While shopping at the grocery store on the weekend, I passed through the meat alternative section and noticed a new product from Beyond Meat called "Beyond Sausage - Plant Based Sausages". I have experience with Beyond Meat from trying its hamburger patties, which are delicious, but a tangent that I will not diverge into in this post. As a former carnivore, I used to consume a significant quantity of sausages, bratwursts, wieners, frankfurters, etc., and after moving to a mostly plant based diet, it's been something I have missed. There are some enjoyable vegan hot dogs out there, but I haven't had a sausage that I liked previously, so I was excited to give these a shot. There were three varieties, original brat, sweet italian and my selection, hot italian. Whole Foods was offering them on sale for a heft $7.99, a $1 discount off the post $8.99 price, which I thought was pretty hefty for four sausages but decided to give it a shot. My plan was to saute fajitas style with bell peppers and onions, so I picked up a red, yellow and green pepper and a red onion as well.
In the evening I busted out my trusty non-stick frying pan, sharp knife and cutting board and got down to business. I diced up half of each of the bell peppers, the full red onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and tossed in the skillet on medium heat. I let this cook for a few minutes until the onions started to get soft and meanwhile cut the "sausages" into small rings. The consistency was actually not that dissimilar to other sausages and you could definitely small the "sausage" herbs and spices!
After about 12-15 minutes of cooking, the kitchen area definitely smelled like pork sausage fajitas! The food smelled great and as you can see the sausages look very similar to the original. I actually cooked even more than in these pictures and it browned/blackened up like one would expect that real meat would.
I had already eaten dinner and was preparing food for the week, but given my curiosity I put a couple chunks and some fajita veggies on a plate with white rice to have a taste. I found the texture to be similar to meat, but definitely a difference could be noted. The casing did not have a crisp snap and the inside was definitely a bit softer and perhaps more granular than meat would feel. The taste was very good, there was a juicy quality to the pieces and sufficient spices to make it taste good. While it was labeled hot italian, I found the spiciness level to be low. While it didn't taste just like a pork sausage, it was close, and I really enjoyed the small plate I had. The next day, I had a small portion as a side dish with my meal and found the leftover experience to be delicious as well.
Overall, I give the product a B+ rating for taste, but an A+ rating for delivering an effective meat alternative. The health statistics (see below) are very favorable vs. real pork sausages and the ingredients are all relatively healthy and natural sounding. There does not appear to be any odds chemicals or additives so I feel good about consuming these. I will not be adding this to my regular shopping list, but I could see myself purchasing these every couple of months.
Ingredients: Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Refined Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavor, Contains 2% or less of: Rice Protein, Faba Bean Protein, Potato Starch, Salt, Fruit Juice (For Color), Vegetable Juice (For Color), Apple Fiber, Methylcellulose, Citrus Extract (To Protect Quality), Calcium Alginate Casing.
Check out my review of WVRST in Toronto, on a related, but decidedly meat-based note!