“ Manufacturer: Tesco / Type: Ready meal „
I have been a vegtarian for over 15 years now, and in that time I have tried many products, I have tried brands such as Quorn and Linda McCartney and own brands such as the Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda ranges. In that time I have come across products I now buy regularly, those that I buy occassionally and those that I will never buy again. Unfortunately this product is one of them. Tesco's have a meat free range which is found in their frozen section. They generally group all their vegetarian food together. The Cauliflower cheese grills come in a cardboard box, which is a huge bonus-the packaging is 100% recyclable. The price works out at about 40-50 pence per grill, which is vastly overpriced when compared to the tesco meat free burgers which are half the price and much much tastier. The grills are breadcrumb covered oval-ish shaped food items, which contain cailiflower in the middle, with a cheesey sauce. Now that sounds nice, cauliflower cheese and breadcrumbs? I love that sort of stuff! But, this really isnt like that. It is much harder, much drier, and has no such cheesey flavour that might really add something to it. On top of the poor taste, and dry tough texture these absolutely stink when you cook them. I know food products with Cauliflower in do normally smell, but having a nice taste at the end makes up for it, but in this case there is no such nice taste! Horrible products, I would never buy again!
I have been a vegetarian now for most of my life, well at least since I was released from the orphanage after the war when I would wander the streets with my ever loyal pet piglet, and although I am not a keen enthusiast when it comes to ready meals, preferring instead to prepare my own in my gypsy caravan on the hill, I am willing to try one or two from time to time. I am usually less reluctant though, to try Tesco ready meals. This is not just because there are now no stores near where I live but because I was deeply disturbed one time after seeing a documentary highlighting their unsavoury food processing methods. However, I do now and again decide to risk it and once upon a time I gave Tesco Meat Free Cauliflower Cheese Grills a try. You'll find these grills in the frozen foods section (well you used to as I can't find them anymore). The grills come in a cardboard packaging and contain four rounded grills, weighing 397g. They cost about £1.70 a box. Quite expensive when you think about it. The only thing that I find annoying about the packaging is the name of the product: why 'Meat Free'? surely 'Vegetarian' will suffice! The grills contain chucks of cauliflower, slices of green peppers, potato, onion and vegetarian cheddar cheese and these ingredients are encased in a medium layer of crispy breadcrumbs. Apart from the main filling the ingredients also include vegetable oil, spices, salt, wheat and milk. It's the cheese that gives them most of their flavour although the peppers do add a touch of excitement I suppose. I wouldn't say they're a great tasting dish, but they'll do if you're in a rush and you certainly don't get that cauliflower smell that fills the house (or caravan) whenever you cook a real cauliflower. They grills take about 25 minutes at 200 degrees centigrade to cook, maybe slightly less in a fan based oven and you can cook then straight from the freezer. You can also grill them for 15 minutes but cooking cauliflower based foods in this way is never the easiest task to get right as if you leave them in too long the breadcrumbs will start to burn and if you undercook them slightly the cauliflower chunks will remain hard. I'd like to say practise makes perfect, but it usually doesn't in this case. For the obsessed: each 92g cauliflower cheese grill contains 205 calories, 6g of protein, 20g of carbohydrate (2g sugars), and 11g of fat (2g saturates). You also be consuming 3.7g of fibre and 0.7g of salt per grill. So quite a fatty mix on account of the cheese content. Tesco Cheesy Cauliflower Grills are not the worst ready meal I've ever had and not as bad as I'd imagined from Tesco (I had some of their tinned curried mackerel the other week (I couldn't catch any fish in my pond) which was absolutely grotesque, tasted like a sweet pudding with slimy fish in it). Certainly if you're a vegetarian on the go, or if you're just a lazy sod, then you should find them a useful addition to the freezer. The grills are tasty enough without being amazing (Nigella wouldn't touch them with a barge pole so she tells me) and are nice served with vegetables, salad or the ever reliable tin of baked beans.
