Costco Eats: MorningStar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Veggie Burger

MorningStar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Swiss ‘n Shroom “Veggie” Burger

With St. Paddy’s Day weekend upon us, this would be a good time to talk burgers. In this case, of the veggie variety to put the “green” in this holiday tradition’s honor. “Eew!” All you carnivores probably already assume. Well, let’s find out if MorningStar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Burger can put those “veggie burger ‘phobic” thoughts to rest!

If you’re a burger lovin’ Costco shopper, surely you’ve taken notice to this product that’s been available for some time now in the freezer case and wondered how they taste, hoping one day the “Sample Lady” or “Sample Guy” will be handing them out. Been there, wished that too! Low and behold, it never happened. Darned it!  Rough life I tell ya’. Rough life.

On my perpetual new health kick, I decided to go for it, when thankfully at the time of purchase, there was a $3 Off clip-out coupon for it, taken off the $14.89 regular price, so it would be that much less of a gamble should it not turn out so good. Of course Costco has a very liberal return policy, even if you opened the package to try it. Another reason you gotta’ love Costco!

My only real apprehension buying it was the package quantity, where like most other perishables, including frozen items from Costco, feared I’d eat one or two, maybe three, and end up tossing the rest after sitting in the fridge over a year all freezer burnt.

Looking over the numerous ingredients, not surprisingly like all other highly processed foods, there’s a bunch chemicals that sound more like they belong in a swimming pool pH testing kit, not a hamburger. The main “meat” of the burger being black beans, cooked brown rice, textured soy protein concentrate and textured wheat gluten. Mmm, mmm, mmm, sounds DELICIOUS already! OK, not really.

As expected, there’s a wide variety chili peppers and spices leaning towards Southwest Tex Mex. While the packaging doesn’t say so, the Chipotle Peppers alone has me thinkin’ Bobby Flay had his hand in creating this recipe, as I’m already expecting it might taste like.

The nutritional numbers look really good and lean, along with lots of fiber and protein, except for the high amount of sodium, which again you must expect from a highly processed food product. MorningStar clearly flags in disclaimers what might concern consumers with allergies and other health concerns, such as sodium, soy, wheat, egg and milk content.

What’s funny is, it boldly sells itself as having 74% less fat than ground beef and 0 trans fat. Yet folks like me — guilty as charged — will go ahead and attempt to add that fat savings right back on it with decadently tasty toppings. Ah-Ha!!!

Unpacking it, here they are still frozen…


Like most frozen preformed burger patties, they’re stacked in a plastic bag sealed with a twist tie. I take it they were individually IQF’d (instantly quick frozen) before packaging, as they didn’t have wax paper between each one, not having a problem with them sticking to each other.

Being I live in a high rise, I don’t have the luxury of a BBQ grill (and I insist on charcoal) right out my backyard (on the roof, but forget it, too much hassle), so I opted to follow the box directions and bake them in the oven. Here it is done…

Looks reasonably moist for a baked burger, especially a baked VEGGIE burger, which is notorious for being dry. From its outward appearance, you could probably fool kids to think this is made with beef, however grown-ups will likely suspect something’s different about it.

Let’s cut it open…

OK, now the cat’s out of the bag: that indeed looks like a very “rice-ee” veggie burger, while you can tell there’s some spicy thing going on with its reddish color.

So my first style of choice to dress this was to the tune of Swiss ‘n Shrooms, as that’s how I ALWAYS ROLL when it comes to burgers…

MorningStar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Swiss ‘n Shroom “Veggie” Burger

My Swiss ‘n Shroom Chipotle Black Bean Veggie Burger “build” here starts with a Oro Wheat 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins “bun” that’s been toasted ‘n slathered with a generous helping of Best Foods Mayo’, topped with some sliced red onion, romaine leaf lettuce, a thick steak-cut tomato, the veggie patty, white mushrooms that’s been sauteed in clarified butter, salt ‘n pep’ and melted Swiss deli cheese.

