Hi everyone, I hope you’re having a great start to the week. As I sit here on Sunday evening and finish off this post I am wishing that I could start the weekend over again. I feel like my superpower (or supercurse) is that I could sleep for an entire day and still feel utterly exhausted the next day. Oh well, bring on the end of the day, maybe I’ll sneak a nap in when I get home 😉 Today I have another vegan substitute post for you, this one is focused on meat replacements. The first product I’ll review is ASDA’s popcorn chicken. I wasn’t the only one excited by this new product but I hardly ever shop at ASDA so it took me a while to get round to buying it. I go there so rarely that I stocked up my freezer with a couple of bags. I thought they had a good flavour, a nice flaky texture and the southern fried seasoning wasn’t too strong, I’ve had some products which were far too peppery. I also liked that the outside was really crunchy and crispy but the inside was still moist, too often I’ve bought replacements that were dry when cooked, no danger of that here. All in all, they were lovely little bites and I really enjoyed eating them with fries and ketchup. I reckon these would be great for kids. I paid £1.50 for the 250g pack.
Ingredients: Chicken-Style Filling (80%) [Rehydrated Textured Soya Protein (59%), Water, Rapeseed Oil, Onion Purée, Chickpea Flour, Stabiliser (Methyl Cellulose), Rice Flour, Soya Protein Concentrate, Yeast Extract, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Flavouring, Salt, Maltodextrin, Black Pepper] , Southern Fried Coating [Fortified Wheat Flour [Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin (B3), Thiamin (B1)], Water, Rice Flour, Maize Starch, Maize Flour, Wheat Gluten, Black Pepper, Wheat Starch, Salt, Yeast Extract, Fennel, Dextrose, Yeast, Paprika, Black Pepper Extract, Thyme], Rapeseed Oil.
I also picked up the new vegan products from Cauldron. The first pack I tried was the sausages. While cooking them left a thin crispy outer layer, they were pretty soft as sausages go. They had a very powerful flavour, full of spice with a strong taste of tomato. The beans gave the sausages an interesting texture that I quite liked. Overall the sausages had a very Mediterranean feel and tasted almost like a bean goulash. I paid £2.25 for the pack of six sausages (300g) from Sainsbury’s.
Ingredients: Grilled Vegetables (30%) [Red Pepper, Yellow Pepper, Courgette, Onion], Haricot Beans (20%), Water, Wheat Flour, Red Onion, Tapioca Starch, Rusk [Wheat Flour, Salt], Rice Starch, Tomato Powder, Rapeseed Oil, Seasoning [Salt, Yeast Extract, Herbs (Sage, Rosemary, Marjoram, Bay), Onion Powder, Potassium Chloride, Spices (Black Pepper, Nutmeg, White Pepper), Sugar, Maltodextrin, Garlic Powder, Barley Malt Extract Powder, Sunflower Oil, Herb Extracts (Sage, Rosemary), Black Pepper Extract], Herbs & Spices [Oregano, Smoked Paprika, Black Pepper], Tomato Pesto (1.5%) [Tomato Purée, Sunflower Oil, Sugar, Fructose, White Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Red Pepper Juice, Sundried Tomato, Basil Extract, Rubbed Basil, Red Pepper, Salt, Garlic Purée], Natural Flavouring, Stabiliser: Methylcellulose.
I also bought the burgers, the ingredients list is full of flavours that I love so I was looking forward to them. They were thick and felt substantial despite their soft texture. I just didn’t like the flavour, they had a salty sharpness and a strong taste that I couldn’t put my finger on, something that tasted almost Asian. Whatever it was it just felt like the wrong flavour for the burger. Definitely something I wouldn’t buy again. I paid £2.25 for the two pack of burgers (170g) at Sainsbury’s. I neglected to take a photo of the box.
Ingredients: Chickpeas, Cauliflower (12%), Aduki Beans (11%), Broad Beans, Spinach (10%), Onions, Garlic Purée, Rehydrated Potato, Plain Flour (Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch, Maize, Buckwheat), Chipotle Chilli Paste (Chipotle Chilli (0.9%), Onion, Tomato Purée, Vinegar, Garlic, Salt, Coriander), Vegetable Bouillon [Salt, Potato Starch, Maltodextrin, Yeast Extract, Non Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Onion Powder, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Herbs (Lovage, Parsley), Spices (White Pepper, Mace, Nutmeg), Turmeric Extract], Rapeseed Oil, Pea Flour, Smoked Paprika (0.9%), Lime Juice Concentrate, Stabiliser: Methyl Cellulose, Salt, Basil, Black Pepper.
The next product I bought was MacSween’s Single Serving Vegetarian Haggis. I’ve never eaten haggis before so I didn’t know what to expect. You have to take it out of the plastic film in order to cook it, it was kind of a bit crumbly when I removed it and it broke up further as it cooked. I found the cooked product to be a little greasy and like a crumbled mass of pulses, oat and vegetables. I don’t like mushrooms but I didn’t notice them too much in the mix, the haggis had a deep earthy flavour with spices and I liked that. I felt like it was a less compact nut roast. I am not sure if it holds true to a non-vegetarian haggis, and if it would sate your haggis cravings if you are so inclined, but it was pretty tasty and I’d eat it again. I paid £2.39 for the 227g haggis at my local vegan store.
