“ Brand: Linda McCartney / Type: Vegetarians „
LINDA McCARTNEY VEGETARIAN ROAST
Although I am a long-time fan of the Linda McCartney range, I had never tried this before: it is a vegetarian roast which, as the name suggests, can be roasted in your oven alongside your vegetables (and/or a joint of meat if sharing with carnivores!)
It was on offer for £2.00 at Sainsbury's , and I thought it was time to give it a try: I usually get the Quorn roast, which is lovely, but it was around five minutes to four on a Sunday afternoon and the shops were all about to close: They didn't have my usual favourite, so I picked up this, the rival brands' offering.
It is made of soya and cereals, and has a sage and onion stuffing centre, apparently. I cooked it according to the instructions: remove the outer cardboard (obviously) and leave the inner plastic wrapper intact: yes that's right, you cook it in a shrink-wrapped plastic cover, which you then remove afterwards.
It takes around 50 minutes to an hour, at 200 centigrade. Slice it up and serve with a roast dinner.
What does it look like? It's pinky-beige in colour, with a dark green centre: when I sliced it up, I noticed that the 'sage and onion stuffing centre' was a bit, well, off-centre: So at one end, the roast was nearly all stuffing, and at the other end, it had just a few green 'spots' dotted through each slice, which gave an unfortunate impression of looking like mould. Even when you know it isn't mould, that is not appetizing. No-one wanted those slices.
Secondly, the taste: well, it just tasted very bland and the cereal base came through really strongly, without much other seasoning to counter-balance that.
It reminded me of the vegetarian food of the olden days (1980's) that you had to buy from a health food shop - insert your own joke about the cardboard in the wrapper being tastier, and you've got this about right!
Come on Linda McCartney Foods, I know you can do better than this: Your sausages, for example, are to die for, but the Vegetarian Roast is just not worthy of your brand name.
Linda McCartney's range of vegetarian foods is well known, providing a number of products (including burgers, ready meals, sausages and other items).
One such product from the company is the Linda McCartney Vegetarian Roast.
I am not a vegetarian myself but I enjoy eating a variety of vegetarian products (such as Quorn and other meat-free substitutes) as I have veggie friends and family and enjoy the healthier aspect of these products. As such, when gearing up for Christmas 2009, I thought I would give the Roast a try.
~*~* The Product and Price *~*~
The Roast is described as being a 'chicken style' roast, with sage and onion stuffing. The Roast is in the style of a 'rolled' roast, with the meat substitute wrapped around a roll of the stuffing. The Roast is soya-based and comes frozen in the Vegetarian section of the supermarket.
So far, I believe this Roast is only available in Sainsbury's stores (according to the official website and MySupermarket.com), which restricts availability somewhat. In Sainsbury's, the Roast costs £2.99 per pack, with a serving suggestion that it serves 4 adults which is reasonable.
The ingredients contain soya, gluten, wheat and eggs, so it may not be suitable for people with certain food intolerances and is not suitable for vegans. The ingredients are as follows:
Water, Soya Protein Concentrate (18%), Sage & Onion Stuffing (12%), Vegetable Oil, Isolated Soya Protein, Flavouring (Rice Flour, Salt, Yeast Extract, Flavouring), Free Range Egg White Powder, Stabiliser: Methylcellulose, Sage & Onion Stuffing Contains: Water, Onion, Spinach, Isolated Soya Protein, Soya Flour, Breadcrumb (Wheat Flour, Yeast, Salt),, Rapeseed Oil, Sage, Dried Onion, Lemon Zest, Dried Rosemary, Sea Salt, Black Pepper.
The nutritional information per quarter roast (per person serving suggestion) is as follows: Fat - 12g (18%), Saturated Fat - 1g (5%), Salt - 0.8g (13%), Sugar - 0.5g (1%) and Calories - 220.
Average GDA per quarter roast 18% 12g Fat, 5% 1g Saturates, 13% 0.8g Salt, 1% 0.5g Sugar, 220 Calories
~*~* Packaging and How to Cook*~*~
The Vegetarian Roast can, as mentioned, be found in the frozen Vegetarian foods section of larger Sainsbury's stores. It comes packaged in a cardboard box with a lovely, wholesome picture of the cooked product and roasted veggies on the box, as well as the Linda McCartney branding and text in white letters.
The Roast is contained in a thin, plastic film, containing the frozen roast. This film should be kept on during the cooking period (the Roast must be cooked from frozen in the oven and cannot be microwaved). The Roast has a cooking time of around 55mins in a 200c/400f/Gas Mark 6 oven and then left to stand for 10 minutes in the protective covering.
~*~* The Verdict *~*~
Once cooked, the Roast takes on a lightly browned appearance. The smell is not very meaty, but is quite 'savoury' if that makes any sense. If you do buy this roast, be very careful when removing the film from the roast, as the hot steam can make this a bit difficult as the plastic needs to be sliced away to be removed.
The Roast slices easily, which makes it quite nice to have for a Sunday or Christmas roast and the stuffing retains its vibrant green colour which makes it quite aesthetically pleasing. It is worth noting that the Roast does not seem to retain heat very well, so if not all of it is used up it should probably be kept warm in the oven if you want seconds!
Now onto the taste - I shared this roast with a vegetarian (I am a meat-eater) and we found that it did look quite appetising to eat. The stuffing is not really a 'stuffing' in a traditional sense (being more of a loose, herby mix) but it is still pleasant to eat. The roast is not very 'meaty' (or Quorn-like, for frame of reference) but I would say it is a little more crumbly in texture.
On eating the roast, it has a nice - if somewhat bland - flavour, so a gravy and accompaniments are definitely needed! In addition, the texture is quite crumbly and (for want of a better description) 'bread-like'. It has quite a stodgy, filling texture which means that you are not left hungry at all, but - from a meat-eater - I would say the Roast is definitely more akin to a soya texture than a meat roast.
The serving suggestion is, I think, spot-on, as the Roast is quite filling even in thin slices.
~*~* The Verdict *~*~
Overall, I enjoyed the Linda McCartney Vegetarian Roast. It was incredibly easy to prepare, was substantial enough for a main meal and is quite reasonably priced.
I would say that I personally prefer the Quorn roast product, as I prefer the texture of this, however I would say they are probably on a par in terms of flavour (which admittedly isn't very flavoursome, taking on the flavours of gravies, sauces and accompaniments instead). However, this may simply because, as a meat-eater, I haven't quite let go of my love of meat roasts!
Although the Roast is described as 'chicken-style' it is not akin to the texture of chicken much at all, so there may be some difficulty for those making the transition from meat to vegetarian food or those expecting something like chicken, as it is not very meat-like.
The Vegetarian Roast has, however, proved to be something that both I and my vegetarian family members have enjoyed eating, so overall I think it is worth a try.