Review – M&S Vegan Lasagne: How does it stack up?
Delicious new dinner, or marketing swizz?
With all these new releases of vegan products appearing in supermarkets across the land, it seems high time to deploy some boots on the ground. We need to know if these new concoctions are delicious new dinners, or manipulative, misleading marketing swizz.
To that end, I've stocked up on vegan bits and bobs from supermarkets to give you the lowdown.
First off: vegan lasagne from the Plant Kitchen branch of M&S. At around £3 a serving, this is far more expensive than a homemade lasagne would be, but pretty reasonable for a ready-meal version.
When the cardboard sleeve is revealed, the lasagne looks somewhat less than appetising, but once its been in the oven for 30 minutes it looks and smells damn good.
ooh baby that looks better
As is often the way with a readymeal, getting it onto the plate with any semblence of its original structure remaining in place is a tricky task..
I just about got the thing out of the tin the right way up, but even so, my efforts are hardly brochure-worthy. No matter, it'll taste the same I guess.
The real stand out achievement of this lasagne is the bechamel and vegan cheese. It's beautifully creamy and cheesy, despite having neither cream nor cheese in it.
The 'meat' is pretty good too: a nice, unmistakably meaty texture, which feels, at least to me, pretty close to mincemeat. Certainly closer than the mincemeat from Quorn.
Where the lasagne is lacking somewhat is the quality of the bolognese sauce. This is nothing to do with it being vegan, but more likely to do with budgeting. The sauce is in no sense rich or flavoursome – if I was cooking it at home I would have put in far more wine, tomato and herbs.
But this isn't a disaster. Essentially, it tastes like any cheap lasagne sauce. Like the kind you might find in a normal lasagne ready-meal, or a low quality lasagne served at a cheap cafe or gastropub.
In summary, whilst this isn't good enough to serve to your next dinner party guests due to the slightly lacking sauce, this is as good a ready-meal lasagne as any other, vegan or otherwise. The cheesiness is spot on; the bechamel is all there; the meat is convincing: a solid dinner any night of the week.