Original Sunshine Burger. The ingredient list on these is ridiculous: brown rice, sunflower seeds, carrots, herbs, and sea salt. That's it. Also, according to the packaging, these burgers are not intended to be a beef imitation, but instead an "excellent flavor sensation of their own." Let's see if they can live up to the hype.
To prepare to receive this flavor sensation, I made some fresh burger buns. I used the King Arthur Flour recipe for Onion Buns, because I saw it a while back and recognized this as a golden opportunity to try them out. They came out looking gorgeous, and my whole house, in addition to the awesome freshly-baked bread aroma, smelled like onion, which is a plus. More on how they tasted later.
Once dinner time rolled around, I tossed the burgers into a skillet. These come three to a package, so I just cooked up all three. The box said "no oil needed" but after they thawed out, they started sticking pretty badly to my pan, so I put a little oil in there, just to keep them from being completely destroyed. As they approached the "desired warmness" (yes - the box says that - "All our burgers are fully precooked. Please do not overcook, just heat to desired warmness."), they started to become very fragile. Two of them broke in half when I tried to flip them. That was a little frustrating. Eventually, we got the three patties on some onion buns.
I tried a piece of burger plain, first, to make sure the bun didn't artificially inflate the grade. It was… okay. A little dry, a little crumbly, and tasted very much of sunflower seeds. Pretty much only sunflower seeds. That was probably the "sun" part of Sunshine Burger. They might as well have called it Sunflower Burgers. It wasn't bad, if you like sunflower seeds. But it wasn't exciting either.
Then I tried it on the bun. Way better now - the onion flavor matched the sunflower seed flavor pretty well. Still dry though. I added a slice of cheese (Velveeta singles… don't hate me! They have superior meltability!) Now I had something… The gumminess of the cheese helped hold the burger together, keeping it from being too crumbly in my mouth. But it still needed a little something. I squirted on some ketchup. And then some more, as the awesome bun absorbed it all, and I couldn't actually taste it. Finally, I had something that I could consider dinner.
The flavor experience was a little weird - first onion and ketchup, then the cheese flavor creeped in, and once those faded, all that was left was sunflower seeds. Not unpleasant, but it was a little weird. This brand has other varieties that I might check out in the future, including a southwest burger, breakfast patty, and a barbecue burger. I'm intrigued...
Texture - Dry and crumbly until it had some dairy to hold it together
Flavor - Imagine a mouthful of sunflower seeds - yep - that's about it.
Final grade for this attempt: C+