There’s nothing better than walking into a grocery store and feeling as though every aisle is calling to you. Unfortunately, for those with dietary restrictions, chain grocery stores often feel more like a labyrinth than a buffet — finding the groceries you need and making sure they don’t contain any off-limit ingredients can feel more like a chore than an exciting culinary adventure.
For meat-free eaters in the U.K., however, one big chain is making the effort to become more all-inclusive. The major retailer, Waitrose, is expanding its meat-free options by a whopping 35 percent in order to satisfy its diverse range of eaters and shoppers. The best part? It all looks amazing.
We could get down with this Tikka Masala and Rainbow Vegetable Stew
Waitrose’s decision to offer more vegetarian and vegan options is a result of the rise of flexitarian eaters — diners who choose to leave meat off their plate when eating out.
As a spokesperson said: “According to a Mintel report earlier this year, demand for meat-free food is forecast to rise by nine percent over the next five years to 2021.”
How Are They Doing It?
So, how did Waitrose pull off the expansion? Their new menu, which offers 30 meat-free products, (11 of which are plant-based) came to be via a collaboration with The Vegetarian Butcher.
Founded by 9th generation farmer Jaap Korteweg in 2010, The Vegetarian Butcher is a Dutch company that offers different meat-substitutes, including a soy-based protein that Waitrose is using in its new expanded menu.
Just look at that color!
“There’s little doubt that plant protein will play an increasingly important part in a healthy balanced diet in the future. By working with The Vegetarian Butcher we can offer our shoppers a first-to-market high-quality replacement protein that is more akin to the texture of meat than anything we have stocked before. This will appeal to flexitarians who want to reduce their meat intake without the compromise, but is also suitable for vegetarians,” a spokesperson said in a press release.
“Our ideal is to have meat enthusiasts experience our products and then realize they don’t have to miss out on anything if they take meat out of their diet for one or more days,” said Korteweg.
“That is why we always try to capture the flavor of real meat and why we characterize ourselves as an entirely new generation of meat substitutes that are, according to top chefs, indistinguishable from the real thing.”
Plant-based eaters are well-catered to on the new menu, as they now have the option to purchase a 100 percent dairy-free spreadable vegan cheese called Sheese, a vegan style pulled-pork, and a handmade tofu.
Check out this gorgeous Rainbow Vegetable Stew!
Other meat-free options include ready-made meals, like tikka masala, lasagna, and green Thai curry.
Make Your Own!
If you’re not in the U.K. but still want your own delicious vegan food, don’t fret — the Food Monster App has your back. Here are three of our favorite recipes.
Paneer Tikka Masala is a popular North Indian entrée that is usually served with naan and basmati rice. The most popular of tikka masalas is chicken tikka masala, so much so it is the national dish of Britain. This version by Pavithra Kannan is creamy and vibrant.
Thai Green Curry
Thai Green Vegetable Curry With Zoodles by Niki Webster is a bit of a lighter take on Thai green curry – spiralized zucchini noodles stand in where steamed rice or rice noodles would usually be. It’s fresh, flavorful (thanks to the homemade Thai green curry paste you’re about to learn how to make!), and full of different exciting textures.
Lasagna With Cashew Bechamel by Kirsten Kaminski is packed with all kinds of hearty goodness. It combines a creamy cashew bechamel sauce with sautéed vegetables, homemade low-fat tomato sauce, and almond Parmesan cheese on top. You won’t miss dairy when you take a bite of this.
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
All image source: Waitrose