Vegan diets are varied and healthy – but everyone craves a ready-meal and a biscuit sometimes.
So, we got three experts – two vegan – one omnivore – to rate meatless mains – snacks and desserts.
Here’s the best we found.
Be gone 5:2 – paleo and #eatclean; this summer everything’s coming up vegan.
New research by Ipsos Mori revealed there are now over half a million vegans in Britain – a jump of 350% in the last decade.
Google searches for ‘vegan’ have doubled in the last five years and the number of vegan-friendly products in the UK grew by 134% between 2012 and 2015.
The numbers are rising and while fashion and the ‘lifestyle’ version of healthy eating plays its part (last we heard J-Lo was still struggling bravely on without butter) – for many people the link between meat consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is increasingly difficult to ignore.
Having a plant-based diet isn’t as difficult – or joyless – as the old jokes imply.
If you have the time and inclination to cook – you can create thousands of tasty healthy and exciting dishes with inspiration from Indian, Italian and Middle Eastern cuisines (to name a few).
But cooking from scratch isn’t always practical.
Whether you’re coming home from work late – are off to a barbecue – fancy a guilty treat – or if you’re just not a natural star in the kitchen there ought to be good options for prepared vegan food.
Our panel – a hardcore vegan – a recent vegetarian-to-vegan convert – and omnivorous cookery columnist Felicity Cloak -, who recently went vegan for the week – joined forces to give the market a thorough testing.
Once a grim and limited sector vegan products are improving in range and quality and some actually trumped the animal-derived originals.
But some categories are better than others.
Unsurprisingly meats were the most challenging foodstuff to mimic (some vegans do want to recreate the texture or – dare I say it – taste of meat – without the exploitation of the animal in question).
Meat alternatives often tasted highly processed – salty and sinisterly similar.
Vegan bacon and steak didn’t fare well (‘vegans should just admit we’ll never get our steak’ said one tester) but vegan cheeses were largely better than expected.
The vegan egg was the biggest disappointment – its jaunty carton revealing a sad packet of yellow powder that cooked up to become something with the texture of eggs – but none of their flavour.
Desserts were the most successful – there were so many top-scoring ice-creams and sweet treats that we can’t mention them all.
These producers are setting an example to the rest. Just one comment – calm down with the coconut!
(ed:..these are british products – it would be good to see a similar review/ranking of locally available vegan-treats..
..and a really simple vegan dessert i can recommend is vanilla flavoured soy ice-cream..with a chopped up banana and some blueberries piled on top of it…
..so simple..yet so delicious…)