No Bull Burgers Quarter Pounders

No Bull Burgers

A new week, a new brand! This time around we’re trying the No Bull Burgers. Points for a funny name, although it’s fairly ironic since these are, in fact, trying to be something they’re not. Which I would argue is the ‘alternative’ meaning of Bull, if you get my drift. read more

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Frankie and Benny’s The Vegan Beet Burger

Frankie and Benny's The Vegan Beet Burger

We’re back with another review, this time of the new vegan burger on the menu at Frankie and Benny’s. Priced at £9.99, it’s a pleasant addition to the menu – it’s always great to see big chains adding those vegan options, and we especially appreciate the fact that it’s not just a field mushroom.

It’s served in a really nice bun, a glazed brioche which adds a bit of a luxury touch. So far, so good! 

There is so much filling that it’s actually too big to eat in one mouthful, as the burger and other elements simply squidge out the back when you try. I don’t like being defeated by a burger, but sometimes you just have to knife and fork it – and I would suggest that this is one of those times.

There’s lots of fresh salad in the bun which always adds that extra feeling of satisfaction, though of course it’s the burger itself we’re most interested in. This has a solid texture, and is very fibrous. There are lentils visible in the burger mixture, which overall is quite sweet. This might be a little strange except that it’s less noticeable when paired with the bun.

Inside the bun are a few smaller sliced gherkins as well as a big slice of tomato (you know how we feel about those here at VegBurge – we like to throw them straight out!). The burger was a tiny bit dry and could perhaps do with some added spice or diced onion. Overall, however, it was really tasty.

The ice cream sundae, I should note, is not vegan, however tasty it might be!

On the Vegburge scale, I give this…

Taste – 8/10

Price – 5/10

Rest of experience – 7/10

 

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Gosh Moroccan Spiced Bakes and Beetroot Burgers

Gosh Moroccan Spiced Bakes and Beetroot Burgers

It’s a double whammy – we’ve got not one, but TWO reviews from the Gosh range for you today. We’ve already tried some of their products in the past, but this is our first time trying something actually burger-shaped.

Two things, actually: first up, the Moroccan Spiced Bakes with Red Pepper and Apricot. While these technically make no claim towards being burgers, just look at them: they’re burgers.

They were the ones I liked the sound of the most from the packet, and they were quite tasty. They had a soft exterior and interior, which left them feeling a little bit mushy in the middle. The apricot pieces were chewy lumps scattered throughout the mixture, and the burgers were quite spicy too – almost like a curry taste.

There were also chunks of pepper and carrot throughout the burgers, which was somewhat of an odd choice. I can kind of see how these ingredients would go together in an actual curry with sauce, but in a burger, there’s not the same kind of texture or even flavour. It didn’t really work for me – it just seemed like an odd combination which didn’t go together.

It was kind of a shame, but after burying them inside bread buns, it was easier to ignore the flavour and just enjoy a bit of spice.

Now, onto the beetroot burgers! I was a bit leery of these as they do say on the packet that they contain “a hint of mint”. Now, I can’t stand mint – even the hint of it, usually – so I was worried that I was going to hate them.

On the other hand, I do love beetroot – but weirdly, the beetroot was very subtle, and there was also hardly any mint that I could detect – except for the fact that I could smell it. You might question whether my tastebuds had been dulled by the spicy bakes, but actually, I tried the beetroot burgers first.

The texture was much the same except for less mushy, and it was a reasonably solid burger with the ridges across the top doing little more than set dressing, as far as I could tell. This burger was probably the one I preferred off the two, but only because it wasn’t totally odd – there was actually hardly any impression at all left behind after I had eaten it. If I hadn’t made notes, I wouldn’t be able to tell you a thing about it.

On the Vegburge scale, I give this (bake – beetroot)…

Taste – 3/10 – 4/10

Price – 5/10 – 5/10

Rest of experience – 4/10 – 5/10

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A Very Veggie Christmas 2017

Christmas 2017

After sharing our Christmas meals with you in 20162015, and 2014, it’s time again for another festive round-up. Christmas 2017 actually came in two parts, as J was off to Australia to be a groomsman at a friend’s wedding – so we decided to have our own mini-Christmas in mid-December.