Some years ago, when I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was a vegetarian. These days, I do eat some meat, but I still buy quite a lot of vegetarian foods, as I often prefer the taste and texture, compared to meat. When I am in Tesco's, I usually check the frozen foods section to see which vegetarian foods are available, as there are often some on special offer. Tesco Meat Free Cauliflower Cheese Grills are packaged in a cardboard box (which is recyclable) containing four oval shaped grills, weighing 397g. They cost £1.58, but can often be found for less. The box states that the cauliflower grills are 'a delicious blend of cauliflower and green peppers with cheddar cheese, coated in a crispy breadcrumb'. Other ingredients include potato, onion, vegetable oil and spices and salt. The grills also contain wheat and milk. They can be baked in the oven for 22-24 minutes at 200 degrees centigrade/ 400 farenheit or gas mark 6, or grilled for 15-16 minutes. They are best cooked from frozen. Each cauliflower cheese grill (92g) contains 205 calories, 6.0g of protein, 20.4g of carbohydrate (1.9 sugars), and 10.9g of fat (2.0g saturates). They also have 3.7g of fibre per grill and 0.7g of salt (12% of the daily requirement for an adult. The overall fat content is quite high, probably due to the cheese and vegetable oil, though they are lower in saturated fat, which should be minimised in the diet, due to the increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, etc. Per 100g the fat content is a little higher, at 11.9g, and 2.2g of saturates. The salt content is fairly high, too. I enjoyed the taste of these cauliflower cheese grills, and will buy them again, as they are useful to have in the freezer. They are quite high in fat and salt, but as part of a balanced diet, I think that they are fine. I would try to serve them with something with less fat, such as vegetables, salad or potatoes that have not been cooked in oil or butter.
... or buy a combi oven, where they come out perfectly. I used to be veggie and these were a steadfast staple of my diet. However, since going back to meat, I'd say that they were still a big staple because they're just so lovely. I think they've changed over the years, but for the basis of health - they were a lot fattier before. I don't think these lovely little bakes should be for veggies only, and nor do I think that grilling is the best way to prepare them. My fave way of eating them is baking them, a huge dollop of pickle next to them, and just eat away. Perfect sunday fodder. Love em, and I'll hunt them down wherever they're sold. Buy them now. 22 words left? Are you kidding? What more do you want me to say? Cheese. Cauliflower. Crumbs. Grill. Mmm. Yes. Mmm. Mmm.
I'm a vegetarian and, due to criticism originating from the relatives, I was forced to actually get in and try all the food of the category. I tried Quorn, vegetable fingers, bizarre forms of bean...but all inevitably resulted in my disgusted grimace. I'll admit to being a fussy eater, but this was a true pain; I did not like anything. I then tried Tesco Meat Free Cauliflower Cheese Grills. I liked them and, so surprised were my family, that we immediately went out and stocked up on them. I had these grills smothered in tomato ketchup probably ever night, and they were also great with baked beans or spaghetti in tomato sauce. However, repetition eventually got the better of me, and I went off them. The stock piles of them in the home freezer went to waste. Yet I recently turned back to them. I no longer have them every night because I know the result of such, but also due to the fact that it's utterly impossible. These grill TERRIBLY. Every single time I choose to have one of these for dinner, I regret it. It melts. It physically melts into the grill. It becomes one with the grill. It's a nightmare to turn, regularly falling in half as a result. There's still more: sometimes they leak. The contents of these will actually begin to fall out and I'm sadly not at all exaggerating when I say that often have I been left with well under half of the original. I'm not sure what Tesco have changed to result in such ridiculous scenarios; I suppose it might possibly be the breadcrumbs. I've actually had to take up examining these prior to placing them on a grill (for my own predictions and estimations) and I've noticed some areas lack breadcrumbs completely. Other things have changed, too, however; this time in regards to the actual process of eating. These grills contain cauliflower, green peppers, onion and vegetarian cheddar cheese. I certainly still consider them a great taste (otherwise why would I go through the torture of preparing them?) but for some bizarre reason, they've started implementing solid blocks of...well, I'm not sure - I'm supposing it the onion. These were never in them prior, but now I come across them regularly per grill and find them so off-putting that I pick them out. They just completely ruin the texture, which is otherwise sort of nice and chewy, with these impenetrable chunks. Anyhow - would I recommend this item? I'm not sure. It depends on whether you're willing to suffer through the cooking stage; well, actually, it depends on whether the eating stage is actually worth such sufferance. I know I'll keep eating them, unless the product continues to deteriorate. They're a fairly healthy addition to a meal with 160 calories, 4.9g of protein, 7.4g of fat (1.1g of which saturates) and 0.6g salt. I notice, though, that these are nutritional values for an oven baked grill. Maybe it would be easier that way, but I think I'd prefer to have it explode on the grill than turn on the oven for something of this size.
Cauliflower cheese with no added meat.