This week’s review is Vivera’s Veggie Shawarma Kebab. It’s quite an intriguing prospect as, having been vegetarian for my whole life, I have no concept whatsoever of what a shawarma should be like, or indeed a kebab of any kind. So, despite the off-putting fact that the packaging contains the word ‘tasty’ twice in the same sentence, we gave it a try.
That all went down the drain almost immediately, when it turned out the packaging around the pittas had split at some point and they were already mouldy. That meant a hasty reschedule of the dinner timetable and a trip to the supermarket to replace them. I was still wishing for a nice hunk of cheesy bread instead, but I’d seen the calorie count on the back of the recipe, so I thought I had better comply.
I have to say I wasn’t fully with it when we eventually did make the soup. I managed to forget to wash the lentils until the moment they were supposed to be in the pan, and I spilled sauce everywhere while I was checking the soup. But, it turned out alright. It was not really spicy at all, to my delight and J’s disappointment, and the pittas were predictably far too small and weedy to satisfy. Still, it was the best of the batch – and it did actually thicken up after being on the heat for a while, which was a relief after last week’s watery debacle.
This is now definitely our last Hello Fresh post, as I’ve cancelled the subscription and won’t be going back. Mind you, they’ve called me twice since then to see if I’m enjoying my box, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up getting a new one through some computer glitch. Fingers crossed I don’t – I wouldn’t look forward to another high-calorie dose like the recipes we have tried so far, especially when I’m not able to control when I eat them or how far I can spread the meals out.
So, here’s our final Hello Fresh vine:
First of all, the recipe calls for spring onions; I hate them, so I substituted for red onion as it tastes better to me. Secondly, you’re supposed to make 18 mini patties. I prefer a nice big burger, so this was enough to make five. That’s a bit of an awkward number, but we solved it by having an extra half burger each on the plate, and serving with some tasty parsnip croquettes.
It has to be said that when you get it all mixed together, it looks like meat. No, it really does! I was quite impressed by this, even if you might assume otherwise. I’ve always resented the fact that just by being vegetarian, I’m denied access to some of the best looking burgers – it’s not like there is a veggie version of a Big Mac or a Whopper. If I was in the food industry, I would be campaigning to get exact veggie replicas of any and all meat based meals.
Anyway, back to the point: the mixture binds really well, which long term readers will know is something I’ve been working on in my recipes. It is also quite tasty when raw, and even better when warm.
There is a gooeyness to the feta which just sits really nicely with the sweetness of the beetroot, and also goes really well with the pittas we used (wholegrain with seeds). The burgers are moreish and filling – I had two and a half on my plate, and I still ended up looking at J’s sideways and wondering if I could swipe another!
If I could offer any improvement, it would be that the onion maybe needs cooking longer before adding. Of course, if you follow the original recipe, then that won’t be a problem! I would also add that frying them requires a delicate balance. I don’t like to use much oil, especially in my non stick pan, and so I often find that things cook too quickly. In this case we ended up with blackened edges, although to be honest they didn’t taste burned.
We have since made the burgers again, this time as an adaptation of a recipe which called for meat burgers, and I think it’s safe to say they will be our go-to option in the future. I managed to balance them a bit better, getting them on a lower heat to cook, and although they took an average of five-six minutes to cook this way, they did cook through better. That meant less of a blackened surface, and better cooked onions too. I’ve included the recipe, with my amendments, below.
By the way, if you want to see what it looks like to cook them we made a vine!
On the VegBurge scale, I give this…
Taste – 9/10
Price – 8/10
Rest of experience – 9/10