Mini-Christmas

I was pretty proud of myself for putting together a fairly nice spread. We had a traditional serving of Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, peas, and carrots, but I also made a mushroom and nut loaf from one of our older recipes.

It was super delicious, and held its shape really well, so bonus points to myself for that! It was lovely with gravy over it, too. Of course, one of the downsides was that with just the two of us, I ended up with far too much.

But what is Christmas about if not leftovers? Personally, they’re one of my favourite parts!

Christmas Day

Next up was the official Christmas Day, cooked as always by V in her very busy kitchen. We like to have two courses on Christmas Day, followed by a dessert much, much later in the day. Later enough to have actually digested something to make room!

We started out with this baked garlic mushroom dish, served with a cherry tomato sauce, and topped with stilton and quark. It was also served with a few olive crispbreads to dip into the sauce. This was adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe, suited more to our tastes.

This was really delicious with the mushrooms and tomatoes really working together. The olive breads also had a nice crunch when scooping up a bit of sauce and topping. It all went very well together and definitely one to try again.

The main was adapted from Slimming World’s recipe books. It was a rice, lentil, butter bean, cheddar, and mixed nut roast. It cooked beautifully and had a wonderful texture, with the nuts scattered on top adding that extra bit of crunch.

This delicious dish was served with roasted parsnips, roast potatoes in their skins, swede and carrot mash, and red cabbage with cranberries. The salty potatoes against the sweet parsnip and tart cranberries was a fantastic mix.

It was hugely filling, as you might expect, but made for a wonderful and colourful plate that we all enjoyed thoroughly. 

We topped everything off with gravy, bread sauce, and cranberry sauce – the perfect additions to a special dinner. I haven’t had bread sauce since last Christmas as we’re trying to avoid high-calorie sauces, so it was a fantastic treat.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day has always been just as important as Christmas Day for us in terms of the food. Two courses again, and a similar format. We have a trio of these meals over the festive period, with the last one being New Year’s Day.

We started with a salad of fresh rocket and spinach, feta, beetroot, and orange segments with walnut. Drizzled over this was a light, fruity dressing. The basis was taken from a Jamie Oliver recipe but, of course, adapted.

You wouldn’t think that orange would go with beetroot and feta, but it does. The walnut also pairs with the flavours to create a really festive package.

For the main we had a shop-bought pie, which definitely wasn’t cheating because there was so much going on around it. The pie was a mushroom Wellington and was very good itself. 

For the sides, we had a chunky potato and celeriac gratin, lemony carrots, French peas, and (not for me) sprouts. If you’re wondering about the peas, the “bacon” was courtesy of Quorn.

It was all great. Personally, a real highlight is the lemony carrots. That zing of the lemon really brings out the flavour of the carrots and elevates them to something else.

New Year’s Day

For us, New Year’s Eve is a night of buffet food, drinks, and – inevitably – dancing. That means we leave our big meal until New Year’s Day, perfect for soaking up hangovers and replenishing energy levels.

This starter was smashed avocado and lemon juice with roasted cherry tomatoes and feta on corn bread.

This was SO tasty. The avocado went perfectly with the juicy tomatoes, and the bread was a perfect base. This would go down very well for breakfast too, perhaps on fancy occasions when you really want to impress. 

The main part of the main course was another pie, in this case mushroom and chestnut.

It was paired with roasted parsnips, new potaotoes, and a golden broccoli bake adapted from another Slimming World recipe. It combined broccoli, cauliflower, quark, and cheese with some leftover chestnuts added into the mix.

The parsnips are always my favourite part of the meal because they are just so damn good. Give me parsnips and sweet potatoes, pair them with mushrooms, and then I don’t need anything else. Well, maybe a chestnut or two.

We had a great time over the festive season with a lot of great feasts. It’s always a highlight of the year and a time to focus on food rather than worrying about waistlines.

And now, time for that ever-present New Year’s resolution to lose weight…

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Pomodoro e Basilico – Jack and Bad

Pomodoro e Basilico

This week we’re taking a look at a couple of vegan burgers from  Pomodoro e Basilico. We found them at the Brighton Viva Vegan Festival and decided to nominate them as our lunch for the day, so they had big shoes to fill (previous vegan festival lunches have included Jake’s Vegan Steaks and Cafe SoVegan). Sadly, they found the shoes a little too big, as we will explain.

First off, let’s tackle the menu. There were three burger choices: the good, the bad, and the jack. We went for the bad and the jack, one each. We also wanted some sides but it turned out they were sold out of everything else that sounded good, so we went without. The burgers were £7 each, which is pretty much daylight robbery.

We’ll kick off with the Jack: gluten free brioche bun; kale + cucumber + coriander; peanut butter sauce; pulled jackfruit; beansprouts; coleslaw; and strawberry BBQ sauce.

I wanted to try this one because it is based, as the name suggests, around jackfruit. Sadly, it wasn’t what I was expecting. The jackfruit was completely undercooked and wasn’t pleasant to eat at all – with hardly any flavour to speak off. It was a crime against jackfruit, basically, and I sincerely hope no other festival visitors tried it as their first jackfruit experience because it can be so much better.  The two girls behind the stall were so engaged in chatting with each other – and actually ignoring me for a few minutes while I stood at the counter to order – that it seems they couldn’t be bothered to ensure it was prepared right.

To make matters worse, the rest of the burger wasn’t up to much either. The beetroot dressing was far too watery and completely overwhelmed the whole package, pouring out in huge gouts every time I tried to take a bite. It dripped out as a held it still. It was more or less the only thing I could taste. I’m not even sure where it came from, considering it was supposed to be strawberry BBQ sauce. There’s no way it wasn’t beetroot, and there were lumps of beetroot flesh in there too.

Pair all of that with the tough and crispy beansprouts which were hard to chew, and you have a package that wasn’t worth talking about. The sweet brioche bun could have been nice, if it wasn’t soaked through with beetroot and crumbling to pieces as a result. I don’t have anything nice to say about this burger, which frankly was a huge disappointment – especially at this price. I think it may be the worst burger I’ve ever eaten. It’s certainly the lowest we’ve ever rated here on the blog.

Now, onto the Bad: charcoal bread bun; lettuce; apple mustard; seitan “schnitzel” patty; tomato; mushroom sauce; sauerkraut. 

This was J’s choice and, I have to say, infinitely the better one. He says it was pretty tasty, with an interesting-looking bun which however did not taste and different to what you would expect. 

The schnitzel in the middle tasted like Southern fried chicken, with a soft middle but a crispy outside. It did what it was supposed to, in other words, which was a great plus. The slaw was tangy and tasted great, while the sweet mustard tasted more like honey than apple. There was a small amount of fresh lettuce in the bun which was a good addition.

J definitely gave the Bad more thumbs up than the Jack got, so much so that I was jealous within about two bites. But they can’t all be 10/10 on taste.

 

ON THE VEGBURGE SCALE, I GIVE THIS… Jack vs Bad

TASTE – 1 vs 7/10 

PRICE – 2 vs 3/10 

REST OF EXPERIENCE – 1 vs 7/10

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Asda Beetroot and Root Veg Burger

Asda Beetroot and Root Veg Burger

As soon as I saw this burger, I knew I had met my dream. I LOVE beetroot, and the best part is that J can’t stand to eat it. This means I had these beetroot burgers all to myself! They come with a sachet of beetroot salsa as well, which I was excited to try. They’re frozen, which means you have to defrost the sachet in a cup of boiling water.

There are big chunks of beetroot and root vegetables in the burger, including large pieces of carrot as you can see below. It also contains nutty and smoky seeds to complement the flavour. It is quite crumbly – I barely managed to get the two I ate onto a burger bun without losing half of them. The inside has a more mushy texture, and there’s no crispy outer layer or anything to distinguish it. I quite enjoyed that, though – we don’t always need breadcrumbs. The one criticism I had while eating these was that they don’t always seem to have been blended quite correctly. In one fo mine, I had a massive piece of asparagus. I mean, truly massive and chewy. It was more than a little uncalled for. I’m not even sure that asparagus has any right to be inside a root vegetable burger. 

