Greggs' vegan steak bake is the latest animal-free pastry to arrive at Greggs, following the phenomenal success of the vegan sausage roll last year. With the marketers and advertisers telling use that this month is 'Veganuary', we decided it might be a good idea to round off the month by taste-testing some of the new vegan stuff that's been hitting fast food outlets across the country - steak bake included.
First off, the name steak bake is kind of a misnomer. Not because I'm being pedantic and insisting that it's not really steak, because I really don't care about that, but because the Quorn innards are more mincey than steaky. I guess trying to come up with something with the same exact texture as shreds of beef wasn't worth the effort, because it's not like people really care or notice that sort of thing.
But the only people who are going to argue that sort of thing are idiots. People like Piers Morgan who don't deserve any attention because even derision and mockery does nothing to make them stop and think before they speak.
So what it taste like? Good, though if I'm going to be perfectly honest I do prefer the regular Steak Bake for a variety of reasons. That said, if the vegan one was the only one available I'd be quite happy eating it - just as I would with the vegan sausage roll.
Side by side the two don't quite taste alike, and the original Steak Bake does have more of a 'meaty' quality to it that hasn't quite been replicated in its vegan counterpart. They have done quite a good job, though, and put someone through a blind test and I'm not sure they'd be able to tell that there was no animal in there.
The consistency isn't quite the same, as you'd expect, but not because of the mince. The gravy inside isn't quite as thick, and seems a bit more watery than the thicker, darker sauce inside the OG steak bake. Though I imagine most of this is down to ingredients, and that the Steak Bake must use some sort of animal product to get that final result.
Now that I think about it, though, it's not too dissimilar from Tesco's Steak Slices, which also opts for the mince option instead of chunks of actual steak. Consistency is similar too, with the innards coming out a bit runnier than Greggs' meaty option. While I didn't eat them side-by-side, I'd wager that there isn't a whole lot of taste difference between those two either.
But does it taste like its innards got carved out of a cow? Yes, kind of. It's meaty enough to pass for real meat, though as mentioned before it's missing a little bit of something that the actually-steak Steak Bake has to offer. I can't quite put my finger on what, though if you told someone it had meat in it they'd have no reason not to believe you. Obviously eating the two kinds side by side skewed the taste results a little bit, because the vegan isn't as rich or flavoursome - but that's primarily down to the weaker gravy than the Quorn.
It certainly looks like meat anyway.
Interestingly, while the vegan bake isn't going to exactly be 'good' for you, it does have fewer calories than the meat version. The difference is only 28 calories per bake, but that might be worth thinking about. Naturally it uses the same raised horizontal lines as the vegan sausage roll to differentiate it from its meaty sibling. So you won't get confused and accidentally eat the wrong one.
Annoyingly the vegan option is 5p more expensive, though. Five pence isn't a lot, but you'd think there would be some price parity, right? That's the takeaway price too, because Greggs charges extra if you plan on sitting at one of its tables.
Overall the Vegan Steak Bake isn't going to convert any dedicated meat eaters, but this is good news for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone who's been on the fence. After all everyone loves junk food, dietary preferences or not, and having extra options is going to make life more enjoyable for you.
Greggs? Make a vegan chicken bake next, kthxbai.