I am the type of person who has always turned their nose up at veggie burgers. The idea of eating meat substitutes has always made me feel a little uncomfortable. I tried to like tofu a while back, but my lack of tofu cooking skills combined with my lack of desire to eat it means that the soy favorite just never really grew on me. People, friends mainly, often ask if I would ever go vegetarian. I am around quite a few people on a daily basis who are either full blown vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian, which means conversations about food and food ethics often arise.

I’ve always said that being a Celiac means that I cannot cut out any other food groups from my diet. As difficult as it is being gluten free and still enjoying the pleasures of a meal out or worry free cooking, I could not imagine what eating no meat and no gluten would be like…until yesterday.

I went to the local food co-op here in Davis, CA on Monday night to stock up on my weekly food supply and show a visitor some of Davis’s perks. The Food Co-op here is excellent for Celiacs and gluten intolerants. They carry an amazing selection of frozen and fresh gf items, even better than Whole Foods (which is usually hard to beat). I can never do all my grocery shopping there as I am not made of money and things can get seriously pricey very quickly, but I manage to buy gf crackers, frozen goodies, fresh loaves of bread, cheese, and veg without breaking the bank.

This particular Monday night, I was walking down the freezer aisle, trying to decide which gf doughnuts to buy (maple glazed or chocolate), when something caught my eye. It was a product made by Amy’s. Amy’s is not an entirely gluten free company, but they do make some delicious and easy gluten-free meal equivalents. For example, their lasagna I hear is delicious, but when I asked a friend to try their gf version as a comparison, she said the gf one was even better. It is extremely rare to find gluten-free alternatives that are better than the original, so I am not complaining!

Anyway, back to the freezer section of the Food Co-op.

Well, the Amy’s product that caught my eye were the Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free Sonoma Veggie Burgers. With a bright big banner across the front exclaiming NEW!, I went over and fished it out of the display case.The ingredients were simple: vegetables, quinoa, and walnuts, so I decided to buy it because I didn’t believe it could be any good. That’s right, I thought, this has to taste like nothing, because it is made from almost nothing. My skepticism drove me to adventure into this new realm of meatless burgerland.

I have to say, I think I am a veggie burger convert now. This Sonoma burger was delicious! Sure, I couldn’t see it as a beefy hamburger, but as the protein on my plate next to some grilled asparagus and a large butter lettuce salad, it was exactly what I wanted. I felt healthy and good after eating, not to mention it only took four minutes to cook in a pan, much faster than real meat.

I am not going vegetarian by any means, but it is nice to know that there are gf products out there that allow us to dip our feet into the world of meatless dining and still feel satisfied after a meal.