Vegetarian and vegan pies are still hard to come by in the average supermarket – and if they are there, you can usually guarantee there will be one option. Usually a “steak” pie with rich gravy, surrounded by puff or shortcrust pastry.
But Higgidy is trying to change all that. They are set to release a brand new pie to the vegan market next month – and from chutney to curry, it is certainly not your traditional British pie.
So what is it and, more importantly, how does it compare to the current products on offer? MyLondon was given a sneak preview and has rated it alongside their closest pie competitors: Quorn, Pukka and Linda McCartney.
Higgidy’s Roasted Chickpea Masala Pie
Higgidy’s brand new vegan pie is a deep filled pie, taking 25 minutes to cook to perfection. Within the vegan pastry, there is a layer of coconut milk and lentil dhal, topped with a spicier top layer of tomato-based chickpea curry with a dash of chilli. The pie is wrapped is hand-topped with mango chutney, chickpeas and breadcrumbs.
Once cooked, I was pleased to see that the layers remain intact rather than merging into one another. First biting into it I was a little perturbed by the fact that I was eating curry in a pie. But by the second bite I was converted – the ingredients taste so fresh and the coconut layer marries perfectly with the spice from the masala.
The flavours work perfectly together, but you can still taste each one. Despite not being a British staple of the pie world, I was pleasantly surprised and hugely enjoyed this pie. The only criticism is its size – when Higgidy say deep-fill, they mean it. I think I would struggle to finish it – but I’m sure I’d find a way!
The new pie has an RRP of £4, so it’s certainly not the cheapest on the menu, and will be available from April 6.
Taste rating: 8/10
Value for money: 3/10
Quorn’s Vegetarian Steak & Gravy Pies
Quorn is the vegetarian go-to for anyone missing meat from their diet. These pies are one of my favourite – with puff pastry that is thick enough to prevent any soggy bottoms from appearing.
The chunks of “steak” are large enough to give the feel of a traditional meat pie, and the gravy is rich and full of flavour. The only issue for me is the pie is very basic. Steak and gravy is what is advertised, and that is what you get – while a lot of meat pies have additional ingredients such as onion which make it a more interesting meal.
Quorn’s pies cost £2 for two – meaning at a pound a piece they are 25 per cent of the price of Higgidy’s offering. And it has to be said that the vegetarian pastry is much tastier than Higgidy’s.
Taste rating: 5/10
Value for money: 8/10
Pukka’s Vegan Chicken and Mushroom Pie
Now this might have been my favourite of the bunch. Pukka’s offering of chicken and mushroom made me really happy because – for once – there was a choice! I used to love chicken pies so the vegan version is a must-have.
Despite having had many, I can never seem to get the cooking quite right – the pie always ends up with the pastry in the middle not quite cooked enough, but the rest golden brown. With that said, the flavours make up for it!
The “chicken” is pretty convincing and the mushrooms add a lovely taste to the gravy inside – and means you don’t feel as if you’ve just eaten a lump of fake meat surrounded by pastry. And speaking of pastry, I don’t know how Pukka gets its vegan puff to taste so much like the real thing, but I don’t care either!
At £1.75 the price tag could be much worse, considering how tasty it is.
Taste rating: 7/10
Value for money: 6/10
Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Country Pies
Now Linda McCartney has a special place in my heart, and always will. I say that because I’m about to rip her pies apart. Unlike her sausages, slices and burgers which are all among my favourites, these pies were a huge let down.
The shortcrust pastry is tasty, but for me that’s where it ends. The gravy may be rich and tasty, but McCartney uses soya meat in her pie, and almost nothing else. The taste of soya lingers on the tongue and when there are such great vegan pies on the market now, it just doesn’t stack up to the competition.
If you happen to love the taste of soya meat, then this pie is for you. But I’d much rather have a curry in a pie or, let’s face it, anything else at all, than that. But at £2.20 for two, I certainly can’t complain about the cost.
Taste rating: 2/10
Value for money: 5/10
There may not be much choice of vegetarian and vegan pies on offer, but it’s certainly improving. I do think companies need to get more diverse with their branding colours though – I’m looking at you Quorn and Pukka.
All in all, I was shocked how much I enjoyed Higgidy’s new pie – even though I was initially confused by the concept. If you want the tastiest on offer I would thoroughly recommend – although given the price tag I won’t be buying it every day that’s for sure.
Pukka’s version was also a standout, but for different reasons. If you’re looking for a cheaper option that is also packed with flavour, this is the one for you. Surprisingly it was the two vegan pies that came out on top for me – proof that vegan food is really tasty if effort is put in.
Unfortunately I definitely won’t be buying Quorn or Linda McCartney pies any time soon – but I’m sure there are others out there who love them.
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