First, Impossible Foods came for burgers, and now it's coming after Tex-Mex. Fast-casual chain Qdoba Mexican Eats is testing the plant-based protein in tacos and bowls at 60 select locations in Michigan. Qdoba seasons the meatless crumbles with an in-house blend of tomatoes, garlic, smoked chiles, paprika and diced red onion. The beef alternative is similar in texture to Chipotle's meat-free Sofritas, which is made from herbs, spices, various vegetables and soybeans.
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Right now, diners in Metro Detroit, Flint, Lansing and Traverse City can create their own meal with the coveted Impossible "meat" for a limited time only. They also have the choice of ordering two signature dishes created to work with the plant-based protein: the Impossible Bowl, with cilantro-lime white rice, black beans, three-cheese queso, pico de gallo, guacamole and Impossible protein; and the Impossible Taco, with red onions, cilantro, salsa verde, and Impossible protein in a warm corn tortilla.
So what makes fake meat taste like the real deal? To make the hyper-realistic imitation beef, Impossible uses wheat protein, coconut oil and potato protein in its recipe, and also an ingredient called "heme." Heme is a compound responsible for the flavor and aroma of meat. Although it's most prominent in animal muscle, Impossible derives it from plants, then ferments it - and the rest is history.
Qdoba is trialing this product in Michigan only, but plant-based eaters outside the mitten-shaped state can look forward to the Impossible Burger's debut in grocery stores sometime this year. They can also find it in more than 5,000 eating spaces like Umami Burger, Bareburger and White Castle, which sells a convincing mini version. Not trying to eat a meatless burger famous for "bleeding"? Get your veggie on at America's best vegan restaurants instead.