“ Brand: Sainsbury's / Type: Vegetarians „
*** Student grub ***
Back in my student days, Sainsburys made a little lifesaver in a tin that kept me well nourished and helped ensure I had a well balanced diet. This little miracle was Vegetarian Bolognese in a tin, at the bargain price of 54p. As a skint student who didn't eat much meat, this was a bit of a godsend and I would stock up every time I went shopping. Also, as the tin contained just the Bolognese sauce, and no pasta, this really helped me develop my culinary skills as I had to make the pasta myself. This help me achieve a wide range of vital cooking skills which I still use today, such as boiling water, adding pasta, cooking pasta and testing pasta is ready to eat. The sauce also contained mushrooms - usually two but sometimes even three small slices! This helped increase my weekly intake of vegetables by approximately 100% and, on big-money days, I even added a little smattering of cheese to my delicious spag bol.
All in all this was an amazing product, and needless to say I was devastated when, towards the end of my student days, they discontinued it. I searched high and low in various different branches but to no avail. My beloved Bolognese was no more!
Even now, many years later, I think back on the amazing times I had with my veggie Bolognese, and wonder what the hell I would have eaten when I was a student if it hadn't existed. And when I found this product a few months back in Sainsbury's, I almost cried with delight! "It's back - and this time the spaghetti's included!". Amazingly the price has remained pretty much the same - not bad after over ten years - and I didn't hesitate to grab a tin and get ready for a trip down memory lane...
The 415g tin is mainly green with a plate of student-tastic-looking spag bol on the front. There is also the useful 'traffic light' nutrition circle on the front.
*** Quick interlude for those of you that may be unfamiliar with the traffic lights system of food labelling ***
The traffic lights system of food labelling was launched a few years back by the government's Food Standards Agency. Basically, the front of the packaging tells you at a glance how good or bad it is for you.
Sainsbury's is one of the supermarkets that uses this system, and they have a circle on the front of their food packaging which is divided into segments for fat, saturated fat, calories, sugar and salt. These segments are coloured green, orange and red depending on the levels in the food. I think this is a great way to see at a glance if the item you are about to buy contains high levels of fat and calories, and I often use it when I'm picking up a sandwich or something for my lunch - some foods can be very deceptive when it comes to nutritional values so this is a great way to see quickly what you're getting.
*** End of today's lesson ***
I was very pleased to see that the traffic lights on my tin were green for everything except salt (1.25g in half a can). Doubling up the figures, a full tin contains 330 calories and 4.2g of fat.
*** Gloopy mess ***
Opening up the tin, the contents look rather unappetising if I am honest. There is masses of Bolognese sauce and not so much spaghetti, and the overall look is all a bit of a mushy mess. Spooning it out into a bowl, this really is a big gloopy mass of stodge. But a few mins in the microwave later, and I was ready to tuck in.
The texture, first of all, is as it appears - very mushy. It is quite a lot like the texture of baby food, and would also be useful for older folk who are lacking in the teeth department! The pieces of spaghetti are very short, and there is no 'bite' to the pasta or sauce at all and it feels a little like a proper spaghetti Bolognese that has been blitzed for a few seconds in the blender.
*** Against the odds ... ***
Despite this odd texture, I strangely quite like this product and I have repurchased. The taste is actually pretty decent - I wouldn't say it is anything like a traditional, homemade spag bol (veggie or otherwise) but it's actually quite a rich, tasty sauce. You can definitely taste the tomatoes, onion and garlic, and all in all it isn't a bad little meal.
I guess I also enjoy it for nostalgic reasons, but I frequently work from home and sometimes I just need something really quick and easy to eat and this does the job (although I am always faintly ashamed of myself when I have it!). I have added cheese to it since (again, on those big-money days) and this does help a lot.
*** Overall ... ***
For the price, I think this is a pretty decent meal in a tin. No, it isn't authentic and it's a bit of a mushy old mess, but it delivers on flavour and I don't think it's bad at all. But I do wish they'd bring back the sauce on its own - I think this would be better if it had my own perfectly-cooked pasta in it rather than the stodgy bits of spaghetti this contains!
When I first stopped eating meat about 20 years ago I found the best place to get vegetarian food was Sainsburys. It wasn't great but it was excellent towards other supermarkets, now all supermarkets sell some vege food, but some more than others. Vege food in a tin isn't that available; some supermarkets sell vege sausage and beans others don't. The only place I have found vegetarian spaghetti bolognese in a tin is in Sainsburys. I must point out that I live in a smallish town and there isn't much vegetarian stuff so it could be widely available in supermarkets near you.
