Nothing beats cooking vegan food from scratch, but Asda’s new range of vegan meals in a tin are great for those in a hurry or out camping.
Supermarkets have really upped their vegan game in the last couple of years – so much so, that some independent vegan shops are feeling the strain. But, with many vegans also feeling the strain financially and, it has to be said, time-wise, these little gems will come as an enticing alternative to slaving away in the kitchen. There is a certain stigma attached to eating meals from a tin – but it’s no different to any other processed food – in fact, tins are recyclable and much of the plastic containers housing other vegan processed meals are not.
Priced at either £1.25 or £1.50 a tin, they are pocket-friendly too. You can stretch them by throwing in your own ingredients too – for example, I add mushrooms to anything resembling a pasta meal.
So what do they taste like?
Jackfruit Thai Red Curry.
There has been a lot of hype of jackfruit, so to see it getting a look in with this new range shouldn’t be a surprise – although one of my Facebook friends described this meal as “ming”!
I thought it was a bit better than that. I liked the crunchy veg and the pleasant spicy hit – I ate it with a biryani which gave it even more heat but, even so, it wasn’t overpowering. The refreshing crunch of the water chestnuts was the best bit for me and the heat actually masked any flavour from the veg – although, jackfruit is pretty tasteless in itself anyway. But overall it did the job.
Despite most of them being vegan-friendly, all of the range are labelled “vegetarian” – which is odd.
This one is basically soya mince in a Bolognese sauce.
It’s OK. Tesco does one with the spaghetti already mixed in if you’re ultra-lazy but, personally, I like the bite of freshly boiled pasta. This one still tastes like it came out of a tin – but it has, so that shouldn’t be a huge surprise. It has a meaty feel, smell, but unfortunately, the tomatoes are relegated to a background status – in fact, there is hardly any evidence of their presence at all when it comes to taste.
Vegetarian Lentil Ragu
This is my favourite. It reminds me of Jack Monroe’s Tin Bolognese recipe in terms of taste and texture – https://cookingonabootstrap.com/2018/10/05/tin-bolognese-recipe/?fbclid=IwAR0YXJBZCAAVWpAS53hbyYAJMplcYp5mJw_HLOlvR_FVP6nh6xOmaqu07zs
I prefer it to the above Bolognese as the lentils give it more substance and a nicer taste. The tomato sauce is more prominent too.
I thoroughly recommend both this one and trying Jack’s recipe.
Smoky Three Bean Chilli
This is two chilli hot – which is about the right heat for me. It has the spice but maintains the taste of the other ingredients.
This one certainly smells like chilli and it has a nice thickness to it too. The smokiness is married to a distinctive spicy hit and it’s certainly full of beans – in fact, all of these meals are packed with veg, which makes a nice change.
A nice surprise.
There have been vegan-friendly versions of this tinned favourite around for years – even the Stagg veggie Chilli is accidentally vegan, and they’re all pretty adequate when it comes to making a jacket potato filling. I’m a bit odd, so I had this one with pasta – try it, I believe it works pretty well.
There’s a mild to medium heat here and a pleasant enough after-taste. The vegetable chunks impress once again and the overall feeling is one of a thumbs-up rating.
Sweet Potato Coconut Curry
Welcome to my second favourite in this range. Although the sauce in this one is thinner, the taste isn’t. I love the flavour of the coconut combined with a medium-hot curry. There’s a lovely smoothness here and the colour is more appealing than some of the others. I’d definitely recommend this one with rice.
Overall, the range offers what you’d expect from tinned meals at a reasonable price – certainly a good option when you’re in a rush.