A good veggie burger isn't hard to find, but locating a product that's totally vegan, free of soy, and meets the dietary needs of active Coloradans can be more difficult.
That's why Carla Boyd started her own company. She founded HempWay Foods in 2014 in Evergreen as a way to meet her own personal nutritional requirements and dietary restrictions. The result is the HempWay Burger – a tasty and healthy burger made from hemp seeds and other nutrient-rich ingredients. Hemp is filled with health benefits, Boyd notes, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein and iron, something vegans can fall short on. At 170 calories, one HempWay patty contains ten grams of protein and eight grams of fiber, plus 30 percent of daily iron needs.
The burgers also are free of dairy, gluten, GMOs, THC (for those worried about consuming a cannabis product), corn and soy. Instead, they're packed with organic Colorado hemp as well as lentils, quinoa, garlic, chia seeds, flaxseed, amaranth flour and a few other ingredients and seasonings.
The patty is flavorful on its own, but like a beef burger, is a blank canvas for topping off with whatever suits you. The burger has a nice crispness on the outside, and isn’t dry like some plant-based burgers can be. It’s easy to cook; just add a teaspoon of oil to a pan and heat the frozen patty for five minutes on each side until it’s as crispy as you like.
After building a base of customers hooked on the burger patties, Boyd expanded her products to include HempWay crumbles, which contain the same ingredients as the burger and can be used the same way as ground meat: in lasagna, stuffed peppers, chili, sloppy Joes and tacos, for example.
HempWay burgers and crumbles can be found at the Alfalfa’s Markets in Boulder and Louisville as well as Nooch Vegan Market in Denver. You can also try them at the upcoming Veg Fest (July 27 and 28) and Hemp & Hops (August 24 – 26).
If you'd rather let someone else do the cooking, you can sink your teeth into a HempWay burger at CityGrille, Local 46 and the Farm to Truck food truck in Denver; Blackbird Cafe and Tavern, Cactus Jack's Saloon & Grill, and the Pizza Joint in Evergreen; Two Bears Tap & Grill in Idaho Springs; and Zoka’s Restaurant & Bar in Pine.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.