Back before I became vegan I tried out an Impossible Burger in New York. Touted as the ultimate meat substitute, the patty was designed to mimic the taste, smell and texture of meat so realistically that even the most voracious carnivore (and I use that term in a jokey way) would agree that the alternatives were just as good as ‘the real thing’.
There was a lot of consternation within the vegan community about whether a vegan would want something that ‘bled’, especially once we’ve made the ethical switch to avoid animal products. I always argued back that I didn’t stop eating meat because I didn’t like the taste or the texture, amongst the many reasons I quote it was also because my conscience started to nag me too loudly on paying for someone to do my ‘dirty work’. People like my Dad will never take replacements seriously if Linda McCartney Sausages are the best we can offer. Give him something so realistic and cheap he can’t say no and I think even he would reduce the amount of meat he consumes. Not only would this benefit his health greatly, it would also benefit the environment. Don’t believe me? Go watch Cowspiracy.
The arrival of No Bull Burgers in Iceland this month (April) has been big news. The first chain to start selling a meat substitute along the lines of Impossible and Beyond Meat, these patties are being heralded as a game changer for those looking for a realistic alternative to an Angus. Retailing at £2 for 2, they aren’t as cheap as one may expect from the retailer. That said, they are still comparatively inexpensive in relation to some of the superior quality meat products on the market. Hopefully with enough demand they will reduce in price to make them more attractive to families on a budget, etc.
Made from soya protein and coloured with beetroot extract and paprika, there’s no getting away from the redness of the ‘meat’. Cooking from frozen in a frying pan is supposed to take between 4 to 6 minutes, although I’d suggest a little longer to ensure the middle is cooked through. Oil is required if frying as they are quite sticky, although they can be cooked in the oven, and it is possible to get a nice crust on the exterior as you’d want from its meat parallel.
This is where some vegans may feel a bit uneasy. When you cut through the cooked patty it looks disconcertingly meat-esque, especially for those who were never fond of their meat on the rare side. There’s no earthy flavour from the beetroot and I can reassure those who are worried about it ‘bleeding’ that it doesn’t. Did it match up to the Impossible Burger? Not quite, but it was the best vegan burger I’ve tasted from a store. The fact that I can buy something like this from Iceland in Gateshead blows my mind. This is how far veganism has advanced in the last year.
The texture is spot-on, but for me the colour needs a bit of tweaking to tone the redness down. They are definitely better cooked in the oven where some of the exterior redness does down.
The taste was entirely like a beef burger to me and we were impressed.
The reactions in our house was entirely positive and we’ll definitely pop into Iceland to buy more in the future. It isn’t a store I buy from usually, favouring Farmfoods for stocking up on frozen food, but if they continue to focus on increasing their vegan lines I may switch allegiances.
Thanks for reading,