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Product Review: Quorn ‘Hot & Spicy’ Burgers – by Tod Bradbury

It finally happened! After years of lobbying by vegans across Britain, Quorn has produced vegan products!

Quorn is probably the most well-known meat alternative in the UK, so to have such a big household name producing vegan food shows just how popular veganism is becoming.

The ‘Hot & Spicy’ burgers are very tasty. The coating is nice and crispy with the inside remaining tender and of a good texture. Despite their name, they are not all that hot or spicy but have a pleasant kick to them, which allows one to enjoy them without running for a glass of water after every bite. Perfect for when you are feeling a bit lazy, the burgers go very well with vegan mayonnaise and BBQ sauce.

Serving Suggestion: The Ultimate Double Burger! – Assemble the burgers in a burger bun as follows: Burger, vegan cheese (I used Violife cheddar), BBQ sauce, burger, BBQ sauce, onion rings. Feeling healthy? Add some side salad.

As well as the burgers, Quorn have also brought out vegan ‘Meat Free Pieces’ and both products are currently available from selected Waitrose and Asda stores. Please note that the rest of the Quorn range sadly remains unsuitable for vegans.

Pasta and sauce

Serves 2.

  • 150g dried pasta
  • Jar of tomato-based pasta sauce
  • 100g dairy-free vegan cheese – grated
  • Olives and sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

Method

  1. Boil the pasta as directed on the packet, then drain.
  2. Return the pasta to the saucepan, stir in the sauce and heat gently, stirring frequently.
  3. When warmed through, add the olives and sun-dried tomatoes, if desired, and serve with the dairy cheese scattered on top.

Bangers and mash

Serves 1.

  • 100g potatoes – peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 pack of vegan sausages (such as Fry’s or Linda McCartney)
  • Frozen peas and/or carrots

Boil the potatoes until very soft and then drain and mash, adding a little soya milk or margarine if desired. In a separate pan, boil the peas and carrots until tender, but not too soft. Grill the sausages as directed on the packet. Then serve together with vegetable gravy.

For a Scottish twist, serve with McSween Vegetarian Haggis instead of sausages.

Fishless fingers, chips and peas

fish_fingersServes 1-2.

  • Vegan fish-less fingers (such as VBites or Quorn)
  • Oven chips (most are vegan, but check labels)
  • Peas and/or carrots
  1. Cook the fish-less fingers and chips in the oven as directed.
  2. Boil the veg until tender, but not too soft.
  3. Drain veg and serve with chips, fish-less fingers and sauce of your choice.

 

Pie and roast vegetables

Steak & Kidney Pie & ChipsServes 2.

  • Small butternut squash – peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1-2 parsnips – peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 red pepper – de-seeded and chopped into chunks
  • 1 sweet potato – peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Paprika (optional)
  • Mixed herbs (optional)
  • 2 vegan pies (such as Fry’s or VBites – available from health food shops)
  • Green veg of your choice
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C or Gas Mark 7.
  2. Put the squash, parnsips, pepper and sweet potato in an oven try and coat in the oil. Sprinkle with paprika and herbs if desired.
  3. Cook in the oven for around 40 minutes, turning the veg occasionally to stop it burning.
  4. Cook the pies in the oven on a lower shelf until golden brown
  5. Boil the green veg until tender, but not too soft, and then drain and serve with the pies and roasted veg.

Spaghetti bolognese

Serves 2.

  • 225g frozen soya mince (available from most supermarkets)
  • 1 small onion – peeled and diced
  • 1 fresh garlic clove – peeled and crushed
  • 1 stick of celery – sliced
  • 1-2 carrots – peeled and diced
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 heaped teaspoons tomato puree
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • dash of soy sauce
  • 150g dry spaghetti

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Gently fry all the vegetables with the garlic for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add the tin of tomatoes, stock cube, soy sauce and soya mince and cook slowly for around 30 minutes, stirring frequently and adding more water if the sauce becomes dry.
  4. In a separate pan, cook the spaghetti in boiling water, as directed on the packet.
  5. Serve the bolognese with the cooked spaghetti and grated dairy-free cheese (e.g. Violife Prosociano) if desired.

Thai green curry

Thai Green CurryServes 2-4.

  • 1 onion – peeled and sliced
  • 1 courgette – sliced
  • Mange tout
  • Baby sweetcorn
  • 1 red pepper – de-seeded and chopped
  • 100g Mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • Small can of coconut milk
  • Vegan Thai green curry paste (such as Thai Taste)
  • Rice or rice noodles
  1. Fry the onion until soft, then add the other vegetables and cook for a few more minutes.
  2. Add the can of coconut milk and the curry paste and simmer until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Cook the rice or rice noodles as directed on the packet and then serve with the curry.

For extra protein, and an aurthentic twist, add some cubes of tofu when frying the vegetables.

Stir fry and rice

stir_fryServes 2.

  • 1 carrot – peeled and sliced
  • 1 courgette – peeled and sliced
  • 1 red pepper – de-seeded and sliced
  • 50g mushrooms – washed and sliced
  • 1 leek – washed and sliced
  • Handful of unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 sachet of vegan stir-fry sauce (Blue Dragon labels its vegan ones)
  • 150g basmati rice
  1. Cook the rice as directed on the packet
  2. In the meantime, heat the oil in a wok or large pan.
  3. Add the chopped veg and cashews and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Pour the stir fry sauce over the cooked veg, briefly stir, then serve with the rice.

Lentil dahl and rice

Serves 3-4daal

  • 1 onion – peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves – peeled and crushed
  • 2 tsp grated root ginger
  • 1 tsp garam masala (or curry powder)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 mug-full of red lentils
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. In a saucepan, fry the onion until golden
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala and turmeric and cook for a minute or two more, stirring frequently.
  3. Add two mugs of water to the saucepan, followed by one mug of red lentils and simmer until the lentils are soft.
  4. Cook the rice as directed on the packet and serve with the dahl

For additional flavour and nutrition, you can also add a handful of sliced mushrooms before the ginger and garam masala, and/or a small bag of spinach just as the lentils begin to turn soft.

Spicy parsnip patties

parsnipServes 2.

  • 350g parsnips – peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek – washed and finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove – peeled and crushed
  • 25g dairy-free margarine (such as Pure or Vitalite)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  1. Boil the parsnips for 10 minutes until tender.
  2. In a separate pan, melt the margarine and fry the garlic, coriander, cumin and turmeric for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the leek and cook for another 3 minutes.
  4. Drain and mash the parsnips, stir in the leek mixture and then leave to cool.
  5. Shape into patties and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side.
  6. Serve with a fresh salad, or in a bun with ketchup and chips.