The quinoa-bean burger at Start, with a slice of white cheddarEXPAND
The quinoa-bean burger at Start, with a slice of white cheddar
Nick Rallo

We Found a Unicorn: A Dallas Veggie Burger That's Better Than the Real Thing

It sounds impossible, but it’s real: Start, the healthy fast food and drive-thru alternative, has created a veggie burger that bests its own beef cheeseburger. It’s not magic. It’s a wild and beautiful Frankensteinian creation, consisting of roughly 28 ingredients that work together to form a vegetable and bean and quinoa patty that has a baked crunch.

This isn’t my first time to try it, but, on a recent visit, I’m in a questionable mental place: Once again, after eating the quinoa-bean burger at the original Greenville location, I’m sitting at their sun-stroked counter in a state of denial. How can this be? My cynical, meat-addled brain wants to crush a vegetable burger with a stern blow of the fist. It can’t be better than the burger, right? Fundamentally, a grass-fed beef patty will always best any patty formed with quinoa. Right?

It doesn’t help that everything at Start is bursting with positivity. There’s somehow-healthy egg sandwiches with curry butter! Their grass-fed and free-range beef, with applewood bacon, seems so happy to be in between a bun in front of you. It’s like the cow was absolutely fine with being blended and pattied. So, it’s better than the veggie burger, right?

No, this vegetable sandwich is a powerhouse. There’s a house-buttermilk ranch to indulge everything with a creamy fat. There’s richness and softness from garbanzo beans, black beans and cannellini beans. After one bite, you’ll get a mind full of cumin and garlic. There’s a quick touch of jalapeño in there, too. Damn.

General manager Brad Hruska confirms the recipe includes steamed and grilled vegetables alongside carrots, onion, bell pepper, garlic and — yes — raisins. Quinoa binds everything together, as well as a good egg. Salt, paprika and chili powder round out the orchestra. The finished patty is baked in the oven (ugh — healthier), which gives it an almost crusty sear. Avocado and the buttermilk ranch provide just enough creamy indulgence, and chopped romaine and onion are the needed crunchy notes.

I added white cheddar to mine. The sharp, rich cheese makes it a gold medal-winner.

This is my honest confession: I occasionally love a good veggie burger. There are many that don’t suck: Old Monk’s veggie burger is delicate and rich with mushrooms, corn, cashews and a chipotle salsa. Liberty Burger’s hefty sandwich gets a drizzle of aioli and a slice of Swiss. Neither are better than their in-house burger siblings. Start’s veggie burger, miraculously, bests the beef.

A great veggie burger lives.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >