I’m a beef eater, but after cooking three beef recipes with Impossible ‘meat’ I’m a convert for life

I decided to make three of my favorite ground beef recipes using Impossible burger grounds.

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I decided to make three of my favorite ground beef recipes using Impossible burger grounds.
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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

  • The Impossible Burger is quietly rolling out in grocery stores across the nation.
  • It’s sold raw and in 12-oz packages and costs $8.99 in Los Angeles and New York.
  • Impossible Foods sent me a sample of its Impossible Burger product to try ahead of its New York grocery release.
  • I cooked three meals with it: meat sauce and pasta, Moroccan kefta tagine, and a classic cheeseburger. I found that the Impossible Burger was a near-perfect substitute for ground beef in pretty much every recipe.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

This is going to change your life. It’s changed mine.

I haven’t been this excited about a grocery product since I found out about lactose-free milk. Impossible Burger grounds are coming to grocery stores around the country, which means that average Janes and Joes like me and you can now cook the famous plant-based “meat” from the comfort of our own kitchens.

Impossible Foods sent me a 12-oz package of Impossible Burger grounds to try as it was not yet available in grocery stores in New York.

Read more: The Impossible Burger is hitting grocery store shelves in a direct play for Beyond Meat’s retail turf

I decided to make three of my favorite ground beef recipes using Impossible grounds: simple meat sauce, Moroccan kefta tagine, and, of course, a good old fashioned cheeseburger.

Here’s what my culinary experiment was like:


Impossible Burger grounds come in standard packaging for a 12-oz package of ground beef. It looked so much like the real stuff that it was hard to believe it wasn’t.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The Impossible burger looked pretty much like ground beef. There were slight differences — the grain was finer and there wasn’t the sheen of animal fat. But if I didn’t already know that this wasn’t beef, I wouldn’t have guessed that it wasn’t.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

First, I wanted to test how the grounds cooked on their own. My recipe: simple meat sauce. I was so excited about how well the Impossible grounds were browning that I forgot to take pictures of the process. The “meat” browned on the bottom as soon as it hit the pan, and continued to brown at the rate that beef does. It shrank, stiffened, and rendered fat — again, just like ground beef does.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The smell, however, was noticeably different from the smell of beef cooking. It was slightly nutty, very sour, and missing an animal flavor. The Impossible grounds also absorbed more tomato sauce than the ground beef I’ve used in the past.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

However, once everything was put together, the meat sauce looked remarkably real. Even though I was worried the Impossible grounds might absorb too much moisture, the consistency of the sauce ended up being perfect.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

If I hadn’t personally cooked this meal, I wouldn’t have known just by looking that there wasn’t beef in it.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It tasted, too, like normal meat sauce and pasta. Perhaps it was missing that extra dose of pungent flavor that comes only from animal fat, but I didn’t really notice this unless I was looking for it. As I happily plowed through this meal, I found myself wondering if Impossible Foods hadn’t actually just sent me a package of ground beef.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Next, I wanted to test how the Impossible grounds would fare in meatball form. The challenge: Moroccan kefta tagine.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Impossible CFO David Lee told me that you can use Impossible grounds just like you’d use ground beef. So I made my kefta meatballs the way I usually would.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

In the meatballs: diced onion, chopped parsley, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and a heaping dose of cumin.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The Impossible “meat” molded just like beef. It had the same bounce, softness, and texture, and I didn’t have to change a thing about the way I usually make meatballs for this recipe.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The only minute difference was that the “meat” was slightly less sticky. When I washed my hands, the grease slid right off. When I wash my hands after touching ground beef, the grease takes multiple pumps of dish soap to get off — an aspect of handling beef I’m not sure I missed.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Again, the “meat” browned right as it hit the pan. And again, it cooked exactly at the speed at which ground beef cooks. It browned like beef browns. It stiffened as beef stiffens. It released fat like beef releases fat.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

If it wasn’t for that telltale sour, nutty smell, I wouldn’t have known that the meatballs in the pan were not made from beef.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Once they were browned, I plopped them into the tagine, where the tomato sauce base had been simmering all along.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I learned this kefta tagine recipe when I was living in Morocco and have tweaked it over the course of several years. My current recipe is designed to feature the flavor of the meatballs.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I let them simmer in the sauce for another five minutes before adding an egg on top.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The final product looked like the real thing. Tagines are meant to be eaten with by hand with bread, so I tore a piece from a roll and dug in.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The absence of beef was more noticeable in this dish than in the last one, because a kefta tagine relies heavily on the beef to give the sauce that extra dose of flavor. It was just that little something extra that was missing.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It was like eating a slightly blander beef. But I’ve had worse beef. Again, I wouldn’t have known that this wasn’t beef if I hadn’t cooked it myself.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Last up was the burger.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

At this point, my Impossible “meat” had spent three days sitting in my fridge in a sealed reusable bag. It was starting to smell a little more sour. However, it wasn’t turning grey like ground beef often does after a while in the fridge.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I made the patty like I would with normal ground beef. I added generous salt and pepper.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Then, I molded the Impossible grounds into a puck with an indent in the middle. An indent in the center of beef burgers helps ensure that the patty cooks evenly and maintains its shape.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I’d accidentally set the heat too low, so the burger didn’t hit the pan with a sizzle as I’d wanted. Instead, it sat for a minute in a tablespoon of canola oil.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Eventually, though, the oil, pan, and burger all heated up. The “meat” started to sizzle and brown and even leaked grease as a beef burger would.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I can’t believe it’s not beef!

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It browned like beef until I left it on the heat a LITTLE too long. Then, the burger acquired a distinctly non-beef crispy crust.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

This burger crisped where a beef burger would have charred. I was starting to notice a pattern: Impossible grounds crisp more easily than ground beef does.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

However, at the end of the day, it pretty much looked like any old burger. Especially with a slice of cheese melted over it.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I put the burger on a bun and topped it with lettuce, tomato, and onion, then more lettuce. Maybe a little too much lettuce. Oh well. I squirted a bit of sauce on top to glue it all together.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Again, it was easy to forget that I wasn’t eating beef. This tasted just like any old burger.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

There was even a bit of pink inside — just how I like my beef burgers. Impossible was created to live in burger form, and it’s in burger form where Impossible truly shines.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Throughout every stage of the cooking and eating process, the Impossible burger mimicked the texture and flavor of ground beef closely enough that it was hard to tell the difference. It’s pretty much the perfect substitute for ground beef in any recipe, and it’s what I’ll be using instead of ground beef from now on.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider