“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Vegetarians „
I love cooking and trying out new recipes & since recently becoming Vegan I've tried quite a lot of new foods including a range of meat substitutes.
I used Quorn back when I was Veggie but as it contains egg I decided to look for an alternative when I made the transition from vegeterian to vegan. I came across Tesco's meat free range quite recently and seeing as it is really cheap I decided to buy a few of the products to try including their meat free mince. This can be found in the frozen aisle with all of the other meat free products and it is only available from Tesco.
A 454 gram bag of the mince retails at just £1.75 - a bargain considering one bag is enough for at least two large portions. Tesco are also doing a long term mix and match two for £3.00 offer on their meat free products which works out even cheaper - much cheaper than real meat!
The packaging is pretty basic - it's not particularly attractive but it is distinctive and easily recogniseable amongst the other meat free products. The mince comes in a plastic bag which needs cutting open and the colour scheme is predominantly green. The branding (eg Tesco logo, product name) is clear and easy to read and there's a picture on the front of spaghetti bolegnaise.
The mince should be kept frozen and it doesn't need defrosting. I always fry it (which is very quick - it doesn't take half as long as real mince to cook through) and then either eat it straight away or pop it in the slow cooker for a bit depending on what recipe I'm making.
It is very versatile and it goes with almost anything but I mainly use this for spaghetti bolegnaise or to bulk out stir frys and rice dishes. The mince itself does resemble 'real' mince - it looks almost identical but a little lighter in colour compared to real meat and the texture is similar without actually tasting too real which will be an advantage for people who dislike the texture of real meat.
The smell of this is okay - it isn't particularly appetising but it's not overpowering either. It's not at all fatty or greasy and the taste as long as I add a lot of seasoning or sauce is pretty nice but not the most realistic which I am sure won't be an issue for all you fellow Vegans out there.
People who eat a lot of meat and buy this for a change might not be keen at first but I think it's great. One of the biggest advantages is that unlike a lot of other meat substitutes it doesn't go soggy when it's cooked. There are 185 calories in 100 grams and it's very filling. The mince is made from soya protein, vegetable oil, glucose and a range of seasonings.
Overall this is a reasonably tasty meat free mince and it is cheap and vesatile. Recommended.
I have been a vegetarian now for over 15 years. In this time I can safely say Ive tried almost every meat free and meat equivalent product that Tescos, Sainsbury's and Asda have to offer. One thing with meat I have always hated is mine meat. If I ever go back to eating meat, I will never eat this, I think its is smelly and disgusting. It is for these reasons that quite a few meat eaters I know substitute mince for either this product or the quorn mince.
I tried the quorn mince product in a few things, spaghetti bolognaise, and lasagne (for example) and quite enjoyed it. Next time I went to buy it, I saw this was available and it appeared to be a similar product and was much cheaper. Having now tried the Tesco product, I will always buy this one unless the Quorn one is on special offer, as there didnt seem any difference to me.
The mince comes in a plastic bag. I am not sure if the bag is recyclable or not. The mice itself comes in small even shaped shunks. I have only ever cooked this mince by frying it. It only takes a few minutes, mainly to defrost it. It can then be added to any sort of dish you like. The taste itself is a little bland, but it is non offensive and the dishes I cook it in have added flavour anyway. Cooking this mince has the added benfit that there is no disgusting small and there is no horrible juices that come out of it. This mince is very low calorie, so great for dieters.
It must be at least three decades since I last ate mince. I remember that we had to cook with it at school with our special heart-disease cookbooks. I was never very impressed. Mince always made me want to heave and - to this day - I don't know why anyone would willingly buy it. There is so much nice food out there.
That said, I am not going to be comparing meat and soya as I can't really remember what meat tastes like. I rarely buy foods that resemble meat - but this stuff is useful for making the easiest meal in the world - spaghetti bolognaise - so I buy it now and again. One bag lasts for ages - as I have banned my daughter from making it every time she cooks! Sautee an onion, add garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes or tomato pasta sauce, oregano and seasoning and cook for 15-20 mins. It's a doddle.
A 454g bag of this mince costs £1.99 at Tesco. For three people, I use only about a quarter or less of the bag. I sometimes add some lentils to my spag bol - this makes it go further. The bag is always useful to have in the freezer for a super quick meal - and at the very reasonable price of £1.99, this is not a problem.
Some people may think that this product is like Quorn - but it is not. Quorn is made from a fungus protein (and includes egg so is not vegan). Meat-free mince is made from rehydrated soya protein and rehydrated wheat protein.
A serving contains 3.8g of fat and 115 calories and 0.6g of salt.
Compared to meat, I think that the fat content is much less which makes this product a healthier alternative.
Ease of cooking
As you do not need to consider the huge bacterial load of meat, this product is easy to store and cook with. I just throw it into the pan at any point. The plastic packaging's cooking instructions suggest you only need to cook it for 13 mins before it is ready to eat! I am also considering making some vegan burgers with these - just to see if it is possible.
In a sauce, this meat-free mince tastes chunky and substantial. TVP is by nature bland and it takes on the taste of the sauce around it. This product does this well, resulting in a meal that is as good as your sauce, full of protein and fairly healthy. I enjoy eating it very much - as do other members of my family. I think it makes a particularly good easy, Autumnal supper.
It is a great product (as long as you do not eat a gluten-free diet) to have in the freezer as it is so easy to use and can be the basis of a delicious, healthy meal.
A very low fat alternative to minced beef
We are not vegetarian in our family, but I am always on the look out for value for money and nutritious food. While chatting to some of my work colleagues one vegetarian mentioned Tesco meatfree mince and another non-vegetarian said how good it was. As someone always keen to try new products, the next time I was at Tesco I bought a packet.
It can be found in the freezer section in the vegetarian section and comes in a green pack as the picture above shows.
The contents, before cooking, look light slightly anemic minced beef and it is made from a blend of soya and wheat proteins but once made into a Bolognese sauce tastes and looks as good as minced beef. The pack claims that it is low in saturates and a good source of fibre with no artificial flavours or colours and suitable for vegans.
I have used this a few times now and make my Bolognese sauce as I would normally with onions, tomatoes, peppers, seasoning etc and the first time I made it I did not tell the family that it was vegetarian. Both my teenage children said "this is really delicious, nicer than usual, is it a different recipe?" I informed them what it was and everyone agreed that although it tasted slightly different from my usual it really was delicious.
The one big advantage that I think is that it is only £1.99 for a 454g bag and compared with cheap minced beef there is virtually no fat in it - you know when you use inexpensive minced beef you get a layer of fat floating on the top of the pan? Well with this you do not.
I would not rule out using minced beef again but I am certainly a convert vegetarian mince.