The sauce, however, was my favourite part of the whole meal. It has a very sweet and vinegary taste above the beetroot. It was absolutely delicious, and I would like to buy it separately as a dressing for other meals! I tried it with some sweet potato fries as well and the sweetness just worked wonderfully. I’m going to have to do some research to see if it is actually available on its own at all.

ON THE VEGBURGE SCALE, I GIVE THIS…

TASTE – 8/10

PRICE – 5/10

REST OF EXPERIENCE – 7/10

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The Bakehouse at 124 – Beetroot Burger

This week we’re off to the British Grand Prix, so with five days of camping ahead, we started eating up all of our fresh food to get rid of it. As a result, there was nothing left to eat for lunch – which meant a trip to a local cafe was in order! The Bakehouse at 124 is relatively new to Tonbridge, but with bread and just about every other component of their food made in-house, they are definitely a special treat.

This visit is not our first, so I already knew to expect great things. I certainly got them, as it was time to try their beetroot burger – something I certainly had high hopes for! It costs £5.95 and consists of beetroot, carrot, courgette, coriander, onion, and chickpeas, with houmous dressing. This is all served up in one of their huffkin rolls, with red cabbage, rocket, and a side order of slaw salad with tzatziki.

Let’s start with the tzatziki slaw. I’ll be honest – I’m not the biggest fan of tzatziki in the world. I hate cucumber. This slaw is very cucumber-y, and it’s very strong in taste. I did try to eat some of it, but there was just no need for the large amount that was served up. I would rather have had some side salad or just more in my bun instead.

The bread, though, was delightful – very thick and soft, with that hard outer shell which is just perfect for holding on to a burger. It was very floury, so if you order it, don’t forget to pick up some napkins – you will need them! Men with beards should also beware, as J found out when he took a bite of it and ended up looking like Father Christmas.

The filling in the bun was well balanced: vinegary cabbage was placed up against a smooth and tasty classic houmous, and this in turn was matched with a peppery rocket underneath the burger. All of these flavours go very well with the beetroot’s sweetness, so this was an excellent choice.

The burger had a very smooth texture, as if it was blended to a puree before cooking, which was also a good choice: that smooth and soft beetroot patty was just like heaven. The flavours are all mushed together so well that you can’t necessarily make out the individual notes, but rather one overall deliciousness that takes the sweetness of the beetroot along with all of the best qualities of the other ingredients. It wasn’t totally smooth – you could make out lumps here and there of the bits and pieces that make it up – but it was combined well. I could see that it was fried in a pan to cook, with that lovely dark outer layer that comes along with that technique. You guys probably recall that that’s the way I like my beetroot burgers!

All in all it was a delicious meal, and I love the setting – there’s just something so wonderful about sitting in a venue where everything is homemade. Not only is it a great little local business, but it’s reassuring to see that they actually know what they’re doing with putting food together, not just cooking it out of a packet.

ON THE VEGBURGE SCALE, I GIVE THIS…

TASTE – 9/10

PRICE – 7/10

REST OF EXPERIENCE – 8/10

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Mildred’s Polish Burger

By now, regular readers know that I am a huge fan of Mildred’s, so it’s probably no surprise that I returned in order to try yet another of their marvellous burgers. This one is the Polish Burger from the regular menu. It’s served in a focaccia bun with iceburg lettuce, mayonnaise, pickled cabbage and gherkin, and my favourite: vegan cheese! It’s a beetroot, white bean and dill burger, which sounds amazing even to start with. 

I chose sweet potato fries as my side – this is probably the one thing that lets Mildred’s down, in that you don’t get your burger with fries or salad as standard. It does rack the price up a bit, which is annoying. But it’s all really amazing food, and even if they don’t change the menu often, I’ve still managed to have something different on three different visits, so there is a lot of variety. 

This was probably my favourite burger from Mildred’s so far. The tangy dill against the beetroot is always such a great combination, and the ratio was just right here. The smooth taste of the pesto mayonnaise went beautifully, and it was just so so good with perfectly balanced flavours. It was big too and very filling, which means it a) took me ages to eat and b) was really satisfying. And yes, I managed to eat it without a knife and fork. I will not be defeated by a huge burger! 

On the VegBurge scale, I give this…

Taste – 9/10

Price – 6/10

Rest of experience – 8/10

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Vine Post: Hello Fresh Too Tasty Beetroot and Lentil Salad

Hello Fresh Too Tasty Beetroot and Lentil Salad

We’re on to our third and final Hello Fresh week, featuring the meals we had in our free starter box. If you’re looking to try it yourself and get a discount, there’s some money off lurking in that link! Meanwhile, let’s take a look at the last meal, what it was like, and whether we liked it or not. This was the Too Tasty beetroot and lentil salad, and I have to say it’s not something I would have tried myself. I hate walnuts and salad is never a word that makes me feel hungry – I’d rather have a wrap and pretend it’s a full-blown meal rather than a salad in disguise, but we followed the recipe and we had a big surprise.

The recipe contains a lot of variety, which is really great. There were walnuts, new potatoes, lentils, goats cheese, rocket, and onion, as well as beetroot. Now, anyone who has been following this blog will know that I only recently started to fall in love with beetroot, and I’m starting to want it with every single meal, so this was definitely a good start. We both love goats cheese too, so putting our reservations aside, we gave this one a try! The first thing to say is to be prepared for bright red hands, chopping board, surfaces, and generally food, as the beetroot really gets everywhere. That was not necessarily a bad thing however!

When we had it all together, I was really surprised by how tasty and filling this meal was. The potatoes help to make it more substantial, while the rocket gives it a nice zing. The beetroot brings everything together with that warm and sweet taste, matched perfectly by what is quite honestly the nicest goats cheese I’ve ever had. Seriously – we’re hunting this one down in the supermarket as soon as we get a chance. It was so soft and creamy that I had a hard time pulling it into chunks without it just getting stuck to my hands! All in all, this was a really delicious meal, and much healthier than the other two options as well. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Overall, I have to say that the final Hello Fresh verdict is that it’s very convenient and good if you know you don’t have much time on your hands. It allows you to get all of your ingredients delivered and recipes picked out without having to spend time on it. But aside from the convenience, I’m not too sure about it. Would I like to have new recipes and ingredients delivered to my door every week? Yes, absolutely – but if I can’t choose the recipes, I’m not sure I’m a fan. A lot of things were done differently to how I would have done them. For example, if I saw sour cream in a recipe, I would ditch it for a low fat and calorie alternative, or just use something like cream cheese to get the desired effect. If I saw an onion required for a recipe, I would always switch it out for a red onion. With this structure, you don’t have a chance. I’d be interested to see whether they can establish a wider pool of suppliers at some point in the future, and therefore give people a few more options to choose from.

In the meantime, if you fancy making this salad yourself, here’s the Vine of how we did it:

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Recipe Adaptation: Quesadilla Burgers

Quesadilla burgers

This post marks the first in a new series: recipe adaptations! As well as bringing you recipes for delicious veggie burgers, I’ll also be bringing you adaptations of meat-based recipes going forwards. If you have a recipe to submit for this series that you would like to see adapted, please send it my way using the contact page! I hope these posts will also give meat eaters a view on how to adapt their favourite meals into healthy and veggie-friendly alternatives.

I started with this amazing quesadilla cheeseburger recipe, which combines two of mine and J’s biggest loves: burgers and Mexican food! The photos are mouth wateringly good. It looks so delicious, but of course, a cheeseburger is not something that we’re able to eat. So we replaced the cheeseburger with the beautiful beetroot and feta patties that I shared with you last week, and we were set!

 This is actually a fantastic idea, and there’s something delightfully anarchic about eating a burger in tortillas instead of burger buns. It cuts down the calories in the majority of cases, too. The icing on the cake here is lightly frying the tortillas – it makes them so much more delicious, and the cheese gets lovely and melty.

As always, I changed a few things (will I ever be able to follow a recipe exactly as directed?!), so I’ve reproduced the recipe with my changes below. Needless to say I heartily recommend these. I wimped out on the chipotle mayonnaise (to J’s disappointment), but if you like spicy stuff I reckon it would be a treat with this recipe. We also added fresh spinach, which was a great touch.

 

 

On the VegBurge scale, I give this…

Taste – 9/10

Price – 7/10

Rest of experience – 8/10

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