Cover it up and slice it in half for the “reveal”…

MorningStar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Swiss ‘n Shroom “Veggie” Burger

Aaaaaaaah, oooooooooh.

Zoom in…

MorningStar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Swiss ‘n Shroom “Veggie” Burger

Notice the sliced peppers and whole black beans in it. This should taste really interesting.

And? I’ve never been to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill before, however tasting this is what I’d imagine would roll out of his kitchen. Total Southwestern Tex Mex thing going on is the best way to describe the overall flavor. While the ingredients don’t specify there’s cumin in it, it does have that subtle Chili stew/taco sauce twang to it. Put it this way: for better or worse, it would fit right in on Taco Bell’s “Healthy Choice” Fresco menu.

Where’s the beef? Does it taste like it? Kinda’, yeah! It’s certainly “meaty”, both in flavor and ground beef-like texture. The massive 1/4 lb. patty is also very dense, not crumbling apart at all. Best of all, it’s reasonably moist, which was surprising, being that I used the oven-baked cooking method. I’m willing to bet grilling it over some charcoal and/or Kiawe wood would kick it up NOTCHES.

The only thing, the black beans and pieces of roasted Chipotle Peppers liberally mixed in it, when combined with the swiss cheese and ‘shrooms topping made the overall delivery of flavors too complex. So you’re not really sure whether you’re eating a burger, or some sort of Tex Mex meatloaf shaped like a burger, that just so happened to have Swiss ‘n Shrooms on it. In other words, it wasn’t the best match. I mean, it was “good”, but not like “Wow, this is AWESOME!”

For the patty by itself, I give Morning Star’s Chipotle Black Bean “Veggie” Burger’s flavor 3 Ume Musubi (very good), texture 4 (excellent) and moistness 3 (very good). Most importantly, it’s resemblance to a real beef burger, I’ll give it 3 (very good).

For the burger as a whole, with the Swiss ‘n Shrooms, lettuce, tomato, onions and bun? I give it 2 Ume Musubi for flavor (good), and the same for the other factors. As I expected, that distinctive southwestern spice accent detracted a bit from the wonderful flavor of mushrooms and swiss cheese, where everything got a bit muddled. I mean, it was definitely good enough where I polished that bad boy, but I wouldn’t make it that way again.

That said, for burger style version B, I went with Hawaii’s favorite, the venerable “local style” Teriyaki Burger…

MorningStar Farms Chipotle Black Bean “Hawaii Drive-in style” Teriyaki “Veggie” Burger

Whoah Uncle, how’s my Teri’ sauce drizzle plating action? Sorry eh!

When I say “local style”, is due to the “Special Sauce” used for it, which many classic drive-ins around Hawaii would use on their burgers, being typically ketchup and/or mustard mixed with mayonnaise, with a bunch of variations based on those basic ingredients.

As for the Teriyaki Sauce, I used Halm’s brand, which is really good, as theirs has miso paste in it, so it’s really thick and savory. Best store-bought Teri’ Sauce you can buy, I swear.

Halm’s Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce. Image courtesy of Halm’s Enterprises.

And? WAY better than the Swiss ‘n Shroom style, mainly because the Halm’s bold and savory shoyu and miso-based Teriyaki sauce firmly stood its ground against the chiles, spices and black beans. The “local drive-in style” Ketchup and Mayo’ and Mustard and Mayo’ sauce on the bun also helped to magnify the “meaty” flavor of the burger with the Teri’ Sauce on it, while adding a creamy element.

Essentially, it tasted like how you’d expect a really good Teri’ Burger should, along with a spicy kick, being surprisingly harmonious, not clashing at all. Excellent!  I’d definitely make more of ’em with the Teri’ sauce, next time going Teri’ Cheeseburger Deluxe, adding a couple slices of good ‘ole melted American Cheese on it, smothered with lots of Teri’ Sauce. Oh yeah.

Morning Star’s Chipotle Black Bean Veggie Burger done “local” Teriyaki style gets 4.5 Ume Musubi (super-duper excellent!) for taste and ditto from the previous for all other factors.

