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Healthy eating

How to cook the Impossible Burger

Sear it, sauté it, grill it -- the possibilities are endless.

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Impossible Burger 2.0 was designed to be cooked on grills.

Mariel Myers/CNET

Attention all veggie lovers, environmentalists and anyone who's at all interested in the concept of faux meat: The Impossible Burger is now available at select grocery stores. Until now, the burger was only available at restaurants, but now home chefs can cook it up themselves. 

I gave it a go, cooking Impossible Burger's ground meat alongside real ground beef to note any differences. If you're planning to snag a pack at the grocery store this weekend, read this article before your first attempt at cooking the Impossible Burger. 

Read more: How to buy the Impossible Burger at grocery stores | The ultimate Impossible Burger vs. Beyond Burger taste test

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What's the best way to cook the Impossible Burger? 

If you want an actual burger, the best way to cook the Impossible Burger is on a grill in the same way you'd cook a beef burger. I don't have a grill, so I sautéed mine instead. 

Compared to cooking the Beyond Burger, the Impossible Burger seemed to cook a lot more like real beef: It produced more grease than Beyond Meat, sizzled more and shrunk like beef burgers do as they heat up. But compared to real beef, the Impossible meat doesn't produce much grease (a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective). 

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An Impossible Burger sizzles on the right about 4 minutes into cooking; I had just added the remaining meat to the pan on the left.

Amanda Capritto/CNET

You should know that the retail version of the Impossible Burger doesn't come in preformed patties. Instead, it's a 12-ounce chunk of ground Impossible meat that you'll have to form yourself. My guess is that Impossible Foods packaged it this way to emphasize the product's versatility. 

There are three servings in the 12-ounce package, so I cut one-third off to make a burger and tossed the remaining two-thirds into a separate pan to make taco meat. 

You're definitely not limited to burgers and tacos, though -- you can brown Impossible meat and add it to spaghetti, casseroles, meat pies, burritos, lasagna or essentially anything else that uses ground beef. 

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The 12-ounce block of Impossible Burger meat you can now find at select Gelson's locations in Southern California.

Amanda Capritto/CNET

Do I have to cook it well done?

Nope -- the Impossible Burger has actually been served as tartare.

As beefy as it looks, the Impossible Burger is made of plants, so the risks that come with handling and eating raw meat don't really apply. The CDC notes that although fruits and vegetables can possibly become contaminated, raw meat and poultry are far more likely to carry food-borne illnesses. That should be reassuring if you like pink hamburgers. 

I, however, am kind of grossed out by pinkness in anything except a steak, so I browned mine all the way through. Impossible Foods chief financial officer David Lee told CNET that browning it until there's no pink left or cooking it to the recommended 160 degrees Fahrenheit for ground meat is the best way to eliminate any health risks. 

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Impossible meat on the left; 80% lean ground beef on the right. Both seasoned with the same taco seasoning and cooked in the same pan. The most notable difference is that the Impossible chunks are larger than the real beef chunks. 

Amanda Capritto/CNET

Handling the raw Impossible Burger

The "raw" Impossible meat is a bit sticky -- you'll want a kitchen towel on hand if you're forming burger patties. It's definitely stickier than real ground beef, and it takes longer to break into small pieces while it's cooking. 

The Impossible meat stuck to my pan a bit, unlike real beef. I definitely recommend coating your pan with a nonstick spray prior to cooking. 

As mentioned above, plant-based meat isn't likely to have the same contamination risks as real ground beef, but you should still follow safe cooking practices and wipe any surfaces that came into contact with the Impossible meat. 

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Making a quesadilla with Impossible ground meat. 

Amanda Capritto/CNET

Where can I get the Impossible Burger?

You can find the Impossible Burger at select Gelson's locations in Southern California. Participating retailers range from San Diego County to Ventura County -- read more about the Impossible Burger retail launch or use the store locator to find a Gelson's near you.

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