Monday, 26 March 2012

Good Vegetarian Versions of Meat Products

There are plenty of 'substitutes' around, in fact so many and such good examples that I don't feel they should be considered substitutes now. They are just a version, and very handy some of them are, too, since most relevant recipes work equally well with them.

Here are some of the vegetarian versions often dished up in our kitchen.

Linda McCartney sausages
I always have two types of these. The OM likes the Linda McCartney (plain) vegetarian sausages but is less keen on the Italian or tomato-added type. They're based on cereal and vegetable protein. These are currently £1 for 5 (sometimes 6) at Iceland, and some supermarkets match this price periodically. I like them too, but prefer ....

Tesco Meat Free
Lincolnshire Sausages

... the Lincolnshire type which most large supermarkets offer. These are Tesco's Meat-free Lincolnshire Style, which are soya based. The offer shown here, typically tempting multi-buy, is 2 packs for £3, which makes them 25p each.

We usually roast sausages with a splash of oil in a moderate oven for 35 mins, adding some quartered red onions for the last 20 minutes. The OM makes a good toad-in-the-hole with two of each kind, accompanied by a great onion gravy.

Garden Gourmet Vegetarian
Chargrilled Burgers 
Not so keen on vegetable-based burgers as they don't seem to keep their shape that well and have little 'chewability'. Tesco used to stock quarterpounder chargrilled burgers, which were favourite, but these seem to have vanished, leaving only the thinner types although I like those too. Currently we're enjoying these Garden Gourmet Vegetarian Chargrilled Burgers - packs of 4, each 75g (a little under 3oz), soya and wheat protein. Good in a bun or a folded slice of toast, with chilli relish, onion, and maybe cheese.

Asda's packs of 8 meat-free burgers, again soya and wheat proteins, are good, each just under 60g (fraction over 2oz).

Fillets and Chunks
Quorn Fillets
Quorn fillets (frozen) look like small chicken breasts, and are just as versatile. They can be shallow fried, baked in sauce and so on, and are low-fat and low-calorie. They also do a good pack of 2 lemon and cracked black pepper escalopes. Quorn is made from mycoprotein, which belongs to the family of fungi and which is fully approved by the Vegetarian Society.

Other Quorn products worth a go include their mince, which makes a shepherd's pie that my rellies couldn't tell didn't contain beef mince. "But we know you wouldn't use real mince!" Quorn chunks are like cubes of chicken which are good in a stir-fry or a sauce, or as a filling for pasties. I have a number of my own recipes for these products including Budapest and Mater versions.

We recently found also that Asda's own soya mince, tried in a shepherd's pie, is excellent, too.

I realise of course that I am backing some products here from the large supermarkets, and probably the producers supply smaller shops and the other supermarkets with identical or slightly adapted versions. But if the concept of similar-to-meat is acceptable, then these are all very good, and have a place in our freezer.


  1. I do like a veggie Lincolnshire sausage but have to admit that my absolute fave are Quorn versions!

  2. Quorn bangers are good, too. But Lincolnshires roasted then served with Wilkin & Sons Tiptree Tomato Ketchup are the business.

  3. Have you come across any vegetarian gluten free mince or chicken? Both myself & a daughter have problems with gluten and while I'm okay to eat meat my daughter is absolutely against the idea. She's also devastated at the idea of having to give up her beloved Quorn...

  4. It's a difficult one, Christine. I've had a trawl around the net and it seems some dried soya mince could fit the bill, but the ingreds need scrutiny. Holland and Barrett stock some gluten-free vegan ready meals e.g. vegan mac'n'cheese. Staff there & at other whole-food shops should be able to help you find suitable mince - it would probably have to be in dried form and vegan. I'm experimenting with quinoa as a poss mince alternative at present. If it works or anything else crops up, I'll let you know!