PETA UK Vegan Food Awards 2014
2014 has seen the vegan food revolution reach new heights, with everyone from Al Gore to Jennifer Lopez embracing plant-based goodness. It makes sense – choosing vegan is a recipe for enhanced health, a lower carbon footprint, reduced cholesterol, a clear complexion and an even clearer conscience as a result of saving so many animals.
Consequently, vegan food has never been as widely available as it is today. So, to help you navigate the dizzying array of faux meats, dairy-free sweet treats and other animal-friendly favourites on sale across the UK, our judges have been busy sampling the very best of what’s on offer. The winners below are our top picks – feast your eyes, then go out, hit the shops and try them for yourself!
BEST DAIRY-FREE MILK:
MARKS & SPENCER OAT MILK
This isn’t just any dairy-free milk—this is wholesome, nutrient-filled oat milk from M&S’ great new “free from milk” range (the rice and coconut milks are also delicious, and almond milk will soon follow!).
BEST EGG-FREE MAYONNAISE:
GRANOVITA MAYOLA ORIGINAL
Featuring a great creamy texture, this egg-free mayo is a crowd-pleaser, with just the right amount of piquancy. It gets bonus points for being in a squeezable bottle, too!
BEST DAIRY-FREE CHEESE:
TESCO FREE FROM SOYA SMOKED
We were delighted when Tesco got on board with the growing vegan cheese market – and even more so when we sampled this delicious smoky “cheese”. It’s perfect in sandwiches, in toasties or on crackers.
BEST FAUX FISH:
VBITES FISH-FREE FISH FINGERS
These tasty and convenient snacks recreate a childhood favourite, without harming any sea-dwelling animals. Serve with peas, ketchup and two slices of bread for a nostalgic feast.
BEST VEGAN BURGER:
FRY’S CHICKEN-STYLE BURGERS
There was stiff competition for the veggie burger award, but the succulent, breadcrumb-coated Fry’s option, with its deceptively “meaty” texture, won us over.
BEST VEGAN SAUSAGE:
DEE’S TRADITIONAL VEGAN SAUSAGES
These brilliant bangers from Irish company Dee’s are some of the most authentic-tasting vegan sausages we’ve tried – and, as they’re made from sustainably grown yellow peas and organic seaweed, they’re great for the environment as well as animals.
BEST VEGAN NOODLES:
YO! SUSHI VEGETABLE YAKISOBA
Coming to a conveyor belt near you, this Japanese street-food favourite consists of pan-fried noodles and vegetables in a tangy sauce. Yum!
BEST VEGAN PASTY OR PIE:
LINDA MCCARTNEY COUNTRY PIES
These country pies include soya mince cooked in a rich onion gravy and encased in a light flaky pastry. This is traditional British comfort food made easy – with a vegan twist, of course.
BEST VEGAN READY MEAL:
KIRSTY’S MOROCCAN VEGETABLES WITH QUINOA
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more wholesome ready meal than this – its ingredients include brown rice, aduki beans, chickpeas and quinoa, served in a subtly spiced tomato sauce. In addition to being vegan, it’s gluten-free!
BEST VEGAN PIZZA:
Cheese cravings are a thing of the past for plant-eaters, thanks to the luxurious wood-fired pizzas offered by this London-based chain. The pizzas come smothered in properly melty vegan cheese and can even be delivered straight to your door!
BEST VEGAN SANDWICH OR WRAP:
PRET A MANGER SUPER GREENS SANDWICH
Not only is this sandwich cruelty-free and delightfully crunchy, it’s also packed full of on-trend superfood ingredients, including kale, avocado, flaked almonds and wild mushrooms. Oh, and it’s available in approximately 240 different locations across the UK.
BEST VEGAN BISCUITS/CAKE:
LOLA’S PASSION FRUIT CUPCAKE
Fluffy and moist with a delectably “creamy” icing, Lola’s fruity cupcakes are both adorable and delicious. They make great gifts – if you can resist the temptation to gobble them up yourself, that is.
BEST VEGAN DESSERT:
PUDOLOGY BANOFFEE PUD
Four of our favourite components – bananas, toffee, chocolate and crunchy biscuits – are artfully combined in one indulgent little pot of pud. We couldn’t not give this beautiful dessert a prize.
BEST DAIRY-FREE ICE CREAM:
BOOJA-BOOJA HUNKY PUNKY CHOCOLATE
“Booja-Booja” has become a byword for luxurious vegan treats, and this vegan ice cream, which remarkably has only four simple ingredients, is no exception. It’s rich, “creamy” and oh-so chocolatey.
BEST VEGAN CONFECTIONERY:
GOODY GOOD STUFF COLA BREEZE
These fizzy gummy sweets taste just the way you remember ’em – except they contain only natural colours and flavourings and are completely devoid of gruesome animal-derived gelatine.
BEST DAIRY-FREE YOGHURT:
CO YO MANGO YOGHURT
CO YO’s dairy-free yoghurts have become something of a sensation since launching in the UK recently, and we can see why. The tropical flavours of mango and coconut combine to make a satisfying and decidedly exotic breakfast experience.
BEST VEGAN LUXURY FOOD ITEM:
HOTEL CHOCOLAT FRUIT AND NUT FRENZY GIANT SLAB
For when a standard chocolate bar just isn’t enough, this massive half-kilo hunk of vegan chocolate is guaranteed to take things to the next level.
BEST VEGAN MENU:
THE MONTAGU MENU AT THE MONTAGU, HYATT REGENCY LONDON
Every dish on this vegan menu, conceived by Los Angeles–based chef Ali Parvinjah, is exquisite, imaginative and beautifully presented. Combine that with the five-star setting, and you have the meal of a lifetime.
BEST VEGAN COOKBOOK:
KEEP IT VEGAN BY ÁINE CARLIN
Whether you’re a veteran vegan or just getting started with compassionate cuisine, Áine Carlin’s simple, creative recipes are sure to inspire.
MOST INNOVATIVE VEGAN PRODUCT:
TÅNGKORN SEAWEED TOPPING
Garnish canapés, crispbreads or anything else you fancy with this intriguing “caviar” product to get the true taste of the sea. It’s much more satisfying than swallowing the eggs of a murdered animal.