It’s been a little over two years since Impossible Foods first premiered their iconic, bleeding, meaty, plant-based burger. Since then, it’s gone from an exclusive item reserved for top-tiered restaurants to a commodity sought by local diners, burger chains, vegan pop-ups, and every place in between. Before the Impossible Burger, little did most vegans know that people are willing to eat plant-based food if it looks, tastes, and cooks just like meat. That may seem like a no-brainer now, but meat-eaters shouldn’t be so easily dismissed for being hesitant to convert to soybeans, seitan, and black bean patties, since meat is vital to age-old recipes, traditions, and community celebrations. Impossible Foods recognized this cultural significance, combined it with our imminent need for sustainable food, and set out on their mission to create an amazing plant-based burger patty that is the Impossible Burger.
Fast forward two and a half years since Impossible Foods burst onto the scene and we see omnivores, restaurateurs, and vegans coming together over America’s favorite hand-held meal. Then recently, we get news that they’re changing their formula and creating an Impossible Burger 2.0, which makes us wonder—why tinker with a universally loved recipe?
As it turns out, if we were allowed to cook the original Impossible Burger on our home grill, we might know why. While the first rendition blew us away, it had its pitfalls: “it’s too soft,” “it can only be cooked on a flat-top a grill,” and “there’s gluten in there?!”—because making a plant-based burger that bleeds isn’t innovative enough, it needs to be devoid of wheat too. Those types of reviews were the forces behind crafting the Impossible Burger 2.0, with improvements made to texture, sturdiness, chewiness, gluten content, and more being made. This new burger’s achieved the same culinary diversity as real ground beef by creating a more cohesive patty, allowing it to be cooked over open-grate grills as well as flat top griddles, ovens, and more. Impossible Foods also made improvements to texture and flavor, making it chewier and deeper in umami flavor. Oh yeah, and it’s now completely gluten-free!
But is it really as good as it sounds? Well, the only way to find out was to try it ourselves. So we paid a visit to Monty’s Good Burger, where classic American (vegan) cheeseburgers satisfy savory cravings like no other. We order the Double, which comes with melty Follow Your Heart cheese, grilled onions, mild pickles, House Spread, juicy tomato, crisp lettuce, and two salty Impossible 2.0 patties in between soft potato buns. Once the burger’s in our hands, we resist the urge to bite right into it all, and instead pick out a piece of the Impossible patty to examine it on its own. At first, its flavor seems identical to the first one, but as we continue to chew, we discover more depth than the previous patty, which lends to a beefier, more-umami sensation. And speaking of chew, this burger provides a meatier mouth-feel then the the original, which was more tender and soft. After analyzing the patty, we went ahead and dove into the full sandwich, which is where the new patty shines brightest. Among sauces, veggies, and buns, the 2.0 patty still holds its own, remaining chewy, deep, and salty throughout the bite instead of fading away after a couple seconds. It definitely is as good as Impossible Foods made it out to be.
By mid-March, the 2.0 will replace its predecessor at every restaurant it’s currently sold. Many establishments are already carrying it, including local spots like Monty’s, Beelman’s, Crossroads, and Umami Burger. Although we thought the first rendition was spot-on to a real beef patty, number two is its identical twin. Admittedly, we should’ve expected such perplexing feats from a company called Impossible Foods, but their creations continue to surprise us, and if they found a way to level-up their breakthrough recipe once, we can’t wait to see what they have in-store next. Until then, we’ll happily indulge in this science’s latest and tastiest invention.