Other ways I’d consider experimenting with these Veggie burgers is perhaps in a Local Moco…

Or here where this food & travel blogger chopped it up to make Quesadillas…

MorningStar Farms Chipotle Black Bean “Veggie” Burger Quesadillas. Image courtesy of  GimmeyYummy blog

Summing it up, next time you see a Costco coupon for these, I’ll confidently recommend you pick a box up and try it out yourself. If Boca Burgers never went over well with you, dressed the right way, MorningStar’s Chipotle Black Bean “Veggie” Burgers just may have you begging for more, without more of you added to your waistline.

When I run out of the Chipotle Burgers, I’ll pick-up and review a box of MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie Patties…

Morning Star Garden Veggie Patties 

P.S. While we’re on the subject of eating healthy (kind of), here’s a shot of my torso “core” area, taken today (3.15.13), still stuck at 167 lbs….

Pomai’s “core” on 3.15.13 @ 167 lbs.

Breaking below the 165 lbs. marker is proving VERY difficult. I’m this much closer to ordering Shaun T’s Insanity DVD set. Or I might opt for the Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies collection. We’ll see. Ha-ha!

Regarding that Teriyaki Burger “Deluxe”, in case you Hawaii expat folks haven’t heard, Byron’s Drive-In, a long time 24-hour local plate lunch haunt right outside Honolulu International Airport recently closed…

R.I.P. Byron’s Drive-In

Looks like this guy just finished a big ‘ole burger himself, resting well before hitting it….

How romantic…

Especially when this is your view…

As the setting sun kisses the purple Hawaiian sky…


Costco Eats: MorningStar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Veggie Burger — 36 Comments

  1. My wet Chili Verde Burrito with sides of frijoles and rice will simply have to suffice for tonight. I will live with the quilt. :-P

  2. Since I do my fair share of not-very-healthy-but-oh-so-ono during the weekends, MorningStar is a regular part of the weekdays to keep things in check… esp since I’m well past the half-way point of the novel… that being said, it’s The Whole Ox Deli tomorrow…

    • Ryan,

      I came close to choosing The Whole Ox for my birthday a few weeks ago with the gang, but changed, as that was a bit too heavy for the mood I was in at the time. I definitely wanna’ try Whole Ox’ dry aged burger, and a number of other menu items raved about on Yelp. I wanna’ try head cheese, which was just featured recently on Triple D. Can’t beat the cheek!

  3. Pomai, I tasted the black bean veggie burger and with the teriyaki sauce it does taste better. Not bad with lettuce and tomato and some grill onion on it also make a good sandwich. I will try with avocados slices on it.

    • Amy,

      Excellent suggestion. I’d do like a “California Sushi Burger” thing with it, including sliced avocado, cucumber and a crab salad topping (imitation crab and mayo’), along with some furikake sprinkled on the patty, adhered to it by a layer of butter. Ooh! :yes:

  4. Yum! I love the MorningStar Farms Black Bean burger. Your versions of toppings look delicious (though I would have subbed avocado for mayo because avocado is delicious and mayo is not :-P )!! I’m curious about your opinions of their veggie burger. I’m not fond of it, but then I’m really, really, really (did I say really?) fond of and loyal to the original garden burger (not the fake meat style one, the original one). Sooooo good.

    BTW… still waiting for your version of the Sweatin’ to the Oldies video :-D

    • h,

      I remember seeing a Morning Star breakfast patty in Costco that they were handing samples out, and it was pretty good. Again, you could taste the high sodium, yet you’d be hard-pressed to tell that it was meatless.

      Speaking of Sweatin’, Richard’s back! Yup, just the other night I was up late, when I caught an infomercial for Richard Simmons new HOPE fitness program. He/she’s still wearing them Dove shorts and sequin pastel tank tops. LOL!
      I’m trying to decide what would be the FUNNIEST 70’s to 80’s era disco song for my new breakthrough fitness video, in the style of Richard Simmons. Most definitely ANYTHING by KC & the Sunshine Band would work out great!…

      “Shake Your Booty”

      “Do You Feel Alright”

      “Keep it Coming Up”


      • I’ve never tried the MorningStar breakfast patty or crumbles. I don’t like the taste or texture of meat, which is why I really like the original Garden Burger. TVP, Boca Burgers, etc., not for me!

