This week, we're going big on the new vegan fast food that's arrived thanks to Veganuary, and so far it's been rather good. Greggs' Vegan Steak Bake and KFC's fake chicken burger went down well in our testing, but times change now that we're onto McDonald's. Honestly? The new veggie dippers are a pretty boring addition to veganuary.
Part of this is down to the fact that the veggie dippers aren't exactly new. The dippers already existed as part of the Vegetable Deluxe burger and the Spicy Veggie One wrap, so really all McDonald's has done is pulled them out of the bread and packaged them with chips and a drink. In other words making them a split pea-based substitute to the Chicken Selects.
That said, the burger and wraps weren't actually certified vegan, which seems to be down to the fact that the bread and tortilla is marked with a milk warning - even though there are zero non-vegan ingredients. Assuming you get the burger without mayonnaise that is, which is 100% non-vegan due to the fact it's basically just egg, fat, and extra flavouring.
But the dippers themselves are made in such a way that there's no risk of milk, egg, or some other animal product contaminating the final product, and they've received vegan certification from the
Vegan Police Vegan Society as a result. In other words, while the burger and wrap are basically vegan (assuming you don't have mayo), this is the only option if you want complete certainty that there's no animal in there.
Sadly they're just not that good. They're dull, boring, and it feels as though McDonald's hasn't tried very hard - which is weird considering the company has done a proper vegan burger patty before. It just never bothered to release it here, the same way Burger King and KFC have done.
'Bland' is the word I'd use. Even though there's a bit of seasoning in the pesto-y interior, the Veggie Dippers just did not appeal to me - and I should know because I ate six of them in various forms. The mayo-free burger, the wrap, and the dippers alone, and it felt like a chore to get through them all. It shouldn't have been, because I hadn't touched my chips yet and this was my dinner, so it's not like I was full and stuffing them into my face for no reason.
True, I didn't dip the solo dippers into anything, but that's not how I roll. If I'm eating selects or nuggets I much prefer to eat them as is, and I enjoy them plenty. Veggie Dippers? Not so much, and that shouldn't be the case because I actually like all the constituent parts.
I love me a chick pea burger, which is what these look and felt like, but McDonald's failed to add a spark to their version. It's almost as though the veggie option is literally a case of someone going "we need to appeal to these hippies, so let's do the absolute bare minimum". It's not quite as bad as being given a plate of grilled cauliflower 'steaks', but it's not that much better either.
And the issue isn't that it's not designed to imitate a meat product, as other vegan fast food is. There's just no love in there, and they feel depressing to look at and to eat.
Honestly, McDonald's, you can do a lot better. But hey, at least they're only 80 calories each, which is slightly better than the 120 you'd consume from a single chicken select. Still the point about fast food is that it's supposed to be enjoyable, and the Veggie Dippers are anything but. I wish had more to say about them, but honestly there's only so many times you can say that the things are dull, and uninspiring. Here's hoping McDonald's comes to its senses in the near future.