Oh, my! Who would’ve guessed three weeks ago that, after turning Vegan, I’d be eating at McDonalds’ again! McDonalds have been disparaged in the Vegan and Vegetarian communities for a long while as the largest purchasers of factory farmed beef in the world. Who would’ve ever guessed McDonalds would turn around and offer — in limited quantities — a beefless “burger” for those who choose to not eat meat? Well, they have, and I’m here to tell you about it.

The McDonalds McVeggie burger can be found in limited availability. In New York City, there are three or four McDonalds in Manhattan that offer the McVeggie. In locations that offer the McVeggie, you’ll find signs outside and large banners inside touting the McVeggie. There’s even a “McVeggie Extra Value Meal” that offers a large drink and large fries with the sandwich! The full-color McVeggie Extra Value Meal sign was professionally made and looked like all the other food images hanging behind the cashiers. The McVeggie is certainly not a scribbled-on after-thought and it appears to be a full member of the McDonalds family in these limited locations.

My wife and I today tripped into a McDonalds in Greenwich Village to get the low-down on the McVeggie. We were assured by the cashier that the McVeggie has no meat, dairy or eggs anywhere in its ingredients. We were even handed nutritional information which we’ll share with you here.

McVeggie Burger
Some Vegans have an aversion to eating anything that tastes like or resembles meat, but I don’t presently share that philosophy since I know the difference between eating a real cow and a soy imitation: I am avoiding the suffering animal, not the ping on my palette.

Was there a pang of regret entering McDonalds again? No. Did I feel I was supporting the continued slaughter of cows, pigs and chickens doomed in factory farms by handing over my hard earned cash to the “enemy” of Vegans worldwide? No. I vote with my money and by purchasing a couple of McVeggies (two guys in another line across from us also ordered McVeggies!), I am placing my support behind McDonalds’ belated (better late than never, eh?) attempt to offer a more ethical and healthy meal plan.

By buying a McVeggie I am fully supporting the Virgin Vegan vein McDonalds is exploring without condemning the entire corporation. Money speaks, after all, and if McDonalds sells enough McVeggies, we’ll have them available everywhere and that’s a wonderful thing, not a bad thing.

The McVeggie is served in a plain box and it looks, feels and tastes like a Quarter Pounder. The McVeggie comes on a special sesame seed bun with ketchup, chopped onions, shredded lettuce and a slice of a real tomato! The flavoring is unique and not overtly “meaty tasting.” The burger is chewy and thick with excellent “mouth feel” as it roams around your palette.

The McVeggie costs under three dollars and it tastes… well… simply delicious! I can’t imagine any regular Quarter Pounder eater ever claiming the McVeggie isn’t as delicious as anything on the regular McDonalds menu! The McVeggie is certainly the healthiest option McDonalds offers its patrons. The McVeggie soy patty is processed outside the restaurants and then microwaved on its own disposable plate so it won’t come in contact with anything the other patties touch during the sandwich preparation process.

Now here are the details behind what goes into the making of the McDonalds McVeggie:

Nutrition Facts
Each McVeggie “burger” patty is 3.2 ounces and only 200 calories. Total fat is 13g (Saturated Fat 2g, Polyunsaturated 7g, Monounsaturated 3.5g). Cholesterol is 0. Sodium is 410 mg. Total Carbohydrate = 11 g (Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars less than 1g). Protein is 12g. Calcium is 9% and Iron is 15%. Vitamins A & C? Zero.

Patty Ingredients
Water, Soy protein concentrate, Corn Oil, Soy protein isolate, Methylcellulose, Salt, Modified Cornstarch, Maltodextrin, Malt extract, Hydrolyzed wheat protein, Dried onion, Garlic powder, Black pepper, Spices, Natural smoke flavor, Beet powder, Autolyzed yeast extract, Corn syrup solids.

Bun
Wheat flour (bleached, malted barley flour, and enriched with thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, folic acid), water, high fructose corn syrup, vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated soybean oil), yeast. Contains less than 2 percent or less oat fiber, potato flakes, salt, calcium sulfate, ammonium chloride, ascorbic acid, corn flour, soy flour, silicon dioxide, fungal enzymes, calcium propionate (as a preservative), sesame seeds.

Ketchup
Tomato paste, water, high fructose corn syrup, distilled vinegar, sugar, salt, natural flavorings.

Other Pieces
One fresh tomato slice, shredded Lettuce and chopped onions.

French Fries
McDonalds French Fries have been fried in 100% vegetable oil since 1990 but, unfortunately, the fries are sprayed with a beef flavoring at the factory before they’re shipped to stores. That “beefifying” of the fries means McDonalds French Fries are NOT currently Vegan. Wendy’s and Burger King’s fries ARE Vegan.

Conclusion
The McDonalds McVeggie is a big winner because it tastes great and is low-fat and fiber-rich (compared to the rest of the McDonalds fare) while remaining cruelty free and Vegan friendly! Who says an Evil Empire can’t change for the universal good? If you want the McVeggie in your area, head into your local McDonalds and demand to have the McVeggie permanently placed on the menu since you now know it exists! I give the McDonalds McVeggie five out of five Go Inside Magazine Review Lights.

(all green)