Vegan Minefield


Not long ago I purchased the latest VegNews Magazine (August 2013 issue) and since my friend Mark was coming over for dinner I decided that it was time to test out one of their latest recipes. The front cover titled, “The Best Burgers” made my mouth salivate and so I decided it was time to try out a new burger recipe. I ran the idea by Mark and he thought it was a great idea! He’s been a vegan for seven years and is an excellent cook and baker, so we were going to collaborate on this new burger venture. He’d pick up half the ingredients and I the other half. I had picked out the Mexicali burger, which is on the front cover and page 64 in the magazine. There were a lot of ingredients, plus we also wanted to make the Pepper Jack Sauce and the Mango Mayonnaise to go with it.

IMG_0347Here’s the “issue”! 

Things started out all right. We had each gathered all the necessary ingredients for this long and somewhat complex recipe. Hey, we figured, since we both are quite capable of holding our own in the kitchen that this would be a recipe that we could easily tackle! We started at 4:45 pm getting all the ingredients chopped and laid out. This is what it looked like when we were almost done….several hours later!

IMG_0344After a couple of hours of chopping…

Thankfully, there was wine and Mark had prepared two loaves of bread to be baked, so we were by no means starving. However, the hours came and went with this recipe, which probably cost us a total of $60.- for all the ingredients! At one point Mark said to me, “You’re one of the most capable women I know in the kitchen.” He went on to say, “I have done hard core recipes that have multi-recipes within them, but this one is completely off the chart! If you don’t have a life you might need to sacrifice about 12 hours for this recipe.” I could only agree with Mark. Further, it makes me cringe to think that a beginning vegan would pick up this magazine, see this recipe and want to try it out only to get so discouraged to never want to go vegan in the first place. Well, on with the recipe. This is what the burgers looked like before they were put in the oven. Let me tell you, just to clarify, even though we had wine, we followed this recipe to a “T” with the exception that we decided to make six burgers instead of just four because there was so much batter.

IMG_0345Burgers needed to bake for 30 minutes…

The burgers needed to bake for 30 minutes the recipe said, but this turned into 45 minutes and yet, when they came out they were still soft and mushy after all that time. At this point it was 9:15 pm and now we were HUNGRY! We had been at it since 4:45…so four and a half hours! This recipe is not for the weary! Mark at this point said, “It’s a cruel recipe! A true Nazi recipe!” We envisioned the VegNews staff laughing their heads off at the suckers trying to make this recipe and failing miserably. Most readers probably go, “Oh, what a nice sounding recipe! It sure looks good!” and leave it at that. Mark continued firing off jokes saying, “You know, Nina, some people actually give birth in the time it took to make these burgers!” We agreed that this recipe was more painful to make than both of our combined major surgeries!

laughing-biz-peepsOur imagined VegNews Staff laughing at us!

This recipe, with all it’s ingredients, seriously reminds me of a second grade student who is given the writing task of coming up with an imaginary recipe. The teacher tells the student, “Write down what you think will sound good to your audience!” The kid gets slap happy with the dictionary and starts listing a bunch of ingredients that may or may not work! But who cares because it all sounds good! The reality is totally different. We also renamed this burger “The PTSD burger!” How it managed to get on the front cover of the magazine is followed by a huge question mark from both of us! It was seriously labor intensive! Here’s a photo of the final product:

IMG_0346Mexicali Burger…or The Worst Burger Recipe of 2013

We worked continuously on this project for four and a half hours. Mark and I are not unintelligent people and we are both quite capable in the kitchen . I teach cooking classes to people! Yet, like Mark pointed out, “We sucked at this recipe!” Mark also joked, “You’d need a team of four to overlook this project! This is just CRAZY!” Ultimately, this recipe was a train wreck!  The burgers came out tasting more like sloppy Joes than tasty burgers! Trust me, we’ve both had better and for much less money. Further, we pondered the vegan restaurants that we had passed during the day, where we could have eaten for much less than what we had spent on this recipe and where the chefs would be home with their families in the time that it took to make this disastrous recipe!


Seriously, VegNews Magazine Staff, do you test these burgers out before they go public? It looked amazing on the cover, but…I rest my case! Never again! I think you just may have lost a reader or two! This was a vegan burger disaster that is guaranteed to blow up in your face if you try it out! If however your experience with this recipe has been different than described, we would both love to hear about it! If you want to attempt it after reading this, we hope you have at least six hours available, two assistants, and are wearing bomb squad suits! Remember to have plenty of snacks on hand. Wine and a sense of humor will be helpful as well! Perhaps a better title for this issue should have been, “The Most Complicated and Labor Intensive Burgers of 2013!”

About urbanveganchic

I'm an urban chic woman, who is passionate about educating others about the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based vegan diet, cancer prevention & survival, as well as art & life. I love adventures and travel. As an artist and a teacher, I care deeply about healthy living, being a conscious steward of our planet, and being kind & respectful towards animals. Learning about a vegan plant-based diet has been like discovering a new country and falling in love with it, so if I sound like I'm enamored you now know why! As a world traveler, I truly wish I had discovered this beautiful new country twenty years ago! Better late than never, as they say, cause there's no going back now! Born and raised in Scandinavia. Proud owner of a tripod cat & a foxy little pup. Speak four languages...some better than others. Working on the fifth one. We are all either part of the problem or the solution! Health & Happiness to you! ~UrbanVeganChic

4 responses »

  1. I love burgers so i’m always ready to tackle a new vegan recipe but i’m glad you found this one before I did! Wow, what a project but at least you had a good story for your blog…can’t believe all of those ingredients only made a few burgers… This is your chance to submit a delicious, easy, quick burger recipe to that magazine & get published! 🌴

    • Helene, I know! We both love veg burgers too, but this was seriously wrong! However, the Pepper Jack Sauce and the Mango Mayo were delish! We ended up, because we were so exhausted, just throwing the ingredients together for those two side ingredients at the end. The new title for that is now “Mango Pepper Jack Mayo Sauce”.

  2. Oh wow, I am so glad I googled this recipe and found your review before I made it! I was planning to make it for dinner tonight, but not now! Maybe I’ll tryChef Chloe’s Mexicali burger instead, it got pretty good reviews!

    • Hi Lisa,
      Glad you checked first and that we could be of help! It’s quite unfortunate because we had looked so much forward to these burgers and had obviously put in a lot of time, effort and money into making it a success! I had even hoped to write a great review about it! This is my first negative one. I happen to really like VegNews, but this recipe was just plain cruel. Vocabulary words that Mark and I came up with for it were: improbable, confusing, difficult and contradictory.

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