Product Type: Tesco Ready Meals
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A "meaty" veggie burger
Tesco Meat Free Burgers
Member Name: yackers1
Tesco Meat Free Burgers
Advantages: A great meat alternative, quick to cook, healthy option to a standard burger
Disadvantages: Not tthat tasy on their own, wouldn't put one on a BBQ
Firstly I would like to point out that I am not vegetarian, and up until a few months ago if someone mentioned "meat free burger" I would have baulked at the thought. My other half has an obsession with the fat content of foods and she never touches burgers because they are so full of fat. When we have a BBQ she will always opt for a meat free variety and I had never thought to try one.
A few weeks ago I was by myself and couldn't be bothered to cook. Hunting through the freezer for some type of quick fix convenience food I stumbled across a box of Tesco meat free burgers, obviously left over from the summer, and thought I would give them a go.
The ingredients used in manufacturing these burgers is vast and include soya protein (57%), wheat protein (20%), vegetable oil, dried egg white, potato starch, yeast extract, salt, pea fibre, barley, spices, stabilisers, onion powder, garlic powder and rusk.
Despite using some pretty powerful ingredients, I refer to the onion powder and garlic powder, it is not possible to identify any overpowering agent, which I find quite surprising. Overall, the ingredients fuse together to produce a pretty neutral product. I must admit that I never notice the onion or garlic content but my other half always comments the morning after eating these burgers that I taste of garlic, so it must be quite potent.
Each burger contains 80 calories, 10.1g of protein, 3.4g of carbohydrates, 2.8g of fat, 1.7g of fibre and 0.6g of salt.
Looking at the nutritional information one of these burgers, on its own, isn't actually that bad for you, and if you compare it to a traditional meat burger it is hundreds of times better for you.
One thing that surprised me was the fat content since I was always under the impression that meat substitutes and soya/quorn products contained zero fat. Personally, I am not bothered about the fat content, after all it is needed for a balanced diet. Besides, I am of the opinion that having some fat actually assists the cooking process as it stops food from drying out too much.
The only thing that is going to make these burgers bad for you is the additional extras you have with them and since these burgers are great in a roll with plastic cheese and lots of mayonnaise a somewhat healthy meal becomes quite the opposite for me.
As with most of these ready-made and convenience type foods there are numerous ways to cook these burgers, and since vegetarian foods require less cooking than meat products (which could be potentially threatening if under cooked) including microwaving, grilling, oven baking and shallow frying.
With a 650Wmicrowave these burgers are cooked using full power for one minute, turning the burger over and then cooking for a further 30 seconds. If using a 750W microwave the initial minute can be reduced to 45 seconds before turning the burger and then cooking for a further 30 seconds. These times are comparable to that of other microwave burgers, such as the Rustlers brand, so it is actually possible to have a quick snack to sort out the drunken munchies, or whatever that is fairly healthy. In addition you don't have to suffer the awful rolls of the Rustlers brand that either come out soggy or hard.
I have always been a bit sceptical about microwaves, and whilst I think they are a fantastic invention and great for defrosting and heating through, I am still undecided about actually cooking things from raw with one. I mean, is it really possible to cook something properly in such a short time? I appreciate meat substitute products really only need warming through but I am still not convinced, and I must admit I have never tried microwaving these burgers and can't comment what they are like straight out of the microwave.
Grilling these burgers takes approximately 8 - 10 minutes, although at the end of the day it is down to personal preference. Grilling is my cooking method of choice and I find the best way of doing it is to grill the burgers until they start to spit and then turn it over and do the same to the other side. One thing I have found is that these burgers go from cooked to overdone very quickly and one thing you don't want to do is over do one of these burgers as they are not very good once they are crispy.
I have to admit that I never oven bake or shallow fry these burgers so I cannot comment on what they are like cooked in this way.
****Smell and taste****
It is difficult to describe the smell of these burgers, or liken it to any familiar products. I find the smell neutral and bland, even considering the pretty powerful ingredients, but is this such a bad thing?
Just like the smell I am struggling to describe the taste of these burgers, and I can't think of anything familiar to liken it to. Personally I don't think these burgers are that tasty, don't get me wrong they are nice but they don't get my taste-buds tingling, but then no meat substitutes do that for me. You may well ask why I eat these burgers if the taste isn't that good.
The reason I buy these burgers, and all meat substitutes for that matter (including chicken pieces, quorn mince and sausages), is because of the texture. I find using meat alternatives is a great way of reducing the fat content and making a more healthy chilli, sweet and sour chicken dish although I will alternate between the "proper" meat and vegetarian varieties. In all of these dishes I find it is the other ingredients that provide the smell and taste and the meat or meat substitute provides nothing more than the texture and bulk.
One of these burgers in a roll with plastic cheese and lots of mayonnaise tastes great. I also like one of these burgers in a roll, with plastic cheese, thinly sliced gherkins and lots of American style mustard. This combination tastes just like a cheeseburger from a famous fast food joint.
These burgers are only available from Tescos, obviously, and cost £1.89 for eight which I think is great value.
I admit I was sceptical about these burgers but I have to admit that I am hooked on them. They are not the most versatile of food products and I would only ever eat them in a roll with lots of flavoursome extras. Eaten on their own they are not that good.
These burgers are great for those nights when you can't be bothered to cook, or those times when you want something quickly as they take no time to cook, and if you are brave you can have them out of a microwave as quick as you can a Rustlers, but this option is much better for you.
Even though I am a meat eater I would opt for one of these meat free varieties over a frozen meat burger every time as I find frozen meat burgers pretty disgusting and nowhere near as good as a "proper" burger, so I am glad I have found a frozen alternative in these burgers.
(This review has been posted on other sites under the name of yackers1)
Summary: A quick and easy meat free alternative