The long-awaited vegan range from Quorn has finally arrived and I was lucky enough to get an exclusive sneak peak and taste two weeks ago.
The story of Quorn is unusual. It starts in a field in England in the early 1960’s. Because of fears of food shortages, scientists were asked to find new plant & vegetable based protein foods. Their search identified a mushroom protein (mycoprotein) only found in a field near Marlow, Buckinghamshire. It was high in fibre and protein and low in fat. It took years of research to be able to grow this mycoprotein on a large scale and it was not until 1985 that the first Quorn product, a savoury pie, was launched.
Once collected the mycoprotein goes through a fermentation process similar to the ones used in the production of bread, yoghurt and beer. The resulting product is then textured, frozen and seasoned to resemble chicken, beef, turkey etc.
Today with over 100 products and over 500,000 meals eaten every day in the UK alone, Quorn is the leading meat-free brand.
Yet until recently, Quorn was off-limit for vegans as it contained egg and milk. The increased popularity of the vegan diet and no less than four consumer-led petitions in support of a Quorn Vegan Range led the company to take its first step into veganism. After three years of development, this October sees the UK launch of a “Hot & Spicy Burger” (SRP £2.49) and some “Vegan Quorn Meat Free Pieces“(SRP £2.49).
A fortnight ago, along with some other bloggers, I was given a taste of the new range during the Quorn Vegan launch at the elegant Ampersand Hotel in London.
After vegan canapes and vegan wine, we were introduced to the new range. Dinner promptly followed with a Hot & Spicy Burger (served with barbecue beans, herbed carrots fries & tomato relish), a Mediterranean Socca, a Papaya Salad and a Szechuan Stir Fry. The last three dishes were made with Vegan Quorn Meat Free Pieces.
We certainly did not go hungry. All of it was absolutely delicious and frankly I could not tell the difference between the classic Quorn vegetarian range and these new vegan products. They have the same structure (so very similar to meat) and great taste.
I admit I am not generally a fan of store-bought vegetarian and vegan burgers but the Quorn Vegan Hot and Spicy Burger is really really good. The meat-free pieces are very versatile and you can accommodate them to the cuisine of your choice as they blend very well with any spices and flavours. They make a nice change from tofu and contain twice as much protein (16g / 100g vs 8g protein / 100g of tofu) while being high in fibre and low in fat.
If you are trying to reduce the amount of meat you are eating, Quorn Vegan makes a perfect addition to your flexitarian pantry. Should you find yourself in the frozen aisles of Waitrose and Asda do give Quorn Vegan a try. You won’t be disappointed!