        Wow, Richard Simmons is still at it? That’s impressive for his age. I can’t believe he hasn’t updated his outfit, but if he did, I guess it would be kind of disappointing. Have you been shopping for sequin tanks and shorty shorts for your video yet? :musicnote: :sweat:

        Loving the old KC and the Sunshine Band clips!!

        • h,

          I’m a little confused. You said you like the Chipotle Black Bean Veggie Burger, which I think has a very “meaty” texture”. Yet you say you don’t like the texture of meat.

          Whereas, my initial impression of the MS breakfast patty, is that the texture is more dense and fibrous, as compared to the MS CBB burger patty being relatively more “chunky”, yet still meaty in my opinion.

          Then again, does expecting a veggie burger to have the same taste and texture of meat miss the whole point to begin with?

          • I don’t think the black bean burger has a meaty texture, not when compared to Boca Burgers or “meatless grillers” type non-meat patties. To me, the black bean is a meat replacement only in “the main layer on the bun” sense, as opposed to taste. That said, it’s still more meaty than the Original Garden Burger.

            For me, I think expecting a veggie burger to have the same taste and texture of meat DOES miss the point, because I don’t like meat (texture or taste). But for others, something like a Boca Burger might be a good replacement for someone who wants to get off meat for whatever reason, but wants something that still has some essence of a freshly grilled meat product.

            As far as the breakfast patty goes, I’m not familiar with the meatless product, but it doesn’t sound appealing. I don’t think I’ve ever had the real product either. I’ve never been big on eating breakfast, not even as a kid.

          • h,

            I was in the neighborhood Costco yesterday, where next to the MorningStar veggie patty products, there was this new-for-Costco product called Gardein Meatless Crispy Chick’n with Mandarin Orange Sauce…


            That was a more positive review.

            Yet as you’ve reflected in your last comment, this vegan blogger said “In fact, the chick’n looked a bit too much like chicken for my taste! Ok, that would be a big plus for some people, but the texture was so close to dark meat chicken it made me feel a little ill.”…


            Costco item #677257

            Hopefully they’ll be handing out samples to try soon.

          • Thanks for thinking of me. Let me know what you think if you ever get to try a sample. I’m wary of mock chicken because of the texture. Fortunately, there’s a Chinese place near me that offers all the typical American-based Chinese staples with things like eggplant, carrot, potato or banana as a sub for meat. Like sesame orange banana, for instance. Honestly, the food is sub-par, other than their chow fun, but they get points for originality/creativity in the vegetarian department. That restaurant aside, we actually have an amazing variety of authentic Chinese restaurants where I live. According to the 2010 census, we have the highest population of Chinese residents after California and Hawaii! So I guess when I see bullfrog casserole on the menu, I can assume it’s fresh. (we also have huge Korean, Indian, Peruvian, Taiwanese, Iranian and Jewish populations here. Though it’s like the polar opposite to Hawaii in terms of melting pot. No melting, people stay within their communities. Pretty sad, actually).

    • h,

      When you say people in your area stay within their own communities by race, do you mean including businesses as well? Like where you’ll only see Chinese in Chinese-owned restaurants, only blacks in black-owned restaurants, and only whites in white-owned restaurants, etc.? If so, that IS sad.

      On a personal relationship level, immigrants (we still have a lot) and pure-breed people here tend to be clannish, sticking within their own race for the most part. For the most part, yet there ARE exceptions for sure. Me? Being mixed breed, I just “shoehorn” my way into their “clicks” and it works out pretty good! All my best friends in grade school were either “clickish” Japanese boyz or haole boyz. I was like the only non-Japanese, non-pure “White”, “Hapa Haole” (part white/part Hawaiian) in their respective clans. Ha-ha!

