This post was produced in collaboration with Goodlife FoodsWhen I was about 13 I decided I was vegetarian. This was 1992 and vegetarian options were pretty limited anywhere you went. I started basically replacing the meat on my Sunday roast with a huge chunk of cheese (it’s weirdly nice with gravy) and lived off baked beans and rice.
Then my head was turned by a Quarter Pounder with cheese when I was out with friends, and that was the end of my vegetarian adventures. I was too embarrassed to tell my Mum how easily I’d abandoned my principles for ages, so she kept dishing me up special meals, till one day she spotted me tucking into a Big Mac in town.
Honestly I’m not sure she’s ever forgiven me.
Fast forward 25 years, and being a vegetarian these days is a lot easier. There’s a lot more choice and vegetarian options aren’t the sad afterthought they were just a few years ago. Although I have never gone back to vegetarianism, I do often opt for vegetarian meals when I eat out because they’re just as delicious a choice as the meat-eater options.
I also try to opt for a few meat-free meals each week. It’s not always Monday, sometimes I have meat-free Wednesdays, but it’s not as alliterative, and today is Monday, so let’s go with that!
I do like to cook, but don’t always have as much time as I’d like, so I’m a big fan of anything without huge amounts of salt and fat that I can just throw in the oven and serve with some potatoes and veg! Pre-packaged vegetarian food has been a bit hit and miss for me, sometimes it can be quite bland, and some made with meat substitutes quite dry and rubbery, so I mostly make vege meals myself from scratch, which is a pain in weeks when I’m super busy.
Recently I got the opportunity to try some products from Goodlife Foods. This isn’t a brand that I had heard of before, but they are available in Sainsburys. All their products are vegetable based, rather than using meat substitutes. They claim they like to make the veg “The Star of the Show” and all their products are free from artificial additives, preservatives or colourings.
I tried 4 products that I’ll be reviewing today, so hopefully there’ll be some inspiration for your own Meat-Free Monday!
I’m starting with these because they are the absolute best thing in the world evah, since the last best thing in the world EVAH.
These have made it back onto our shopping list since we first tried them to review them, and it was Mr LLL that added them, not me, so there’s an endorsement for you.
When I was little we used to go shopping with my mum after work on a Friday night, and for a quick meal when we got back we’d gave chicken kiev and chips. To me kiev and chips is not only comfort food, because it reminds me of happy times when I was little, but it’s also the perfect fling in the oven convenience food. This is a great vegetarian alternative to chicken, filled with creamy gooey sauce.
I often have Falafel as a veggie lunch option, served cold with some cous cous and hummus.
With these ones I opted to serve them hot for dinner with some cous cous and roasted butternut squash and a pea and feta dip.
I’ll probably buy them again when I’m ordering Falafels as they were certainly as good as any other frozen Falafel I’ve ever ordered and cheaper than a lot of the other options. They didn’t blow me away, but they had a lot to live up to after the kiev!
The best thing about these is that they are green. Who doesn’t want green sausages for dinner?
Often when I get vegetarian sausages I use them in an easy bean stew that I make, but when I looked at these I was a bit worried that they wouldn’t hold up to being stirred around in a stew and I would just end up with spinach stew. Instead we had them as a vege sausage and mash. Comfort food for autumn evenings. They were delicious fried and reminded me of Glamorgan sausages with their cheesy vegetabley goodness.
I loved these and would definitely pick them up again for a good comfort food choice.
Last up, a ready meal.
I don’t eat ready meals often, but ones that cook from frozen are good to keep in the freezer for emergencies. This one contains 3 of your 5 a day and just 294 calories, so it was perfect to keep for a last-minute lunch.
I’ll level with you, I wasn’t expecting to like this. It was the last one I tried and I eyed it with suspicion as I put it in the microwave. I’m not a huge fan of curry ready meals, and I expected this to be watery and bland but with too much heat. I was genuinely surprised. The sweet potato added a lovely sweetness and the cauliflower rice, which I’ve never had before, was also delicious. The balance of spices was just right and it made a tasty and filling lunch.
I’ll probably stick with the falafels for lunches in future, but if you want a vege ready meal to stick in your freezer, this is a good choice!
Goodlife products are available at Sainsburys, Waitrose, Iceland and Morrisons, among others. Take a look to find your nearest stockists.
This post was produced in collaboration with Goodlife