As I like to mix up my food choices every so often I decided to give a mix of vegetarian/vegan food a try. I figure it will be the first in a long line, so why not write it up :-)
Tesco Free From Coconut Oil Alternative To Jalapeño & Chilli Cheese Slices
An interesting take on cheese slices, adding the spice in to help vary the taste. The coconut flavour is definitely there (it's distinctive and not easy to mask), however it isn't as overpowering as other coconut-based products I have tried. The chilli is there but subtle enough it shouldn't detract from anything else added in a sandwich.
Eating cold isn't bad however it doesn't bring out its full flavour profile. I found having it melted on toast is nice, however you need something acidic with it to balance the sweetness from the coconut oil. With a slightly acidic sauce it balances nicely and is enjoyable.
Tesco Free From Coconut Oil Alternative To Halloumi
This cheese has me somewhat confused given both its flavour and texture, given how it is marketed. Aesthetically it does look very similar to halloumi, however from a texture perspective (when cold) it lacks all of the moisture you would expect and it shows when you eat it cold. Without cooking it tastes bland and really doesn't resemble what you would expect, and frankly isn't nice.
Cooking it brings out a different side (and more confusion). Fry it and you get a halloumi-like texture on the outside, but a brie-like filling on the inside. The taste also improves significantly, though it still doesn't resemble halloumi. I found that having it in a toasted sandwich or dipped into a sweet chilli sauce worked well.
Similar to the Tesco cheese slices reviewed earlier this is the vegan take on Mexicana cheese (which I am a fan of). Eating it uncooked you can taste the chilli (it has more kick/spice than the Tesco option), however it doesn't overcome the coconut oil taste. That said, the coconut oil taste isn't overpowering, even when eating cold.
When cooked it makes for a nice spicy cheese on toast / toasted sandwich. I'd definitely recommend adding something slightly acidic though as it does help cut the coconut oil taste to make it a balanced flavour profile. For those who like a larger amount of spice this is the one to go for.
Peperami Vegerami Pep’d Up Chick’nless Bites
I had high hopes for these but felt somewhat let down after trying them. The texture is similar to that of a Peperami (loosely), however the flavour isn't that enjoyable. They appear to have tried to make it taste like a Peperami instead of giving it a new flavour and avoiding the comparison.
Peperami Vegerami Smokin' Chick’less Bites
This was the worst-tasting out of the two, with a flavour that lasts for some time after eating and really does leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth. The texture is the same as the Pep'd up version (to be expected), but the flavour is definitely worse with these.
Squeaky Bean Chargrilled Cajun Mini Fillets
Unfortunately this was the worst of everything that I tried, though this might be a Marmite situation... Eaten cold the texture of these isn't pleasant, while warmed up it does improve significantly. It is the char flavour which creates the love/hate split here.
All you can taste with these is the char, hot or cold, and it's strong, very strong! There is no taste of Cajun anywhere to be found, just the char. If you like tasting that burnt-on-the-BBBQ flavour then these may hit the spot, but for my tastebuds they are too overpowering.
Wicked Kitchen Italian Inspired Amazeballs
I'd say these are a good take on the classic meatball, with good flavour and a hint of spice. The texture when cooked in the oven is a little tough, however its the inside that sadly suffers and becomes a little too tough as a result.
Cooking these again I'd definitely try part cooking in the oven and then finishing them in a tomato-based sauce to allow them to absorb some of the water/flavour. Get the balance right with this and they would definitely make a good meatball replacement.
Better Naked Spicy Bean Burgers
These are an improved take on the classic vege-burger, which hold together well and do contain a mix of different size ingredients, giving it an interesting texture as you eat it. As it's bean-based you do taste them (and feel them).
The let-down for me with these is the flavour, as the spices they have added overpower all of the other ingredients despite the spice not being that strong. Visually you can see the different ingredients yet as you eat it all you can really taste is the spice.
Wicked Kitchen Jalapeño Griller Patties
While not in the photo I had to mention these (and save the best for last). I admit that these are by far my favourite non-meat burger, and I've had them a few times now. What I love about these the most is that they have their own style and aren't trying to replicate the texture of a soya burger. The texture is good, the balance of spice and flavour is good, and they grill/BBQ great. For most burgers at home this is definitely my go-to from now on.