Vegetarian sausages are going to be a bit easier to rank than eggs, guys. It’s not a big spoiler for me to tell you that now.

It might seem odd for me to be doing a taste test for vegetarian sausages, as I eat everything, including meat. However, partly inspired by two lovely friends of mine who have been practising six-day-a-week vegetarianism, I have been eating far less meat than I used to. I definitely do still eat meat (and fish), but when I do it’s the happiest, highest quality meat I can afford. It’s now more of a treat than a staple. Thus, I found myself buying vegetarian sausages for the first time at the beginning of this year.

You know what, though? Vegetarian sausages are kind of hard to find. That’s probably no news to vegetarians, but to a meat-eater, it was a bit of a surprise. A few supermarkets I tried didn’t sell them at all. There were only a couple of supermarket own brands that I could see – and I had to head to the frozen section for those – so there are a few brand name vegetarian sausages in here too.

As before, I feel I need a rambling disclaimer: obviously, I am doing this in my kitchen and not in a lab and I am not a scientist. These are the opinions of one person – that said, one person who has been trained to taste for quality. Also, the products used in this series are just examples – obviously there are, say, eight or nine different types of vegetarian sausages or whatever the product may be, and I’m not going to try every single one because what am I, made of money?

Finally, I should highlight that I tasted all the products blind, and at the time of tasting and making my notes I didn’t know which product came from which shop. I sat in one room while my glamorous assistant (er, my husband), prepared the samples in another. Any notes added regarding packaging and so on were only done after blind tasting, when I learned which supermarket had made A, B, C, D, or E.

The Blind Taste Test: Vegetarian Sausages

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Veggie Sausages
per 100g
£*
kcal
fat
carb
fibre
protein
salt
Linda McCartney
0.87
168
6.0
8.7
3.0
18.2
1.3
Cauldron Lincolnshire
0.91
182
9.8
5.5
3.6
16.1
1.3
Sainsbury’s
0.57
181
10.7
3.7
2.3
16.3
1.0
Tesco
0.65
222
15.8
1.6
2.2
17.1
1.0
Quorn
 1.0
155
5.2
15.1
5.5
8.9
1.1

A – Linda McCartney – 4/10

  • A slightly odd orange colour, but crisped up well in the oven, and a nice texture on the exterior. Smells okay – a bit unusual, but not bad. Doesn’t smell or taste like a sausage though. Not an awful texture, and perfectly edible, but very bland and no particular flavour.

B – Sainsbury’s – 6/10

  • Looks more like a real sausage than A: a good colour. Smells nice, and kind of like a real sausage. Texture is actually reminiscent of meat. A bit bland but not bad – a bit of spiciness and flavour, but it doesn’t taste like meat.

C – Quorn – 5/10

  • A bit pale, but has a skin like a sausage and smells quite nice. Very soft and smooth texture, not really like meat. Doesn’t taste bad, but again, quite bland and lacking in real flavour.

D – Tesco – 3/10

  • Pink, thin, with a rubbery texture. The oddest looking of the bunch. Weird, and quite unpleasant, texture and taste. However, does taste quite like one of the fake hot dog sausages you get at theme parks or whatever.

E – Cauldron – Lincolnshire – 8/10

  • Looks the best of the bunch – a nice colour and size, cuts nicely. Smells good. The meatiest texture of the lot. Certainly more flavour than any of the others. Doesn’t taste exactly like meat, but a reasonable meat alternative, and perfectly pleasant to eat.

Conclusion

All the vegetarian sausages looked really different when the samples came out, and it was interesting to see how much variation there was between products. Initially, I wondered how I was going to rank this. Should I score the vegetarian sausages based on how much they taste like real meat, or on how good they are to eat in and of themselves? In the end, however, that wasn’t really a problem. The sausage that tasted the most like real meat was also the most pleasant thing to eat. The Cauldron sausages were the clear winner. That said, the Sainsbury’s own-brand frozen option were surprisingly nice, and much cheaper if you’re on a budget. I wouldn’t buy any of the other three options again, but I do have a pack of the Cauldron sausages in the fridge. Next to the bacon.

*Prices correct at time of writing.