I have had this many times over the years so it is something I buy for the cupboard.
Over the years we have eaten it various ways but never totally on its own. To me it isn't real spag bol. and I would never sit down to eat this as an evening meal with or without garlic bread.
It is something we have on toast for brunch at a weekend or on the side with an egg and toast. The girls have it for dinner occasionally with toast or baby sweetcorn. It is quite nice to have on a jacket spud with a bit of grated cheese which was once an experiment as we didn't have beans in.
The tin looks like the picture dooyoo is showing and has a ring pull to open the tin which I like. It costs 58p per tin so although dearer than beans not too expensive and a nice change.
The spaghetti in the tin is short so no need to twist it round your fork (a reason why it can never be real spaghetti bolognese) and it is quite thick. It has mince (obviously not real (texured protein) and tomatoes) and not a lot of sauce - it is all mixed together.
On the whole it is a tasty snack but not for an evening meal. as with most vege stuff it has garlic in but not too much.
I am not going to list the ingredients but it does make a nice change from beans on toast whether you are vege or not.
58p a tin is not bad and will do 2 if having on toast or with an egg.
As I don't eat meat I'm always pleased to try something snacky and tasty that doesn't contain meat. I don't find that most supermarkets cater very well for vegetarians. It's not so difficult finding something to have as a dinner but, when it comes to something for a quick lunch or snack, then things can be difficult and the shelves a little bare. However, larger Sainsbury's stores, I find, are improving, and some of their tinned convenience foods aren't at all bad.
I've tried this particular product a few times. It's so easy and quick to prepare and is fairly tasty. I won't go overboard...it's not like 'proper' home made bolognese, whether that's made with meat or soya, but, as a quick hunger fix, I think it's worth keeping in your larder.
This vegetarian bolognese can be heated gently, either in a microwave oven, for a few minutes, or heated gently on the hob. I prefer to heat foods like this on the hob as I can do other jobs in the kitchen whilst waiting for this to reach the required temperature. It simply needs to be heated gently, stirring occasionally for a few minutes ( three to four, according to instructions printed on the tin) Once warmed enough, I transfer from saucepan to bowl, grind a little black pepper onto it and it's ready to enjoy. A slice or two of crusty bread goes well with this.
As I ate a bowl of this yesterday for a quick lunch, I thought that it would also make a very satisfying toast topper. I have been making my own toast toppers and freezing some as, I find there really isn't much of this available without meat, and the little that can be found is often too bland for my taste.
The picture on the tin is pretty realistic. The tin contents consist of small pieces of spaghetti, which you can eat with a spoon, no fork needed, and a meat style sauce (textured meat protein) which is quite thick in consistency.
One 415 sized tin of this bolognese makes a snack or small portion for one, but as a toast topper it would go a long way. I think one third of a tin would be adequate for two slices of toast. I'm going to try this as a toast topper. And if you were especially hungry you could grate a little cheese on top and place under a hot grill for a minute or two.
I found this in the tinned food section of Sainsburys, along with foodstuffs things such as ravioli and macaroni cheese.
I paid, 58 pence for a 415 gram tin. This is cheap!
Sainsbury's vegetarian spaghetti bolognese is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans and, I think alright for all the family, as a snack or side dish. Makes a change from spaghetti hoops or baked beans.
Information on label:
Dietary Information- **Contains celery, wheat gluten & barley gluten
Short Cut Spaghetti (47%) (Water, Durum Wheat Semolina), Tomato Purée (31%), Tomatoes, Wheat Protein (Textured Wheat Protein, Roasted Barley Malt Extract), Water, Onion, Sugar, Rapeseed Oil, Modified Maize Starch, Onion Powder, Salt, Seasoning (Salt, Wheat Flour, Onion Powder, NaturalFlavouring), Vegetable Bouillon (Salt, Yeast Extract, Sugar, Onion Powder, Leek Powder, Garlic Powder, Natural Flavouring), Yeast Extract (Yeast, Potato Starch, Salt, Yeast Extract), Garlic, Herb Seasoning (Water, Spirit Vinegar, Modified Starch, Garlic Oil, Basil Extract, Marjoram, Oregano Extract, Parsley, Pepper, Thyme), Malic Acid, Natural Colour: Carotenes.