Vegetarians and people who try to eat less meat don’t have to suffer through another dry, boring veggie burger again. Impossible Foods, previously Impossible Burger, created a patty like no other that looks and tastes like a meaty burger—sans meat.

What’s in an Impossible Burger?

One of the main Impossible Burger ingredients that makes it look (and taste!) so much like real meat is heme. The Impossible website describes heme as a molecule found in every living plant and animal that people eat and crave. This iron-rich molecule is mostly in red meat, and it helps the Impossible Burger mimic the “bleeding juices” of real burgers.

Impossible uses the heme-containing protein from the roots of soy plants and inserts it into a genetically engineered yeast, according to the website. The yeast goes through fermentation to make lots of heme, similar to how the Belgians make beer. This process helps them cut back on greenhouse gasses and makes the whole process more environmentally friendly. (Psst! If this makes you think of washing down a burger with a beer and some fries, check out the secret ingredient that makes Five Guys fries so delicious.)

The Impossible Burger also includes textured wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein and vitamins. But keep in mind that the brand recently launched a new recipe in January 2019. And while the website shares where to find these updated burgers, it doesn’t list the exact ingredients.

All vegetarians need to know about these 30-minute dinner recipes.

Impossible burgersNati Harnik/AP/Shutterstock

Is the Impossible Burger healthy?

For the original recipe, one burger clocks in with 290 calories, 17 grams of fat, 27 grams of protein and 580 milligrams of sodium. The regular average burger patty made with 80/20 ground beef isn’t too different. There is a similar amount of calories, fat and protein, but a lot less sodium, per the USDA.

It’s important to remember, however, that restaurants don’t serve just a plain Impossible Burger patty. Although that probably tastes OK, restaurants typically jazz up Impossible Burgers with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and other toppings that add on more calories.

Next, check out these surprising foods that aren’t vegetarian.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest