The year is 2020 and if you haven’t noticed, it seems everyone is releasing their own vegan items for the masses to consume. People in the UK have dubbed this month “Veganuary” and as such a decent amount of fast food outlets have responded accordingly with their own vegan-friendly menu options. Here at UDS we have the lowdown on what you should digest and what you should protest. (Note: I am a Vegetarian, however I used to eat a lot of meaty fast food so I have experience in this field)
“But Craig this is a pop culture website” I hear you cry! Well reader I argue that food is always in the cultural zeitgeist, the more depressing aspect is that this is more of a “food fad” when really more pro-Earth food should always be in popular culture. Do not think about that too much though! Enjoy!
Greggs’ Vegan Sausage Roll
Released early 2019 this was the original product that got people talking everywhere about Greggs and in the process made vegans happy. Some said it couldn’t be done, some said it shouldn’t be done, some said it wouldn’t taste anything like a “regular sausage roll” but Greggs seemed to have created something somewhat convincingly similar to the “real” thing.
Whilst the overall look and feel of the roll seems somewhat similar to the regular sausage roll, it is a lot more flaky most likely due to the lack of egg wash that it’s meaty brother receives. Upon research I found that the meat replacement used is Quorn based, to my surprise. The traditional Quorn product can be bland, however Greggs have blended their spices and “meat” similar to how they make their sausage meat and it really does make a difference.
The taste is on par with the regular product and is definitely worth your money.
4 out of 5 Stars
Greggs’ Vegan Steak Bake
Could Greggs’ hit it out of the park two times in a row? The Fake Bake as it is being called on the street has Quorn mycoprotein pieces encased swimming with gravy all wrapped up in a puff pastry pocket. Sadly however it does not hold up to the standards that were established in the Greggs’ Vegan Sausage Roll.
The texture can be described as a little thick due to the gravy and whilst the Quorn product can replicate sausage quite successfully when it comes to steak it struggles. In no way does it taste like the real Steak Bake in anyway but still tastes pleasant. If you’re in Greggs and do not fancy any meat then this is a pretty OK choice, especially if they have sold out of the vegan sausage rolls, but nothing I’d consider a go to choice.
2 out of 5 Stars
Wagamama’s Yasai Katsu Curry
I’ve always enjoyed the Katsu Curry that Wagamama serve! The breaded chicken Katsu Curry is a well-renowned classic and my personal favourite for when I go to Wagamama. Then I turned vegetarian… Then the Seitan Katsu Curry became my favourite, usually with an extra portion of Curry Sauce on the side (hot tip: it’s free!).
Wagamama is showing us with the Yasai Katsu Curry that you can now cover vegetables in panko breadcrumbs too! Aubergine, butternut squash & sweet potato feature instead of chicken (or chicken substitute) with the classic katsu curry sauce and sticky rice we’ve all grown to love.
This dish is definitely not lacking in taste and any vegan would be happy with this feast. Personally however swapping out Seitan for aubergine and squash just feels wrong to me and because of this it stops it from getting that perfect score.
4 out of 5 Stars
KFC’s Original Recipe Vegan Burger
In my mind this was always the big one. KFC is known for being so very tasty (at the cost of healthiness and well, slaughter) so for them to delve into something that is not just chicken but also vegan friendly is something that is going to make people talk. Before even purchasing the product it’s important to note that it does not come in a true “meal” due to chips not being vegan friendly, so you’re going to be content with the burger and drink (perhaps a side salad or corn?).
The burger consists of the vegan burger fillet in a crispy skin, lettuce and vegan mayonnaise contained within a bread bun. The fillet itself is chicken style made with Quorn and the colonel’s herbs and spices to add some kick and a little taste but the burger is just too dry to recommend. Usual KFC sandwiches have the moisture of the chicken and sauces to help this problem, sadly the mayonnaise and lettuce didn’t do anything and this hurts the experience.
If you’re vegan and you’re in KFC, do not waste your money on their vegan burger. If you are anything like me you’ll just end up getting half way through looking at a dry fillet sadly pressed against some vegan mayonnaise and lettuce wondering why they didn’t at least throw some ketchup in there for good measure.
1 out of 5 Stars
Subway’s Meatless Meatball Marinara Melt
I have always been a big fan of Subway, since becoming vegetarian though options have been very limited. I enjoyed the Subway Melt, Chicken Pizzola and Meatball Marinara, then as soon as I turned vegetarian the only choice that was open to me was Veggie Patty or a salad sandwich. My hopes of being excited for Subway once again lay with the plant based “meatballs”.
As with every Subway experience you pick your bread (Hearty Italian, everytime) and the “main” as it were is the meatless meatballs in marinara sauce, I had sweetcorn, regular cheese, onions and a small bit of mayonnaise in addition also.
Out of all the products tried on this list, the plant based meatballs were the closest and tastiest of all of the vegan options. The meatballs tasted exactly like their meaty counter-part albeit a tad drier, which can easily be solved with extra marinara sauce (I have had a second M.M and can confirm this to be the case).
I did not try the vegan cheese. I have heard mixed things about it, looking at them they look like tiny dairylea lunchable squares and if you’re trying to go full vegan then you’ll probably need triple cheese to be satisfied.
This is the best vegan option I have tried and with all the customisable options available at Subway I find it is the easiest to recommend. Go eat one!
5 out of 5 Stars
Hats off to Subway as they have the best vegan option available on the market. There are two big ones I have yet to try these being Pizza Hut’s Pepperphoni Pizza and McDonald’s Veggie Dippers. I do not hold out much hope for these, especially the Veggie Dippers but if you’ve tried them let me know!
“Veganuary” serves a good platform not just helpful for vegans but for people who want to experiment and have variety with their food without having to have meat. This list is by no means exhaustive, but serves as a good starting point for vegan fast food options which can hopefully only get better with time.