This grill comes from the frozen section, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting much for one simple reason: I hate cauliflower. I have always hated cauliflower. My tastes have changed a lot over the years (mushrooms were my favourite, then I hated them, now I can eat them raw by the handful) but cauliflower has always been my enemy. My nemesis. It was time to face it down with these cauliflower cheese grills.
And, well, to be honest, they aren’t that bad. The coating around the outside is crispy and crunchy as you would expect, which makes a good topping (think mac and cheese). The inside is not really hugely cheesy, but the good news is that it is also not really hugely cauliflower-y. Cauliflower-esque. Call it what you will. It does certainly have flavour and it tastes good, but it’s not like the cauliflower cheese I remember disliking immensely as a child.
I wouldn’t say these were my favourite burger alternatives, not by a long run – but the very fact that I can eat them without complaint is a really big compliment to them.
When you read the name ‘Southern Fried Bean Burgers’, you expect something a bit obvious. A bit boring, even. Or at least I do. Just a simple burger is what I infer from that name – nothing very exciting at all. That’s why the team behind this product have really made a big mistake: because there is something really quite interesting about these burgers, that you would never guess at all from the name.
These burgers have a little pocket of hot, spicy nacho-style cheese right on top of the actual burger filling. When you cook them in the oven, this pocket gets gooey and melty and delicious. Then when you start to cut into the burger, it all spills out. I have to say this is one of my favourite things to have in a piece of food. Just like with escalopes, there’s something really exciting about having the sauce provided on the burger, rather than having to add your own. Plus there’s a little element of surprise when you first cut into it.
I served up these burgers in wraps (after sampling them whole first). When you cut them up into pieces, there’s even more of an opportunity to enjoy the way that the sauce tastes against the rest of the burger. You can spread it out a bit more, too. I added some spicy Quorn chorizo sausages sliced up small, gruyere cheese, and fresh spinach to complete the wrap. I also added a little sour cream and chive sauce to complete the Southern tastes.
The burgers themselves (sans sauce) are really quite simple. They’re just a slightly spicy bean burger with Southern-style coating; quite similar to the Quorn burgers of the same seasoning in taste terms. They just have that extra element of the beans instead of Quorn. But really, what makes them interesting is the nacho cheese. There’s no getting around it. Without that I might not have found them remarkable at all. But with it, you’ve got a burger that I will no doubt be buying again next time we need to stock up the freezer.
These bakes were really quite spicy, which surprised me quite a bit! I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy food, as J will happily tell you (he loves it – he thinks jalapenos are finger food). However, often you find that so called spicy frozen food doesn’t really live up to the name. this was not the case here! It was just about almost too spicy, but it was mild enough that I could eat the whole thing.
The inside of the bake held a small amount of noodles only, perhaps due to the logistics of the recipe. There was a creamy texture, which verges on being slightly slimy. This was somewhat appropriate when considering the noodles, but do we really want slimy burgers? Anyway, there were also lots of vegetables in the mixture. Having said that, however, they did have a tinned texture or shape to them which put me in mind of school dinners. We had them in wraps rather than in a burger bun, and they were really quite squidgy once they had been cut up a bit.
These were not the best product I’ve ever tasted, and I actually mostly forgot about them until it came time to do this review. For the novelty factor they are interesting, and they might add a little bit of life to meals that you barely have time to throw together. Other than that, there is not much to say. It’s not that I would never eat them again, just perhaps that I wouldn’t even remember they existed when I was deciding what to buy. Which is a bit of a shame, considering how different they are to what you normally see.
I guess I’m starting to find what other food bloggers do: when you are trying to cook, and cook inventively, almost every day, shop bought food starts to become a bit boring. I hardly ever buy frozen food these days – our freezer is actually currently full of local cheeses that we bought in bulk – so I don’t see this one having much of a place in our future meal plans.
The Tesco Indian Potato Cakes sounded interesting enough to take a stab at. Not only that, but they were on offer with most of the frozen vegetarian section, so it seemed obvious to give them a try. We quite enjoy a curry in our house, especially as J has Indian heritage, so combining curry spices with a burger sounded like quite a good idea. We decided to cook them up one day to make burger wraps, one of my favourite lazy meals from university. There’s not much to them – you need a burger, a wrap, some lettuce or other leaf, and mayonnaise. Sweet chilli dressing, sweetcorn, roast vegetables, and etc are optional.
We found that the potato cakes just had a mild curry flavour, rather than being a stronger taste as you might expect. They have a quite sloppy and squishy texture which was a bit odd too! They didn’t cut cleanly or crumble when I was putting them into strips for the wraps. They more just sort of smeared everywhere. It wasn’t actually an unpleasant texture, but it just felt a bit strange in the context of a burger or potato cake. There were solid peas and chunks of carrot alongside the potato, but not much else that you could really identify. They were fine, but don’t expect them to be a solid, firm burger.
All that being said, they were actually the perfect fit for a wrap. Once you had them wrapped up and in your hands, they separated up nicely to ensure that you have a bit of burger in every bite. They went well against the lettuce as well. The eventual wraps were a little thin, but filling nonetheless. You could certainly bulk up by adding more peas and carrots to the mix to complement the existing flavours.
On the VegBurge scale, I give this…
Taste – 6/10
Price – 8/10
Rest of experience – 6/10
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