Cutting back on our meat consumption is one of the best food choices we can make for the environment.
There are loads of vegetarian sausages out there nowadays. And we've heard whispers they can be enjoyed by veggies and meat eaters alike.
We recruited a pack of salivating meat-eaters to check out 6 of the most popular veggie options and answer the eternal question:
Could your next barbecue be a meat-free sensation?
We rated our bangers on 4 crucial criteria:
Apparently we taste with our eyes first, so looks came top of the menu.
Next up was taste. We want our summer barbecue to be meat-free, not taste-free.
According to most taste critics texture is key – we're looking for something moist, firm and succulent, like the best tender meaty options.
And finally, the most precious characteristic you've been waiting for: meatosity.
The best vegetarian sausages should be giving their meat equivalent a run for its money, and leaving even hardened meat-eaters wondering whether they've been served pork by mistake.
VegiDeli Lincolnshire-style vegan sausages (6 for £2.69):
We had VegiDeli lovers in our tasting group, so we thought these meat and dairy free bangers would be a hit. But the Lincolnshire-style version we tested didn’t cut the mustard.
Made from wheat gluten, the sausages had an altogether dry texture, with one meat lover noting "it tastes a bit like bread".
Taifun Tofu Grill vegan sausages (4 for £3.95):
With a price tag of almost a pound per sausage, we were hoping for something great from these beauties – and their firm texture didn't let us down. However, their pale and pasty exterior (and hefty salt content) meant our carnivorous crew found them a bit too processed.
Sainsbury’s Cumberland-style sausages (6 for £1.50):
As the only supermarket own-brand sausage included in our test, these are the cheapest option by far. They are a great budget option, with a "nice and peppery" taste, but were too uniform and squishy to offer textural excitement.
The general takeaway feeling from these bangers – they'd work well in a sandwich.
Quorn meat-free sausages (6 for £2.00):
With a great golden dark hue, this banger was a hit in the looks department. These are a great barbecue option with "herby" flavours and a firm texture. But don't try and fool your carnivorous chums – the great taste was "definitely not meaty".
Linda McCartney’s Outrageously Succulent Vegetarian Sausages (6 for £1.95):
Although I usually associate brightly coloured food with high vitamin content, the overriding orange glow of these sausages didn’t hold favour with our tasters. But what they lacked in looks, they made up for with their juicy texture, gaining popularity with veggies and meat eaters alike.
Cauldron Lincolnshire vegetarian sausages (6 for £2.00):
Our meat-lovers were converted by Cauldron. They were a firm favourite among some rogue vegetarian tasters too, with one proclaiming "these are a cut above everything else".
While these didn’t have the same seared look as a couple of the other brands we tried, our tasters thought they were the most "authentic-looking" sausages on our barbecue. Cauldron’s great flavour – a balanced taste of sage and pepper – was coined by one admirer as tasting "like a pig got in the onion patch".
Which diet is best for the environment?
Ever wondered just how good meat substitutes are for the planet?
Check out how eco-friendly veggie bangers and burgers are with this great free guide from Ethical Consumer.