“ Type: Crisps/Snacks „
I was first introduced to vegetable crisps a while ago by a rather faddy friend of mine. I didn't pay much attention at the time. As I recall, I was rather drunk when eating them. However, on a recent visit to Pret a Manger (the (mainly) southern English sandwich chain) I happened upon a rather natty looking packet of crisps which turned out to be vegetable chips.
What is a vegetable chip (or crisp for those of us that prefer the Queen's English)?
Basically, they are no different to a potato crisp. In the Pret version, beetroot, parsnip and sweet potatoes are all thinly sliced and fried to produce multi-coloured crisps.
Each fried vegetable slice retains a distinct flavour. With your eyes closed you know immediately which one you are eating. With your eyes open it's a touch more obvious! The beetroot retains a wonderful purpley-maroon colour, although they can easily give the impression that they are a little burned. Sweet potato crisps look rather like a barbecue flavour crisp, a light, golden orangy brown. Parsnip crisps look the most like normal crisps although depending upon whether they are sliced lengthways or across the vegetable means you either get a long, thin, pale slice or a small round slice with a distinctly darker "heart".
As a result of the natural flavour of these vegetables there's a distinctly sweet taste to these crisps. You could be forgiven for thinking that they had been sugared. To the bite they give a wonderfully satisfying crunch - more Kettle Chip than Walkers. Although they have been salted, they do not taste particularly salty and I am not left wanting a drink at the end of the packet. The fat tends to stay in the crisps and you do not end up with particularly greasy fingers after eating these.
I've yet to experience a soggy crisp but I have had the odd one that has tasted stale. I suspect that this was as a result of an underlying problem with the vegetable rather than it really being a stale crisp.
The crisps give off a distinct aroma, predominantly that of parsnip. It's not the most inviting of smells and a bit more off-putting than your average packet of crisps.
All this talk of vegetables suggests a healthy snack. Think again though. Whilst you might try to argue that a packet of these satisfies one or more of your "five a day" spare a thought for the fat and salt that you are also putting away.
It might astound you to learn that for a product that only contains vegetables, oil and salt, only 61% of the product is actually vegetables! That leaves a whopping 9.3g of fat (sunflower oil) and goodness knows how much salt per 25g bag.
Kind of. As something different to serve up at a party they create a talking point - they are sufficiently new for people to wonder about them. They look far more interesting than standard crisps.
One of my best uses for them is as a garnish on soups in place of croutons. Remember to add them just before serving though as they will go soggy.
At 60p for a 25g bag these are a bit on the costly side. On price and health I'd not recommend getting addicted to these!
Just a couple of warnings to finish up with. There is a "nut allergy" warning on the packet (due to the factory in which these are made) and my own warning is that soggy beetroot crisps stain!
These chips include beet root, parsnip and sweet potato. So they're roughly comparable to Terra Chips, except that there's a greater variety of vegetables in those than these.