Tesco’s Free From Range – Review
Judging by a recent poll I ran on the Canny Food Twitter account Tesco is one of the favourite UK supermarkets for vegan friendly products. They have steadily been expanding their range of Free From foods over the last year, culminating in the arrival of some impressive dessert options of late. I decided to do a post to review these great items so you can pick them up next time you’re out shopping 🙂
Mac and Cheese Ready Meal
There was quite a buzz surrounding the arrival of Tesco’s Free From Mac & Cheese ready meal. Suitable for the microwave or the oven, I had to opted for the former as we don’t have a microwave at home.
Having not been overly keen on Sainbury’s dairy free version of this classic dish I wasn’t holding out much hope on this one either.
With its sprinkling of herbs it was clear Tesco were trying to elevate their new product above the ready meals you’ll find in the chiller aisle.
It took 25 minutes to cook and I gave it a stir halfway through to stop the pasta from drying out. An additional sprinkle of their Free From cheese might have made it look more appealing, but the taste was good for a vegan alternative. It didn’t have the overly coconut taste of the cheese I was fearful of. I purchased 2 for £5, which means I have a work lunch lined up this week. Its usual price is £3 for 350g. If you don’t have a microwave it might be quicker to knock up your own white sauce using flour, vegan butter, nutritional yeast and plant milk. Check out my recipe here.
Rocky Road Mini Bites
After being duped by Asda’s Free From Rocky Roads (which contain gelatine and are not suitable for vegans) I was dubious about finding any that would be suitable. While Lazy Days have sold a version for a while, I was never a big fan and found them quite ‘chalky’. Tesco’s newly launched variety is a firm favourite now, by contrast.These bite sized pieces come in a tub and are moreish. They are moist and don’t have the bitterness I usually find with with some vegan chocolate treats. At £3 a tub they are expensive, it has to be said, but good to see the range increasing.
New Chocolate & Strawberry Ice Lollies
These newly launched frozen lollies are exactly the same as Mini Milks, minus the dairy. A great treat for little ones to keep in the freezer, regardless of the weather.
Caramel Panna Cotta
These desserts can be found in the chilled aisle amongst the other sweets. I’m personally not a fan but I’ve never been particularly fond of the dairy cream alternative. The caramel isn’t as sweet as you’d imagine, which is probably a good thing. The coconut milk-based cream dessert needs a little bitterness to stop it from being overpowering and sickly. These are not diet friendly (343kcal per pot) so limit them to a special occasion. Millionaire’s DessertAgain, this dessert has a coconut base so if you aren’t a big fan you should probably avoid. There’s no escaping the coconut taste, even with the chocolate mousse. I really enjoyed this take on a Millionaire’s Dessert, however. Blackcurrant Cheese CakesThe wonderfully tart blackcurrant topping on these creamy puds acted as a lovely contrast. The base wasn’t as biscuity as I’d have liked but they are an enjoyable eat. Fromage Frais (Assorted Flavours)
Dinky is a huge fan of these dairy free yoghurts, which are made with soya. They come in a variety of flavours – her favourite is Strawberry – and are sold in a pack of 4 for £1.50. She takes these into nursery for snack time and wolfs them down. There’s also a chocolate pudding version that we have as an indulgent treat.
Dairy Free Cheese Range
For a long time I wouldn’t entertain the notion of vegan cheese. The very thought of it made me shudder. Fast forward two years and I don’t hate the stuff. In fact, I’ve found some I actually quite like. Tesco have launched new lines in their dairy free cheese line including Parmesan, Red Leicester Slices (which melt really well on top of burgers, as an FYI) and a Jalapeno Cheddar which we use on our Nachos. These are my top picks, although there’s a soft cheese and a few other block varieties you’ll find in the refrigerated section.
Chocolate Chip Cookies and Ginger Nuts
These chocolate chip biscuits were the first vegan ‘sweet’ alternative I truly loved, Oreos aside. Great with a cuppa, they will withstand even a rigorous dunking.
I’d say it’s only worth stumping up for these Free From Ginger Nut biscuits if you are intolerant to gluten as most supermarket own brand biccies like these are vegan friendly in the first place.
Garlic Baguette and Dough Balls
I’ll be honest and say I think – unless you are gluten free too – you should save your pennies and buy Tesco’s Value Garlic Bread instead of the Free From version found in the frozen aisle instead. Not only is it way cheaper (39p) it was recently voted one of the top supermarket options on the market by a panel that compromised of Jay Rayner and Michel Roux Jnr, no less.
Battered Onion Rings
A great addition to any weeknight supper and far more appetising than the usual breaded rings you find in the frozen aisle.
Cheese Flavour Nachos
These corn chips have never seen a cow, never mind contain anything from their udders! Super cheesy, I team these with a jar of salsa and grate on some of the Jalapeno Cheddar to make gooey Nachos.
Ice Cream Cones
Available in Toffee or Strawberry flavours, these are a freezer staple for us. A vegan alternative to a Cornetto 🙂
There’s also a Fruit Split ice lolly reminiscent of a Mivvi available too.
You’ll find a few more suggestions on what to pick up in Tesco here that aren’t to be found amongst the Free From products. Some of these lines may not be available in smaller branches as an FYI.
Thanks for reading,