M&S Vegan Burger: Not Just a Linda McCartney Copycat!
M&S have released a vegan burger, and I have eaten it.
Achieving the most realistic vegan burger has been the focus of many brand in the last year or two. New companies – like the Bill Gates backed brand, Impossible Foods – have emerged to take on this culinary challenge, and the results are becoming increasingly compelling.
As part of its Veganuary offerings, M&S has thrown its hat in the ring also. Their Plant Kitchen 'No Beef Burger' is one of the supermarket giant's numerous vegan burger options. But whereas most of their new burgers are classic veggie burgers made of beans, beetroot or some other vegetable filling, this one is a proper meat substitute akin to the Impossible Burger.
Whilst most of these kind of this recommend cooking in the oven, you really do have to fry for the best results. Not so healthy, admittedly, but I'm far more concerned with flavour than calorie counting. Therefore, I ensure these are cooked in a well-oiled pan.
As you can see in the pictures, they look pretty similar to burgers! They're quite pink – almost certainly an attempt by M&S to create a 'bloody' appearance, but in fact it gives them a colour comparable to the kind of low budget burgers that I always remember having at school fayres as a kid.
Between a beautiful crusty white bun with a good smattering of ketchup, mustard and tabasco, this made a damn good meal. The texture is fantastic; really meaty and juicy, and in no way dry or crumbly (my two least favourite aspects of bad veggie burgers). I dare say that without being fried in oil they would have tasted significantly worse, but then again that same rule applies to more or less everything!
The burger is made from soya mince and vegetable and suet, which accounts for the admirable texture, moistness and taste. Unfortunately, the cheap, school fayre-ness carries through from the appearance to the taste. This is a convincing burger, but what it replicates is a burger made of second-class, pink cuts with a relatively high flour percentage.
Not perfect, but a really nice burger and totally worth the £1.50 they cost.