Burgers have been an American food favorite for decades, but as all love affairs go, this one has had its share of drama. As the consumption of this staple has increased over the years, so have American waistlines. Luckily someone came up with the veggie burger, a healthier alternative to this traditional, cholesterol-rich favorite. In this blog, I'll share my favorite veggie burgers in and around Boca so that you can experience great burger taste that’s good for you too.

Garden Of Vegan

This hidden little gem is tucked in a few blocks north of Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach and is definitely worth the visit. Not only are their veggie burgers flavorful, rich and truly satisfying, they're also gluten-, dairy-, nut- and soy-free. The patty is created with protein-rich chickpeas, and the soft and fluffy buns are made with millet and flax. My dish came with Chinese Black Forbidden Rice (if you haven’t had it before, you are in for a treat!) and a small green salad. Great value for the price! (528 N.E. Second St., Delray Beach, 561/404-5301)

Houston’s

If you're out with friends who want traditional food, head to Houston’s on Glades Road and give their veggie burger a try. While it's not organic, it's still a great plant-based option. The combination of black beans and rice makes it complete protein. Beets and oat-bran give it extra fiber, and soy glaze and seasonings create a satisfying finish. If you want to go 100 percent plant-based, skip the cheese and mayo and top your burger with avocado. (1900 N.W. Executive Center Circle, Boca Raton, 561/998-0550)

Green Bar & Kitchen

Headed down to Broward county? I strongly suggest checking out Green Bar and Kitchen in Fort Lauderdale. Since opening last spring, GBK, as frequent patrons call it, has sold thousands of their Deluxe Veggie Burgers that boast a flavorful combination of brown rice, quinoa, chickpeas, carrots, onion and spices. Top yours with avocado and enjoy it on a gluten-free bun or opt for my favorite fiber-rich lavash. If you want to spice your selection up, try their smokehouse version of the same burger that comes with barbecue mayo and caramelized onions. (1075 S.E. 17th St., Fort Lauderdale, 954/533-7507)

At-Home Veggie Burger

When I crave a veggie burger at home, I like to get Amy’s Organic Sonoma Burger. This gluten-, soy- and dairy-free patty can be found in the freezer section of Whole Foods. While it is not as “meaty” as the restaurant versions, it's the healthiest one that I've found on the market.

To spice it up, I accessorize mine with melted Daiya cheese, avocado, pickles, organic ketchup, organic barbecue sauce and lettuce, and serve it on top of a warm lavash from Sami’s Bakery. The trick to a good veggie burger is in the seasoning and accessories. Like a traditional burger, it won’t be the same without all the fixings. Use the same approach with its veggie alternative, and dress it up to your own taste for a truly satisfying meal.

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About Alina Z.

Alina Z., aka “The Green Goddess,” is a certified holistic health coach, detox specialist and raw-food chef (she conducts occasional classes at Whole Foods in Boca). Prior to moving to Florida,  Alina hosted her own TV show in Maryland—“Entertaining A to Z”—for people who didn’t have time to cook but wanted to eat healthy. Catch one of her web episodes at eHow.com, visit Alina’s website at alinaz.com, or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/CoutureFood) or Twitter (@CoutureFood). The Green Goddess blog runs every other Wednesday at bocamag.com.