Tried Aldi’s ‘Plant Menu’ vegan range and it’s not what I expected

Aldi has launched its new vegan range to brand ‘Veganuary’ and so far it has been a hit with shoppers.

The range is extensive and, like the rest of Aldi’s products, it’s affordable with a block of vegan cheese at £1.39.

Veganuary is an annual challenge to encourage non-vegans to give up animal products for a month.

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It started in 2014 and in 2020, 400,000 people signed up for the campaign.

With more and more people concerned about doing their part for the environment and for their health, some are turning to vegan options. “Meatless Mondays” have also become a trend in some households.

As supermarkets take a more vegan approach, Edinburgh Live wanted to try Aldi’s plant-based range.

For full transparency, I eat meat – but I also eat and cook with lots of meat substitutes, simply for the health benefits, so the Aldi range intrigued me.

I managed to buy six ‘Plant Menu’ items for £10.74, but as most of them are more than one serving I’d say it’s affordable compared to other brands.

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My shopping list included:

  • Chipotle vegetable pie €1.29
  • Square sausage slice (four in a pack) €1.89
  • Vegan chocolate and hazelnut pudding (for two people) €1.99
  • No peri peri chicken fillets (two in a pack) £1.99
  • Vegan cheese €1.39
  • No pork bacon slices €2.19

The verdict

The Plant Menu Chipotle Vegan Vegetable Pie was an absolute winner for me.

Being a single serving, it was filling and the flavor was incredibly full bodied. The pastry did not taste different from the non-vegan pastry and the vegetables were plentiful.

I like spice but I wouldn’t say it was too spicy, just full of herbs and spices that complement each other.

I ate it on its own, but I wish I had fries with it to soak up the sauce.

The two breakfast options I had were the vegan square sausage and the bacon. Starting with the square sausages, they are very easy to cook in a skillet for about five minutes, but be sure to turn them regularly.

One thing I’ve noticed with this and bacon is that they cook very quickly and burn rather than crisp like meat.

The vegan square sausages smelled like pork and I would say they tasted like normal square sausages with a texture that’s probably as close as it gets when the meat isn’t involved. Without adding any flavor to it myself, it had the same amount of salt as the original and was a nice breakfast.

As I’m not one to cook real pork – fear of food poisoning is real – I’d definitely opt for these instead.

Vegan square sausages could be a big hit in Scotland.

As for the bacon, I would say they have the same smell and taste as smoked bacon chips.

You can definitely tell it’s pork free, the texture is hard to describe, the slices are smooth but they’re full of that smoky bacon flavor.

I would suggest these are a great substitute if you want to cut meat, or cut back and these would reduce the craving for bacon.

But if you’re looking for something identical to real bacon, you might want more.

Although I normally eat meat alternatives and vegetarian options, one thing that puts me off a vegan diet is the lack of good cheese, so I had to give Aldi’s Plant Menu cheese. It’s a cheesy coconut oil alternative and it’s packed with flavor.

It’s really smooth, doesn’t crumble, and tastes like a really strong cheese which I think would make a really good cheese sauce. And for £1.39, I’m sure those looking for a dairy-free cheese will be delighted.

Moving on to the pudding, I saved the best for last.

The vegan chocolate hazelnut pudding is incredibly rich and I only wish I had bought the vegan ice cream to go with it.

Pop it in the microwave for just over a minute and you have a light sponge with a gooey chocolate top layer. It’s so chocolatey yet light that it doesn’t feel heavy.

I ate it after the vegetable pie and it was the perfect way to end a meatless dinner.

Have you tried Aldi’s vegan range? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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