These Protein Mixes Transform Any Veggie Into a Complete Meal

Make plant-based burgers, burritos, and Bolognese sauce with Down to Cook's Adda Veggie mixes, and you're guaranteed to please any eater.

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Photo: Down to Cook Foods

I'll admit, the latest faux meat products to hit grocery store shelves can be incredibly valuable, especially for folks who want to cut back on their animal-product consumption without drastically overhauling their diet. But as a vegetarian who adopted the eating style specifically to amp up my intakeof fruits, veggies, and beans — as well as to reduce my environmental footprint — the idea of tricking myself into thinking I wasn't eating plants with realistic meatless burgers didn't sit right.

So, for years, I combined quinoa, black beans, sweet potatoes, herbs, and spices and pressed them into homemade veggie burgers, brought MorningStar Farms' Spicy Black Bean frozen burgers (Buy It, $4, to cookouts, and passed on every faux beef product that claimed to look, taste, or feel like the very thing I wanted to avoid. My scratch-made and pre-packaged burgers satisfied my cravings just fine, but the amount of effort required to concoct the former and the thin, hockey puck shape of the latter wasn't always appealing. However, once I tried Down to Cook's Adda Veggie Protein Mixes (Buy It, $35 for 5,, I knew I had hit the veggie burger jackpot.

Adda Veggie Protein Mix in Original Blend

Buy It: Down to Cook Adda Veggie in Original Blend, $35 for 5,

Just as the name implies, the Adda Veggie mixes — which consist of pea protein, cornstarch, psyllium husk, cornmeal, spices, and herbs — are designed to deliver a tasty ground meat alternative in less than 10 minutes simply by adding your veg of choice. To go from box to burger, you soak the protein crumbles in half a cup of water for two minutes, stir in the included spice packet, fold in two cups of your fave chopped up veggie (i.e. riced broccoli or cauliflower, minced mushrooms, diced zucchini), and form into your desired shape. From there, you'll drop your patties into a hot, oiled pan (a cast iron works great here) and cook until crispy on the outside and hot on the inside. The result: A vegan patty that makes veggies the true star of the meal.

The half-scratch patties don't skimp on the nutrition front either. One patty made from two cups of broccoli, for example, and the savory Original Blend, which features oregano, parsley, and garlic and onion powders, boasts 12 grams of muscle-building protein and 4 grams of filling fiber. This burger also offers 2.5 milligrams of iron, a mineral that's used to make proteins in red blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body and to muscles. The body doesn't absorb the type of iron found in plant foods as efficiently as the type found in animal products, which is why the National Institutes of Health recommends vegetarians and vegans consume nearly twice as much iron (amounting to 32.4 milligrams per day for women) as omnivores. Though one patty provides just 8 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of iron for plant-based eaters, it'll help you get one step closer to meeting that quota. (

Megan Falk

Thanks to the binge-worthy flavors, you might end up eating more than one anyway. Seriously, the accompanying spice packet makes a burger composed of veggies a winner in any kind of eater's book. Exhibit A: Just last week, my meat-eating, broccoli-hating boyfriend and I whipped up a batch of burgers using the Original Blend and topped it with brioche buns, and fixings galore (think: tomatoes, cheese, mayo, and chipotle aioli). They were so good, he wolfed down three of the four burgers over the course of just two days.(Looking for other ways to cut back on your meat intake? Try one of these plant-based meal delivery services.)

And for the nights when you're just not in the mood for a sandwich, Down to Cook still has plenty of options to create your preferred dinner meal. The Herby Roasted Garlic flavor works well to create "meat" balls for a plate full of pasta; the Chipotle Adobo variety is ideal for stuffing in tacos and burritos; and the Indian Masala Blend pairs perfectly with cauliflower for crumbles atop a bowl of chana masala.

If you choose to use the Adda Veggie to create a handheld meal, know that the patties and balls will be a bit crumbly, so don't expect to polish off a burger or burrito without a chunk or two falling into your lap or needing to use multiple napkins. But considering the Adda Veggie mixes take all the stress out of creating a homemade, complete, plant-based meal, it's well worth a little mess.

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