Farmfoods are Quorn to be wild with this great vegan burger bargain

Quorn Burger and chips

The lockdown is hitting many people in the pocket, so any budget vegan food is to be welcomed at the moment, but this is something else!

Farmfoods has a big bag of Quorn Ultimate Vegan Burgers for £3.99 – and by big, I mean 2kg! I counted 18 burgers in my bag, and they are a decent size too.

Bag of vegan burgers.
A bag of Quorn Ultimate Vegan Burgers from Farmfoods

These thick and meaty burgers are perfect for a family and even better for a barbecue. Farmfoods also has its usual “three for a fiver” offer on its Veggie Kitchen range too – that’s reviewed here.

Now, calling anything “ultimate” is a huge claim – do they live up to the claim?

Well, the burgers themselves grill or fry from frozen in 12 to 14 minutes, and they colour nicely too. They have that chargrilled look about them when they’ve cooked and boast a meaty feel and texture. They’re not overly chewy though and have a nice bite to them.

To me, they taste burger-like too. I can’t remember exactly what meat burgers taste like, but I personally couldn’t see non-vegans complaining.

Some vegans don’t like the trend of making vegan food more meat-like. As a long-standing vegan, I can understand this and relate to this point of view. I can also see how it’s an advantage for new vegans missing the taste and texture of meat and for those vegans wanting something which meat-eaters can also enjoy.

Some may prefer their vegan burgers with a little more spice and, if I’m honest, I wouldn’t have minded the addition of a kick of black pepper, but the lack of an overbearing flavour can be seen as an advantage too – I can envisage these going down well with kids – vegan or not.

I had mine with chips for the purpose of this review, but I can imagine gravy complementing this perfectly – they’d also go well in a vegan cheeseburger I believe.

As you can see from the ingredients below, they are soy-free but not gluten-free.

Quorn does have a sustainable palm oil policy which you can read here

Quorn Ultimate Vegan Burgers ingredient list
Quorn Ultimate Vegan Burgers ingredients

 

My vegan love of TVP – stop demonising soya

Soya chunks with vegetables in a pan

What is TVP?

When I first became vegetarian and then vegan, textured vegetable protein – TVP or soya chunks was about the only meat replacement I could get hold of locally.

You could and can get it either flavoured or unflavoured and in either chunks or mince.

As a dried replacement, it lasts for ages and grows when “rehydrated”. It’s brilliant as soaking up flavours and the cheapest meat replacement out there.

Admittedly, it doesn’t look all that appetising, but it tastes just fine.

Bags of dried TVP - mince and chunks

Is TVP good for you?

Yes.

It’s low in fat and calories and high in fibre. It’s a complete protein too.

But, it’s also highly processed and so some people may wish to avoid it. It’s good in moderation, like most things in my view

What’s so bad about soya?

The UK imports ton tonnes of soya a year – estimates state thirty to sixty per cent of this is from sustainable sources. One per cent of the UK population is vegan – so it stands to reason we are not the main consumer of all that soya.

Seventy per cent of the soya imports in 2018 came from soya meal – in other words, animal feed.

We also import soya oil and animal products which have already ingested soya.

It’s all explained here

Soya imports are responsible for 47 per cent of the European Union deforestation footprint. Palm oil is responsible for a minute 10 per cent in comparison – yes, soya is a more devastating crop than palm oil – but it’s down to the meat industry, not veganism.

Can soya be grown in the UK?

Yes, in short.

Check out this page from Soya UK – http://www.soya-uk.com/soya/

I would go as far as saying, as vegans are just one per cent of the population, the UK could grow enough soya to feed us easily – it’s the animal agriculture industry which is consuming it all.

Why do I love TVP?

It’s cheap. In fact, in some good independent health food shops, you can buy it as a refill and measure out how much you need.

It lasts for ages in the cupboard.

It’s so adaptable – the mince is good for bolognaise, chilli, shepherd’s pie etc

The chunks are great in a curry, or with pasta – I rehydrate them and fry them with garlic and in soya sauce sometimes – or Henderson’s Relish. And just serve with rice.

I also like to rehydrate unflavoured TVP chunks in vegetable stock, stir fry with onion, mushrooms and broccoli and mix with penne or pasta shells using vegan mayo or pesto as the sauce depending on my mood. A good grind of black pepper also adds a nice kick.

Incidentally, when I did the Ration Challenge last year – Read about it here – I chose TVP as my extra protein rather than tofu as, unhydrated, you get much more TVP for the allowed weight than you do tofu and it lasts longer too.

Hand holding dried TVP chunks

 

No Bull, it’s a bloody vegan burger

 

DSC_0088

The Iceland No Bull vegan burgers were eagerly anticipated thanks to the PR machine going into overdrive on social media.

Sold as being “meat-like” and being “bloody” (well beetroot juice bloody anyway), they were marketed as vegan burgers for those who miss meat – or vegan burgers for non-vegans I guess.

I fell into the “why do you want it to look like meat?” camp when I first heard about them. But, as others pointed out online, new vegans and vegetarians may miss the texture and look of meat and want something a little more authentic than seasoned vegans such as yours truly.

 

 

Package

I do like the rustic packaging – that gives it a “meat feel” from the word go – but plain, to me, says “better for the environment” more than anything else – so that’s a thumbs-up.

I also like the ingredients list – which, for a processed food item, is pretty small really – that, to me, suggests less nasty additives, which is always a good thing.

Ingredients

At £2 for a pack of two quarter pounder burgers, the price is right too. By their size, the four to six- minute cooking time quoted on the pack is optimistic at best. I’ll try cooking them in the oven next time as there’s a real risk of burning the outside before the middle is done – I had to microwave mine to add heat.

They certainly look and taste meaty. I can’t remember what a beef burger tastes like, but I doubt it’s as good as this. It does look red too – it doesn’t exactly bleed, but it does look like a meat burger – whether this is a good or bad thing is up to the individual.

They’re both tender and succulent and they really do melt in the mouth – without falling apart while cooking – an issue with some veggie burgers.

The important thing is it’s a substantial meal and while it looks and tastes rustic, it packs a flavour punch way beyond its bargain price tag. They have a hint of spice and you can’t taste the beetroot – although I’m sure it adds to the overall flavour of the impressive meal.

I bought mine from an Iceland Food Warehouse and was impressed by their vegan selection – as well as these and the usual Linda McCartney offering, they had a few Frys and vegan Quorn products as well as the new vegan-friendly Indian range recently introduced.