ETW: Smashburger (Spoiler: appropriate for Vegetarians, not Vegans)

Call me gross if you will, but pre-vegan life I enjoyed a good hamburger, I’m not talking McDonalds or some other processed crapburger. Smashburger WAS my favorite burger joint. I usually ordered from the kids menu because their burgers are massive. 

My husband eats out A LOT for work and is always dining with clients. Imagine my glee when he told me Smashburger had a vegan black bean burger that he customized with grilled onions and avocado (indeed, google searches say there is such a thing). It was starting to sound like the stuff vegan dreams are made of.

We went out for a family dinner a few weeks ago and had a round of said black bean burgers sans mayo and cheese and topped with bbq sauce, spicy mustard, grilled onions and avocado. These veggie burgers are not the kind of pre-formed frozen patty lameness that you usually find at restaurants, they are handmade and smashed to spicy delightful goodness.  Literally THE BEST VEGGIE BURGER I EVER ATE.

I could only finish half of the bean burger and think if I were to go back (which I’m not) I would have shared the entree with a member of my family. We also had smash fries, and flash fried asparagus and carrots (hey, we were feeling glutinous). Man it was all soooo good.

At the end of our too good to be true visit I talked to a member of the staff about what goes into the Black Bean Smashburger (insert horror here) yes, they are handmade, yes they are insanely delicious, but they use eggs as a binder. More google research shows they may or may not also have cheese in the burger…. Something that I specifically questioned staff about and they denied. A further perusal of Smashburger’s website shows that all of their buns include either eggs or milk. :(

Notice: this is all my fault for not knowing these things to begin with and not the company’s fault. Had I gone online and researched their allergy page and their nutritional information (cholesterol listed for this item, dead giveaway), I would have been informed. Yes, this is a lesson to me to research, research and research some more before dining out. However, I will note the menu does not tell you whether the black bean burger is vegetarian, vegan or anything else for that matter. It simply states it’s a black bean burger.

I know, I can hear you all telling me now, “What did you expect?” I expected the stuff that dreamy black bean burgers COULD be made of.

A plea to Smashburger: have you heard of flax eggs? They actually work! Also, a hamburger bun that is egg & milk free would be nice. And how on earth does a black bean burger have 640 calories and 33 grams of fat???

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22 thoughts on “ETW: Smashburger (Spoiler: appropriate for Vegetarians, not Vegans)

    • Yup ;)

      I think of my home as a salad bar (giant salads and green smoothies all day long) So when I eat out I like to try something with more substance. I’ve had a fair bit of success finding good vegan eats here in Utah. I read about subway’s menu change! Crazy! I hope that restaurants start to realize that vegans want to have options too and that vegan food can be just as delicious as carnivore food!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  1. Ugh! How frustrating! And 640 calories?!?! What all goes on with that black bean burger? I would have been equally as horrified as you. :-(

    • It’s probably due in part to its massive size. It’s a good thing I only ate half! That must also be stats with mayo and cheese included….

      ALL of my vegan faux pas have occurred while dining out. Sheez. You think I would learn my lesson.

  2. I’m not a vegan, and I’m sometimes not even vegetarian, but there is one thing I am really pedantic about – food should be what it says it is. If it’s called vegan, it should be vegan. If it’s labelled organic, or gluten-free, or made in Happyville, then the label should reflect the product. If it’s got MSG it should say that it does! It’s sad that people can’t honour that – I put it down to ignorance, but I’m hopeful that over time, and with the pressure of caring consumers it can change.

    That burger did sound good though…

    • I have to give smashburger credit there. It was my husband who told me it was vegan, he just thought it must be because, hey, it’s a black bean burger ;). The menu does not say it’s vegan, but yes I would like a push nationwide (or worldwide) for that matter for the labeling of food on menus so that consumers can make better informed choices. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

      • It sure would. Honesty in food production? A dream come true!

        Kudos to smashburger though for creating tasty almost vegan offerings. So many places do vegetarian or vegan as an afterthought.

      • Yes, kudos to them! They had vegetarian customers that wanted an option and they listened. Such a tasty option too!!!

    • Go have a black bean burger if you are ok with egg and cheese. It is AMAZING- with BBQ sauce, grilled mushrooms and onions, avocado…. Darn you smashburger for dangling something so lovely in front of our faces, please make it vegan! SO GOOD.

  3. Pingback: ETW: Smashburger (Spoiler: appropriate for Vegetarians, not Vegans): Vege Bun ~ Vege Food on Vege Bun, Vegetarian Bun, Veggie Bun, Vegan Bun, Vege Life Products, Vege Baking Buns, Vege Pastry Buns

    • Totally my fault! In an idyllic world everything would be labeled and easy to identify on menus. Must do more research before dining out is what I have learned across the board ;) For example, subway’s wheat sandwich bread isn’t vegan, but their white italian bread is?!? Weird.

  4. It’s surely the stuff of dreams that a delicious vegan burger should be readily available, they are usually tasteless lumps of sawdust (although probably better in the US than in the UK – we’re always behind!)….

    I bet you could use the recipe and turn out an even tastier vegan version…

    • Yes, determined! There is a link somewhere in the comments on this post with the actual recipe. Totally going to tinker with it! You ought to give it a go as well! Smashing ;)

  5. Pingback: Spicy Bean Burgers | lucysfriendlyfoods

    • LUCY! you are so sweet! I can’t believe you beat me to the chase, your burgers look amazing! Now I don’t even need to tinker around in my kitchen, I can just use your amazing recipe. XOXO.

  6. I contacted SmashBurger for myself to see what was in these “fabulous tasting burgers”. I knew it was too good to be true! This is their response:
    Thank you for contacting Smashburger. The ingredients of the black bean patty are:

    Black Bean Patty
    Black Beans (water, black beans, less than 2% of: onion powder, salt, garlic powder, & ferrous gluconate), Croutons (enriched flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], canola oil, whey, salt yeast, 2% or less of high fructose corn syrup, natural & artificial flavor, garlic powder, parsley, parmesan cheese & enzyme modified cheese [pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes], calcium propionate [preservative], calcium peroxide, calcium sulfate, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, sodium stearoyl lactylate, wheat gluten, cultured nonfat milk, extractives of turmeric & paprika [color], annatto [color], citric acid, tbhq [preservative]), Tortilla Chips (whole grain corn, water, vegetable oil [contains one or more of the following: cottonseed oil, corn oil, palm oil], contain 2% or less of: salt, lime, artificial coloring [dextrose, fd&c red #40, fd&c blue #1, fd&c yellow #5, fd&c yellow #6] sodium benzoate), Whole Eggs (whole eggs, citric acid), Hot Sauce (water, peppers [arbol & piquin], salt, vinegar, spices, xanthan gum), Cheddar Cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, annatto coloring, cellulose), Onions, Spices, Jalapenos, Cilantro.
    I hope this is helpful.

    Regards,
    Eric Marcoux
    Quality Assurance Director
    smashburger®
    1515 Arapahoe St.
    Tower 1, 10th Floor
    Denver, CO 80202
    O: 303.633.1537
    emarcoux@smashburger.com

    • Thank you. But now I’m kind of grossed out by the ingredient list and feel better knowing I won’t be eating them. Sometimes I like Pollan’s rules. Pick one of the many and it probably applies here. I’m pretty sure I can’t pronounce half of those.

      • I think there’s a video link somewhere in the comments of the smashburger guys making the burger, the way they make them doesn’t look that scary (other than I don’t want the eggs or cheese. I’m guessing more than half of those crazy ingredients are in the croutons they use.

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