Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that the “veggie” in veggie burger doesn’t actually stand for vegetables, but rather vegetarian. Recently, though, certain fruits have started becoming buzzy in the plant-based burger world, testing perceptions of what can and can’t be a passing substitute for beef. First, there was jackfruit, which has been on the up and up since it’s meat like texture lends itself pretty well to crafting savory tacos or barbecue. And now? Cantaloupe.
Yep, the workhouse of the fruit tray’s finding a second act in healthy fast food. According to Thrillist, Ducks Eatery, a New York City restaurant, is churning out meatless burgers made from the orange muskmelon. This isn’t just a slab of cantaloupe thrown on a bun either. The process essentially sounds more tedious than preparing meat: It’s a two-day task that involves peeling, curing, fermenting, slow-baking, dehydrating, and searing the sweet melon patties.
The trend of unexpected foods functioning as meat substitutes could continue to expand, especially when he launches his line of kelp “jerky.”
The eatery’s chef, Will Horowitz, doesn’t expect to replicate the success of say, Beyond Meat, but he tells Thrillist “the point is to shift the outlook on what we can eat” adding “let’s make something new with these foods and make it as accessible to people as possible. I’d love to be able to go to the grocery store and see beef steaks and salmon steaks and watermelon steaks right next to each other.”
Other than this cantaloupe-burger Horowitz is working on similar nuggets, carrots as hot dogs, and watermelon charcuterie. And though these will likely only be available at his restaurant, the trend of unexpected foods functioning as meat substitutes could continue to expand, especially when he launches his line of kelp “jerky.”