Ingredients: Oats, Water, Vegetable Margarine (Palm Oil, Rapeseed Oil, Water, Salt, Emulsifier (E471), Flavouring), Black Kidney Beans (10%), Carrot (5%), Swede (5%), Mushrooms, Red Split Lentils (5%), Rehydrated Onions, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Salt, Ground Spices.
I also picked up a pack of Viana’s organic hazelnut tofu, I’ve always been curious about this product so I decided to give it a go. It was about the firmness of the other Viana tofu blocks, except it’s larger. It had a bit more texture due to the chopped hazelnuts throughout but I don’t feel like the hazelnuts added much to it. There wasn’t much flavour to the tofu and I much prefer the other Viana blocks which do have added flavours, so I probably wouldn’t buy this again. I paid £2.45 for the 250g block at my local vegan store.
Ingredients: Water, Soya beans (15%), Hazelnuts (11%), Soy Sauce (Water, Soya Beans, Wheat, Sea Salt), Sunflower Oil, Natural Coagulant: Nigari (magnesium chloride).
I really like Wheaty’s space bars so I bought a pack of their organic nuggets from my local vegan store. The outside of the nuggets did have a crispy coating but once they were cooked I found that the coating was thin and kind of sparse, I would have liked a bit more of a crunchy coating. The inside of the nuggets was really dense and a dark colour. For me, it didn’t really resemble nuggets and they tasted more like beef than chicken. I’m not saying that the texture and taste were bad, they were actually quite nice but they just didn’t feel like chicken nuggets to me and they were also quite expensive at £4.04 for 175g. I wouldn’t buy them again, I’ll stick to Fry’s nuggets.
Ingredients: Seitan (water, Wheat Protein) 74%, Coconut Fat, Breadcrumb (WHEAT Flour, Yeast, Salt,), Onion, Yeast Extract, Rock Salt, Oat Fibre, Wheat Starch, Potato Starch, Spices, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Thickening Agent Xanthane.
Linda McCartney have recently released a few products that have got me excited. I picked up their shredded duck and pulled chicken when they arrived on shelves and they have been a staple ever since. The first one I’ll talk about is the shredded hoisin duck pieces. I absolutely love this stuff, it’s just what it says on the tin, shredded pieces of duck with a hoisin flavour. I liked that you get smaller pieces and then a few larger pieces with a bit more chew, I thought that the flavour was good and not too overpowering when mixed with noodles and vegetables. I also liked that even though its frozen the pieces are never stuck together so you never use more than you mean to. Additionally, the bag does last quite a while. I paid £2.50 for the 300g bag in Morrisons.
Ingredients: Rehydrated Textured Soya and Wheat Protein (89%)(Water, Soya Protein, Wheat Gluten, Salt, Soya Bean Oil, Natural Flavouring), Seasoning [Granulated Sugar, Barley Malt Vinegar Powder, Potato Starch, Soya Sauce Powder (Soya and Wheat), Tomato Powder ,Yeast Extract, Caramelised Sugar, Garlic Powder, Spices (Ginger, Fennel, Black Pepper, Aniseed, Cinnamon, Clove), Salt, Malted Barley Extract, Natural Flavouring, Colour: Paprika Extract], Rapeseed Oil, Malted Barley Extract.
While I do love the duck, my favourite of the two has to be the pulled chicken, it has the same great texture although I did feel the chicken was a bit chewier. It had everything I liked about the duck but the chicken had minimal flavouring so I found it was far more versatile. So far I’ve tried it with noodles, made chicken noodle soup with it, had it in toasties with cheese and olives, with pasta, and with bbq sauce in a wrap. My favourite way of using this product is in a chicken noodle soup because the pieces soak up the liquid from the soup and become super moist. I paid £2.50 for the 300g bag at Morrisons. Ingredients: Rehydrated Textured Soya and Wheat Protein (93%) (Water, Soya Protein, Wheat Gluten, Salt, Soya Bean Oil, Natural Flavouring), Rapeseed Oil, Seasoning (Rice Flour, Yeast Extract, Onion Powder, Natural Flavouring, Garlic Powder).
As well as the duck and chicken, Linda McCartney also recently changed their pulled pork quarter pounder burgers so that they are vegan. I obviously had to buy a couple of packs and give them a try. They were the perfect mix of sweet, salty and little spicy. There was a definite bbq taste and they had a very strong flavour that I enjoyed. The patty was like the shredded meats and falls apart as you bite, I felt like it tasted more like beef than pork but I didn’t mind that. I ate my first box without buns but they are also amazing with a bun, cheese, sauce and a bit of crisp lettuce. I paid £2 for a pack of two burgers (227g) at Tesco.
Ingredients: Rehydrated Textured Soya and Wheat Protein (62%), Barbecue Sauce (Water, Tomato Paste, Distilled Barley Malt Vinegar, Muscovado Sugar, Black Treacle, Cornflour, Salt, Onion Powder, Spices, Natural Flavouring), Water, Seasoning (Sugar, Tomato Powder, Maltodextrin, Salt, Cornflour, Natural Flavourings, Onion Powder, Spices, Garlic Powder, Sunflower Oil, Spice Extract), Rapeseed Oil, Soya Protein Concentrate, Stabiliser: Methyl Cellulose, Salt, Soya Bean Oil, Natural Flavourings, Malted Barley Extract.
Fancy checking out some of my other substitute reviews?
What is your favourite vegan meat substitute? Let me know in the comments below,