      What’s funny is, locals think I’m local, and “Haoles” from the mainland think I’m “Haole”. Locals immediately say “Howzit brah”, while mainland folks (tourists) ask “where you from?”. When I say I’m from Hawaii, they’re like, “Really?” I’ve had several tourists just recently convinced I was from California (I mean CONVINCED); probably because not just my mixed breed look, but how I talk. Seriously. Like where I ended up having to show them my drivers license as proof I was a Hawaii resident.

      With your cosmo’ ethnic mix, you probably get asked a lot where you’re from/what you are as well.

      Sincerely, “Mutts R Us”. lol

      • The DC metro area isn’t a very friendly or inclusive area. People pretty much stick to their own kind. It’s really sad. I grew up in a real melting pot area, similar to the way you describe Hawaii, and I like that much better.

        • If you decide to move to Hawaii (which you should seriously consider), consider a neighbor island town such as Kihei, Makawao, Pukalani or Paia, Maui. Somewhere where you can conveniently get all the modern conveniences you’re used to in DC, yet have the Hawaiian country feeling right at your doorstep, plus with a little touristy vibe to boot, so you’ll always be entertained, not bored.

          You can consider Oahu, but it’s just way too crowded here. GREAT place to live, but I for one don’t want anyone else moving here. Too much traffic, and overall, our infrastructure is already way over taxed and overloaded. Literally. 1000 more residents on this island over all the additional tourists we have, and it’ll sink. Oh, wait though: you’re a size 3 vegetarian. Perhaps not a problem after all. That’s a minimal carbon footprint. Ha!

  5. Pomai,
    Awesome post once again even if I not going try the black bean burger. Only black bean for me is dao si. Gotta agree that Halms is the bomb. I always pack a costco sized jug in my suitcase. The surfer is doing the kanaka planking. Btw no forget to take your FJ in for the recall work.

  6. Pomai,

    Black bean veggie burger no way!

    I mix 1.34 lb. Costco (Kirkland) organic ground beef (1 whole package of 3 pack) with 1 lb. Costco (Kirkland blue packaged) course ground (KitchenAid grinder attachment) hickory smoked bacon and ¼ lb. Portuguese course ground sausage and form into ¼ lb. patties in my patty press for my hamburgers. This combination makes a nice juicy full smoky flavor burger. Sometimes I’ll add 1 envelope of Lipton onion soup mix to make onion burgers. I have a FoodSaver vacuum packager that allows me to freezer wrap them as singles or doubles for dated storage.

    • Sure sounds like a flavor-packed burger. PS and bacon? Wow! So much for veggie burgers. lol

      I like making the Lipton onion Soup pot roast (the recipe on the package). For the gravy, I use a can of cream of mushroom sauce, a cup of Cabernet, a can of beef stock and water. Works like a charm every time.

  7. I love Morning Star Farms black bean patties. They used to have an Asian veggie patty which was SO good, but not sure why they stopped making/selling that, I miss it.
    Had to laugh at the guy crashing under his board! :laugh:

    • Ann,

      I’d probably like the taste of the Asian veggie patty more than the Southwest influenced Chipotle Black Bean version. At least the Teriyaki sauce brought back that Asian twang, where thankfully it matched the flavor of the peppers and beans.

      I have another shot of the sleeping surfer, where his arms are sticking out from under his board like a turtle. I’ll post that one later. I can tell you’re a local girl. You said “crashing”. 8-)

  8. I gotta say, Richard Simmons may be silly, but those tapes are no joke! They get you moving and keep you moving, and he just seems so darned nice about it. I’d rather do those than that Biggest Loser lady that always yells.

    All you gotta do is make your video full of positive encouragement and happy music, and you got yourself a winner!

