Review of McDonald’s Spicy Vegetable Deluxe
What they say:
A spicy veggie patty with cool mayo, sweet chilli sauce, shredded lettuce, cucumber in a toasted sesame topped bun.
Calories: 412 kcal.
So, I thought I would be a pioneer and be the first to review a vegetarian option on your favourite burger review website. I decided that the McDonald’s Spicy Vegetable Deluxe would be my first (possibly last?) foray into the non-meat burger market.
“Not a burger” I’d normally say, but well, there is a massive segment of the population that don’t eat meat, so it’s high time we put a vegetable burger under the Burger Lad® microscope.
This order actually took quite a while – I am assuming it is not one of the biggest sellers and I’d imagine it needs to be made up when ordered. The “vegetable deluxe” is actually two burgers – spicy or original (which means not spicy). The spicy one, which I’ve chosen, includes cool mayo, lettuce, sweet chilli sauce and cucumber. No cheese, which is odd considering it’s also vegetarian.
Well, anyway the first one I got was built wrongly – I was given what was clearly an “original” with the red sauce and cucumber missing. So back it went and was replaced quibble-free.
In the process of discovering the wrong build I also had a chance to inspect that veg patty which requires a bit of discussion. It’s breaded and round and on the face of it, isn’t wildly different to look at than a McDonald’s chicken patty (which itself is more than OK). But the colour was odd – my first reaction was that it made me think of 1970s frozen fishcakes. Checking the ingredients list on their website, the majority of the spicy veggie patty consists of 30% chickpeas, 11% onion, 8% split peas and 7% potato.
The second build had the sweet chilli sauce and the cucumber that it’s supposed to have and generally looks much more impressive than the first one. Aesthetically I’d recommend the spicy over the original.
You might think that cucumber on a burger is strange, or there just to appease the vegetarian consumer. But it’s not uncommon to see it as a topping on McDonald’s (mainly Eastern European) burgers under the “Fresh” moniker.
Biting in, I got the sweet heat of that sauce which is likely to be the same sweet chilli sauce McDonald’s puts on the Sweet Chilli Chicken One wrap amongst other things. It was quite pleasant and largely untroubled by the mayo. Both of them kept this burger from drying out.
The bun seemed to be the standard toasted sesame topped one used on other menu items such as the Big Mac and did the job as expected.
Texture-wise, significant crunch was to be found in here, and it was fairly pleasant actually. Getting through that crunch to the main event didn’t really confirm what was in the patty’s ingredients list. Inside the crispy exterior was a soft mush of vegetables, fairly indistinguishable in this format but also very inoffensive.
As I got through it, I established two things – firstly I was pleasantly surprised, but secondly I was underwhelmed. Yes, both at the same time.
The reason for that latter feeling was simply that there was something lacking on the palate. The elephant in the room… or rather, the cow. But then that’s the carnivore in me talking. It would be interesting to see some sort of focus group data where actual non-meat eaters give their opinions on the rather limited vegetarian selection available at McDonald’s.
It turns out that not having meat in your burger tastes pretty much like not having meat in your burger. And while it’s maybe not the earth-shattering conclusion you might have hoped for, that’s as honest as it gets.
I have almost zero vegetable burger experience to serve as a yardstick, but I think if you are inclined to leave the meat for whatever reason, you won’t go wrong with this – it does the job adequately. It’s also something as a burger review website we’ll look to gain further insight on in the future, especially with more people adopting things in their lifestyle such as Meat Free Mondays.