Everyone’s trying to get a slice of your Vegan shopping budget this January, but Nick finds ASDA has got the edge
As a semi-vegan /vegetarian for a year now (Like Boris I won’t give up delicious cheese, nor fabulous charcuterie), I don’t really approve of Vegan products masquerading as meat. Vegan and vegetarian meals can be delicious in their own right.
However, I do see that for the hardened carnivore, or awkward kids, a bit of visual deception is a good idea. Sneak up on them with your plant-based solutions and get them hooked.
ASDA, not normally my go-to supermarket, mostly because I don’t have near me – we’re Lidl and Aldi country around this corner of London – has gone veggie in a big way with’Asda Plant Based’ Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the retailer’s first own brand label dedicated to plant based meals, all approved by the Vegan Society.
And we mean big; there are 48 products on offer including mushroom-based, meat-free quarter pounder style burgers, duckless spring rolls, No-Zzarella sticks, vegan dirty fries and the range is the most affordable on the market with products starting from £1.50.
I made the effort to procure some samples: ASDA Plant Based Meat-Free Sausages, ASDA Plant Based Loaded Potato Skins and ASDA Plant Based Meat-Free Meatballs.
So first the sausages. The main ingredient is mushrooms both white and oyster, and then comes roasted red onion, red pepper, chickpea flour and a whole load of flavourings. There are no wheat products in there.We made a toad in the hole, so obviously not entirely vegan as there was egg in the batter and not gluten free either. We aren’t hair shirt though.
Adjusting the time a bit to allow for the fact that the sausages don’t need to be cooked as well as meat, what came out would have fooled any meat eater as far as looks went.
Taste wise, well very good indeed. The mushrooms giving a meat-like texture as well as umami. Chickpea flour is the second biggest ingredient in onion bhajis, and we all know how good they taste when done right. Yes, definitely a sausage success.
As I say, there’s no way on earth I’m giving up cheese. Ever. I know the arguments about cows and global warming and all that, but my plant based eating is about not being keen on animals dying. Animals being milked I am fine with.
Anyway, vegans don’t eat dairy so ASDA Plant Based Loaded Potato Skins contain none. Looking at the ingredients I can’t quite work out how they make the’cheese’ but it looks cheesy enough.
We rather overcooked them in the Ninja Grill, so the spuds went a bit leathery, but with a handful of salad they made an acceptable lunch. I think the microwave would have been a better option. Not bad overall, quite tasty, I still prefer cheese.
Finally meatballs, looking at the pack they seem to contain the same ingredients as the sausages, just a different shape. There are a lot of ingredients in both so I can’t be 100% sure of that.
These we put in the Ninja and they came out glossy, firm, a little bit crunchy on the outside and generally what you want meatballs to be.
We toyed with having them Italian-style in a tomato sauce, but realising we had some avocados about to become compost if left any longer, we put together a couscous with chopped fresh tomatoes, red onion, red pepper, herbs and avocado and popped the balls on top.
Excellent. Very tasty indeed and one I’d happily have again.
If these samples are anything to go by, ASDA have managed to nail the vegan thing very well and I’ll be back to try some more.
See below a selection of key products launching within the new Asda Plant Based range, description is by ASDA
Ã¢â€”Â Meat Free Burger: The ultimate quarter pounder style burger, made with mushroom, eats like meat. Price.
Ã¢â€”Â Smoky Tofu Burrito: Bursting with warming flavours, juicy tofu and vibrant vegetables, the Smoky Tofu Burrito is a delicious plant-based meal.
Ã¢â€”Â Duckless Spring Rolls: perfect for pairing with a portion of rice noodles.
Ã¢â€”Â Dirty Fries: Smothered in a tangy, non-dairy creamy sauce, the potato fries are dripping in flavour. Topped with lashings of cheddar alternative and Roquito chilli peppers.
Ã¢â€”Â Sweet Potato Katsu Curry: Mild, creamy and a tasty meat-free alternative to a British favourite dish.
Ã¢â€”Â Cheese’ and Chive Potato Skins: Oozing with melted cheese alternative and sprinkle of fragrant chives.
Ã¢â€”Â Tomato & Halloumi Balls: They’re perfectly paired with the Plant Based Lentil Fusilli Ragu to create a meat-free take on a British staple.
Ã¢â€”Â Butternut Mac: A creamy, plant-based alternative to Mac and Cheese, this dish is made with butternut squash.
Ã¢â€”Â Cauliflower Tikka Masala: Slightly spiced, creamy and a heavenly delight for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
Ã¢â€”Â Mushroom Arancini: Brimming with succulent mushrooms, cheese alternative and risotto, the balls are battered in breadcrumbs.
Ã¢â€”Â Falafel Burgers: Made from ground chickpeas and fava beans, this is a delicious dish for those with a desire for a crispy burger.
Ã¢â€”Â Tomato and Pesto Flatbread: Get a pizza the action with Asda’s new Tomato and Pesto Flatbread Pizza.