When fast-food chains like Burger King begin making plant-based burgers you know that the vegan/vegetarian craze is, well, no longer a craze!

This week Burger King announced the roll-out of its Impossible Whopper across all of its outlets in the USA, with its UK introduction now expected to follow shortly.

It features a savoury flame-grilled patty made from plants topped with tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, and sliced white onions on a soft sesame seed bun. So basically, it’s like the normal whopper, just without any meat.

Plant-based burgers

Other burger joints in the US, such as Carl’s JR, have already had success with their plant-based burgers and only McDonalds have yet to jump on the bandwagon, although we won’t be surprised to see a plant-based Big Mac being launched very soon.

Just a few years ago, a day like National Burger Day would have been all about celebrating everything that is good about meat, but the times, they are a changing, and that’s a good thing.

The growth in meat substitutes is coming from flexitarians, a group of omnivores looking to cut down on their meat consumption. According to data from the NPD Group, 95% of plant-based burger buyers have also bought a beef burger within the last year.

It’s not just burgers either. Again, in the US, you can now go into Subway and order their classic meatball marina, but now a plant-based version made with marinara sauce, and provolone cheese. And in Dunkin Donuts stores in Manhattan, the Beyond Sausage (a plant-based brand) Breakfast Sandwich has been a success and is set for a national rollout.

An exciting time to be in the kitchen

And in the UK, we have already seen Greggs’ collaboration with Quorn on their vegan sausage roll and KFC also partnering with the meat substitute brand to launch a vegan chicken fillet burger, both of which have experienced great sales.

From a chef’s point of view, it’s always great to experiment with new ingredients and flavours so with plant-based foods now taking off in a big way, it’s an exciting time to be in the kitchen.

Here’s my plant-based burger to mark National Burger Day.

Plant based Beetroot, Quinoa and chickpea burger with kale, red pepper tomato and chilli jam and polenta fries

Ingredients (burger):

  • 200g cooked beetroot diced
  • 200g chickpeas
  • 120g cooked quinoa
  • 100g shredded blanched kale
  • Salt to taste
  • 65g breadcrumbs
  • 65g gram flour
  • 35ml lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 15ml red wine vinegar
  • 10ml beetroot extract
  • 100g diced white onions
  • Large handful of chopped coriander
  • Large handful of chopped parsley


  • Place all ingredients in a mixer and mix until well incorporated. Form into 90gram burgers then either deep fry for 3-4 min or 12 min in a 180-degree oven.

Ingredients (jam):

  • 200g diced roasted red peppers
  • 100g white sugar
  • 100ml white wine vinegar
  • 12g milled red chilli
  • 150g diced tomato
  • 2 tsp cornflour mixed with approx. 4 tsp water


  • Place everything in saucepan and bring to simmer and cook until reduced by ½ and then thicken with some of the cornflour paste.

Ingredients (Polenta fries with vegan cheese)

  • 150g polenta (plus extra for coating)
  • 450ml water
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 20g parsley
  • 100g vegan cheese
  • Salt to taste


  • Boil the water in a pan and then ‘rain’ in the polenta. Add the cheese, parsley, oil and salt and cook for approx. 6-10 mins. When the mixture is thick pour onto oiled tray and place allow to cool down.
  • Once cooled slice into sticks and then roll in polenta and deep-fry till crisp

Serve in a fresh brioche bun.

John Connell
About John Connell
Development & Innovations Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.