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    These $5 Trader Joe's Plant-Based Burgers Are Going To Change The Meatless Game

    They're packed with protein, totally vegan, and taste seriously similar to real meat.

    Even if you've never tried Beyond Meat or the Impossible Burger's plant-based patties, chances are you've heard about these vegan meat alternatives than even carnivores are falling for.

    Beyond Meat via Instagram / Via Instagram: @https://www.instagram.com/beyondmeat/?hl=en, Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed / Via tasty.co

    I for one, have been a huge fan of Beyond Meat ever since I first tried the burgers. You can read a full review of them here.

    So this morning when I was doing my weekly grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, I was stunned when I spotted plant-based protein patties on the shelf in the refrigerator section.

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    The vegan burgers must have been brand-new because a) I spend too much time at Trader Joe's to have never seen them before, and b) they didn't even have a price tag next to them yet.

    Upon checking out, I learned a pack of two patties is sold for $4.49, which is cheaper than Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger.

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    While stores like Target and Walmart now sell Beyond Meat for around $6, I've paid as much as $10 for two Beyond Meat patties at grocery stores around New York City. The Impossible Burger, which is more commonly found at restaurants, is starting to hit grocery shelves, but at a price of $9 for two patties.

    My first impression was that the protein patties look a whole lot like raw meat.

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    I followed the package directions and cooked them on the stove over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Whereas the Beyond Meat patties begin to brown as they cooked, the Trader Joe's version doesn't look as similar to real meat.

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    In fact, even when the patties were cooked through, they still resembled raw meat, which some people might find unappetizing. But I just reminded myself that the red "raw" color is from the beets and fruit coloring used to make the patties.

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    Now for the important question: How does the Trader Joe's protein patty taste, and how does it stack up to the competition?

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    The texture of the Trader Joe's patty was very similar to real meat, but the taste wasn't quite as convincing as the Beyond Meat version. It tasted a bit smoky and didn't have that exact same fatty, umami taste you expect from a real burger.

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    That being said, I really enjoyed the T.J,'s protein patty. It's flavorful and satisfying to sink your teeth into. It tastes similar enough to meat that it's a great option for anyone trying to cut back on meat. It's also perfect for vegetarian/vegan eaters who are looking for a tasty plant-based source of protein. And at just $4.49 for two patties, they're super affordable.

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    In terms of ingredients, the Trader Joe's and Beyond Meat patties seem fairly similar. Both contain a blend of pea protein, sunflower oil for fat, and beets and fruit juice for color. The Trader Joe's patties seem to contain fewer ingredients than the Beyond Meat version. You can see the full Beyond Meat ingredient list here.

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    Both serving sizes are for one 113 gram patty. The Trader Joe's version is slightly more caloric: 290 calories instead of 250, and it also contains more fat: 20g opposed to 18g.

    TL;DR: If you're even curious about plant-based meat alternatives, these Trader Joe's protein patties are well worth a try. The raw-looking appearance might be a turn-off for some people, but if you can get past that, they're a tasty and satisfying meat alternative.

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed