Here’s another look at a frozen supermarket option: the smokey jalapeno burgers from Sainsburys. They are described as ‘mixed beans with a melting nacho sauce and a puffed rice coating’. The nacho cheese is kind of placed right on top of the bean burger, so that when it is cooked, it oozes out after you cut into the burger.
We’ve got a double bill for you this week, as we take a look at two items from the Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg range: their Mac & Jack (macaroni cheese with BBQ pulled jackfruit), and their Sweet Potato Katsu Curry with Sticky Rice.
As we picked these both up from their new range that we hadn’t tried yet, we decided to cook them both up at once – and review them at the same time, too. Let’s start with the katsu curry.
Naturally, I was always going to be a bit biased towards these, but there’s a shocking twist. I actually don’t usually like Cumberland-style sausages: whatever range I’ve tried them from in the past, I just haven’t been that keen. Still, it was 100% worth a try given how much I love a good shroomdog.
So, I went ahead and cooked them up for us to eat. They work just as well as the original flavour: they have that mushroomy taste and texture, the thickness, and they have that same skin that crisps up so nicely when you fry them.
They do have a distinct peppery taste which is quite strong – as it should be for this flavour. I’m not a huge fan of pepper, but it doesn’t bother me as much as it does in other varieties.
I feel like my overall conclusion is this: if the other shroomdogs aren’t in stock, I’ll be happy to go with these instead. If the caramelised onion type are on the shelf, however, I’m much more likely to go for those. It’s simply a case of not being able to improve on perfection.
I’m excited to see if Sainsburys bring out any other flavours in this range – could we be seeing some more exotic shroomdogs on the shelves? I definitely hope so, and I also hope they see the potential for this product to recreate other create sausage-based meals without needing to use meat.
When we first heard about these new products coming into Sainsburys, we definitely had a raised eyebrow or two. Shroomdogs? What kind of a name is that? It sounds ridiculous, and that caused a few worries that the product itself was going to be a laughing stock.
And then we ate them.
Shroomdogs, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. First, there is your texture and appearance, so like the real sausage and yet just different enough as to satisfy. Then there is your crunchy exterior when fried, turned a delightful brown and crispy from the heat. Next let us examine your interior: mushroom, through and through, with delicious onion flavourings to boot.
This is a tube of mushroom, ladies and gentlemen. And I can’t stop eating it.
I don’t know if I will ever bother eating a different type of sausage. So long as there are shroomdogs, they (and the Quorn hot dog sausages for when you need a slimmer alternative) will be my go-to. I am in love, and love, thy name is shroomdog.
Why go on any further? Trust me: go buy a pack of shroomdogs, and eat them. You can come back and thank me later.
Now, I’d like to get into what this product is not. This is not a steak. It’s a cauliflower sliced on its side and then tossed in some herbs. It’s not a great alternative to a chicken breast. It’s not any kind of substitute.
It’s a cauliflower.
It tastes like cauliflower. It has the same texture as cauliflower. Even with your eyes closed and no prior warning, you would still be able to tell beyond any reasonably shadow of doubt that this is a slice of cauliflower.
Sainsbury’s Roasted Cauliflower SteaksI really hope no one ever suggests to me again that I should try cauliflower steak, because they might just find a rant on their hands. I never want to eat, or even look at, this soft, slightly spicy, massive chunk of cauliflower ever again. This is quite possibly the single most disappointing vegan or vegetarian alternative product I’ve ever tasted – and considering I’ve been trying them for 27 years, that really says something.
The product looks a little scary when you first examine it. The white chunks of jackfruit slide around inside a brown sauce, and they either manage to look like an alien substance or – when coated in the sauce – a genuine chunk of meat. So, there’s that. Still, having experienced it before, we weren’t put off by the appearance.
We followed the cooking instructions, but they are a little awkward. First, you cook it in the tray for 25 minutes, then you have to take it out and pull apart the jackfruit with two forks. That wasn’t easy – some pieces were still a bit tough, and didn’t separate right away. I managed to lose a bit of sauce with one overzealous pull! It’s also a little disruptive when you’re cooking something else alongside the jackfruit, because it then goes back in for five minutes.
When we were ready to eat, I noticed some of the sauce ended up burning inside the tray despite following the instructions completely. The sauce was quite tasty, but not really a patch on other BBQ sauces we’ve had in the past. There was perhaps a little something missing.
As for the jackfruit itself, it tasted really bland. We were so disappointed as we have had really delicious jackfruit in the past. If someone was to try this as their first experience with jackfruit, they might not want to try it ever again, and that would be a real shame. Fingers crossed that they can refine the product or come up with something new that lives up to jackfruit’s real potential. In the meantime, we’ll probably give this one a miss in future.
To be honest, I’m not sure this one did. I’m already struggling to remember what it actually tasted like. We served it up as part of a Mexican style night, with sides of gooey spicy nacho cheese parcels and refried beans. We can’t go wrong with those two things as both J and I absolutely adore them, so the only thing the Mexican burger could really do was to mess it up. Thankfully, it didn’t.
It tasted fine, just what I would expect from a burger of this style. The outside was crispy while the inside was a little softer, and crumbly. It was full of chunks of vegetables like sweetcorn, which is always a texture style I have enjoyed. It was smoky and only mildly spicy, and you could clearly taste the beans as well as some of the other ingredients. Anything more than that is almost beyond me to say – it really was quite unremarkable, if not unpleasant.
On the VegBurge scale, I give this…
Taste – 7/10
Price – 6/10
Rest of experience – 6/10
These fritters pop in the oven nicely (or you can of course try the microwave, but it does leave them a touch soggy). They are best served up alongside other “American/Mexican style” fare if you like that sort of thing – I’m not sure I would bother putting them in bread buns, but there’s every possibility that they would taste good if you did. We served them up with curly fries and the aforementioned parcels – not the most healthy of meals, but thoroughly satisfying!
These fritters are very tasty on their own too, with only a small amount of spice to detract from the generally tasty sweetcorn. In fact, I would say they taste pretty similar to how they look. They go very well with cooling sauces such as sour cream and chive, which I would recommend pairing them with. Ketchup works well too.
We definitely enjoyed these fritters and will be having them again in the future.
On the VegBurge Scale, I give this…
Taste – 8/10
Price – 6/10
Rest of experience – 7/10