    • Kee,

      I have to agree. Everyone has a type of personality they can relate to for inspiration, and Richard Simmons has the “unique” kind of character I’m sure many people are motivated by. As a few people commented on his YouTube clips, you notice the people exercising with him on his videos come in all shapes and sizes. They’re not all bodybuilders, magazine models and fitness class A students. I really do admire that for being real. Really though, you won’t catch me doing “the pony” anytime soon, unless its for a YouTube parody. lol

      As for happy music to work out to, I think the KC & the Sunshine band tracks I chose sound pretty “happy”. Or I have a better YouTube video idea: “Richard Simmons does it Gangnam style!”

      Oppah Simmons style! Womp, womp, womp, womp-womp. Hey… he sexy lady. Oppah Simmons style! (get it)

  9. I just recently purchased the black bean burger and they ingredients changed which lowered the sodium, increased the Fiber (only a gram) and lowered the calories so the nutrition is much better (I think)….

  10. I see its been a while since talking about the Morning Star chipotle black bean burger.  Check this out.. a friend gave me a box as I can’t eat cow (allergic) I loved them so much I googled it to find where I could buy them. Found out FDA orderred kellogs to pull them for not labelling about peanuts! Turns out my friend got them from the local foodbank. So FDA & Kelloggs pull them off Wallmart & Costco shelves for Not telling us about Peanut ingredient (which can kill another friend who’s deadly allergic!)

  11. (cont.)   So they pull the burgers off the shelves & give them to the local foodbanks without relabelling them! That can kill folks! (& WHERE DID PEANUTS COME FROM ANYHOW? THAT WERE NOT ON THE LABEL?) SO GIVE THEM TO THE POOR FOLKS & LET THEM DIE FROM KELLOGGS/MORNINGSTAR BADLY MISLABELLED PRODUCTS! !

  12. Thx for reply. Did not expect one so Soon! Please check it out so some child (or aduLt) with peanut allergy does Not get hurt or die from lies on label. My box is Morningstar farms chipotle blackbean burger 50.8 oz box (12 burgers) best by june 08, 16 and upc bottom number is 28989  40864   and recalled! please check it out  for your customers safety. Email me anyone with concerns or contact fda.

  13. there are many lots recalled, not just mine, please post the recall lots on your site. I truly hope noone else is hurt by these as apparently some have been. I truly enjoyed these burgers but why the mislabelling about peanuts? Not cool MorningStar / Kellogg. Get it together & make it right!

    • Dale,

      Regarding this apparently passionate “issue” on this product containing peanuts, you need to contact the manufacturer/parent company (Kellogg Sales Company), not this food blog, which only reviewed the product.

      For FACT, I’ve seen this product (Morning Star Farms® Chipotle Black Bean Burger) in my local Costco (Iwilei, Honolulu, location) within the past month (August 2015), so chances are the lot is limited. If it is even an “issue” at all. Did they address the fact that there’s peanuts in it? The particular box I had only stated that it has soy, wheat, egg and milk in it as potential allergens.

      Then again, I personally am not allergic to ANY food, whether it be dairy, nuts, gluten, etc, so it doesn’t apply to Yours Truly. ;-)

      That said, if you’re a person who can DIE from eating any type of food, wouldn’t you refrain from processed food, which you will NEVER know exactly what’s in it? If your personal care physician hasn’t already instructed it, pretty much common sense on your part, wouldn’t you say?

  14. Thoseblack bean burgers have calcium caseinate, which is a protein derived from casein in skim and sometimes 1% milk. So the product is vegeterian, but not vegan.

    • They also have egg whites so saying they’re vegetarian is a stretch. Same with Chipotle brand. Occasionally Costco will have a really good  burger that’s actually vegan but they tend to drop them out of circulation. Guess they aren’t popular with the big box crowd.

      • I’m quite sure their legal team approved them to say “100% Vegetarian” regardless of having egg whites in it. Perhaps from a legal standpoint, as long as it doesn’t include egg yolks, they’re safe to say that.

        I’m actually surprised the Costco Hawaii locations still carries this product, as I don’t recall local folks being familiar with Chipotle peppers nor black beans (especially mixed into a burger, no less vegetarian). At least not as much as folks in the southern states might. Regardless, must be selling well here in Honolulu, otherwise you now how fleeting Costco is with third party inventory.

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