Budget vegan pies – in a tin!

Fray Bento Vegetable Balti Pie in a tin

Fray Bentos Vegetable Balti Pies reviewed

Now you can even get vegan pies in a tin!

With the announcement that Pie kings Fray Bentos had dipped a toe into the vegan market, those of us who love cheap pies were dancing in the kitchen and hunting down our tin openers in anticipation.

Not only is this another option for vegan pie lovers, it’s also cheap and requires no freezer – or even a fridge – for storage. Plus, and it’s a big plus, they only cost £1 (when I got mine) at B&M or Morrisons – it’s wonderful that veganism on a budget just gets easier and easier! It must be said however, this isn’t specifically marketed as a vegan product, it’s sold more as a veggie option and they’ve left it to us to publicise the fact it’s also vegan-friendly.

Before you start, you do need a strong tin open to prise off the lid – but once you’ve got that far you just throw it in the oven for 25 minutes – no baking tray needed! Plus, the tin design means the packaging is 100% recyclable and the best before date is an impressive 18 months away – so you can really stock up while they’re on offer! Obviously, unless you wish to blow up the kitchen with a pretty fireworks display, you can’t microwave it – but whoever heard of microwaving a pie anyway? Soggy, radiated pastry? No thanks.

Cooked Fray Bentos pie

The first thing to note after the pie is cooked is that it isn’t particularly pretty. If food aesthetics is your thing, then this is not the product for you. The top of the pie on mine looked like it had been blown up with a foot pump with the filling making a desperate attempt at freedom from the pastry prison – but it didn’t affect the taste in the slightest. It is also a little difficult to get the thing out of the tin and on to the plate – but even Linda McCartney pies have that issue in removing them from their foil home. And, crucially, it doesn’t really stick, so you can get all of the pie out rather than throwing vital bits of pastry away when you’ve finished serving up.

But what about the taste?

It’s good. As a curry-based delight, it isn’t too spicy, there is a slight kick, but nothing overpowering.

Although, I have some sympathy with those vegans that complain about how all vegan options seem to come with some degree of spicy kick or heat these days – and not all vegans are spice lovers like myself.

The pie’s sauce is pretty thick and meaty for a vegan offering – and I really appreciated the abundance of vegetables available – especially the peas! I’ve felt for a long time that peas have been the most under-appreciated of all the vegetables in a vegan’s cupboard. I put peas in everything and I’m glad they’re well represented here.

The pie is a nice big unit too – many vegan offerings just aren’t big enough and throw in a couple of portions of chips and you can even feed two with Fray Bentos’ foray into veganism.

The pastry itself is also rather tasty. It’s crispy on top and melts in the mouth through its reaction with the sauce, which it complements perfectly.

The list of ingredients is rather long, which isn’t always a great sign, but most of what is on the list is natural and there’s a nice long list of spices. In short, there’s very little to fault here.

Another win for vegans on a budget.

Fray Bento Vegetable Balti Pie ingredients list

Review – Goodfella’s Vegan Stonebaked Falafel Pizza

 

The rise in vegan products on supermarket shelves has meant a race to get new and interesting products out there recently.

Pizza seems to be the latest battleground for those fighting for the vegan pounds.

I grabbed (literally) this the falafel pizza out of the Sainsbury’s freezer faster than you can say “hummus aisle”. The price of £2.50 for a normal-sized pizza helped too!

Facebook comments when I posted a picture seem to centre around “why does everything revolve around falafel?” I can sympathise with that view – I’m actually not a huge falafel fan – they can be a bit dry!

On close inspection of the ingredients list, it seems there’s also a “hummus drizzle” – falafel and hummus make the perfect go-to vegan marriage – and that coupling alone will take many to vegan heaven – what a threesome: pizza, falafel and hummus!

To be honest, I didn’t really notice the hummus drizzle – I think it’s more of a trickle than a drizzle. But, on the whole, the pizza is nice.

Pizza whole

There’s lots of topping – it’s especially heavy on the falafel (it is a falafel pizza after all) and the red pepper. There seemed to be a fair bit of spinach too – so you can tell your friends that it’s a slightly healthy meal! It looks very colourful too.

The base is nice and crispy – and certainly not too thick. The falafel is the dominant flavour, but there’s a mild to medium spicy kick. It’s not overly overpowering, but it raises the taste stakes above the bland.

And it needs that kick – the falafel alone isn’t enough to captivate my taste-buds’ interest, but the not-too-powerful kick gives it an extra layer of much-needed flavour. It isn’t too fiery, and I think most people will be able to handle it – I’m certainly not a “the hotter the better type person in the heat stakes.

It isn’t a messy pizza eating wise. This is probably due to the fact there’s no vegan cheese. It relies on the falafel as its main selling point – and I think this works – to an extent. But there’s nothing to stop vegans adding their own toppings to liven things up! For me, a pizza is naked without mushrooms – at least one Facebook friend added vegan cheese to hers and many will miss tomato slices. Garlic and chilli peppers could be an addition for those who do like to taste more spice.

All in all, it’s nice, but it didn’t fill me up. I do eat a lot – if I’m honest – so a side of onion rings or chips makes it the perfect Saturday evening meal.

Finally, I must also add that there are a lot of independent vegan firms now producing pizzas – they may be slightly more expensive, but we all want to support our local health food shops, don’t we?

Pizza ingredients