What a time to be alive. When I can buy vegan blue cheese dressing at my local Embas Express. If you’ve been following my vegan supermarket posts, you’ll know that I’m a fan of Follow Your Heart’s range of vegan mayo. But the company’s High Omega Vegan Bleu Cheese Dressing takes Vegenaise to a whole new dimension.
Somehow, those solar powered magicians at Follow Your Heart have recreated the strong, magical taste and creamy luxuriousness of regular blue cheese dressing. Only they’ve done it with Vegenaise, and ingredients like apple cider vinegar, cold-pressed hemp seed oil, cold-pressed flaxseed oil and soy protein.
It’s mesmerising. Pure wizardry. If you could travel back to 2005 and put this shit on a vegan’s salad or falafel, it would blow their tiny, hummus-clogged mind. They’d never have seen it coming. I didn’t see it coming. I mean, I’ve had convincing blue cheese dressing at vegan burger joints before. But not my own bottle. On tap. In the fridge. Ready to pour on anything…
Thanks to Subway’s new Vegan Sub (and the vegan “chicken” shawarma wraps at my local kebab shop), garlic aioli is my new jam. I love the stuff. Can’t get enough of it. Of course, I was a little crushed when I discovered it’s just mayo, garlic and olive oil, with a fancy name. But still. It’s great on everything. Right?
The consistency of Vegenaise is a bit different, though. Whereas Hellmann’s vegan mayo is more or less exactly the same as the real thing, Vegenaise is thicker, more goopy and a bit more spread-like. So naturally, I ended up spreading it on my morning toast. And needless to say, it didn’t last long.
Garlic Aioli Vegenaise aside, Follow Your Heart seems like an interesting company in general. All their products say “made with solar power” on them, and there’s a wide range of creative, sustainability focused vegan options – everything from VeganEgg and yoghurt to ranch sauce and Pepper Jack cheese.
There isn’t really a Waitrose on my regular beat. So whenever I’m in one of the bigger stores I walk the aisles slack-jawed, bewildered by the sheer range and depth of vegan options available. Last time I was in the St Katharine’s Dock mega-store I picked up a tub of Waitrose Vegan Style Green Pesto With Basil. And a box of Ritz crackers.
I have made vegan pesto myself. With nutritional yeast. And it’s delicious. But it’s slightly different than the classic basil pesto taste and texture I remember. Instead of nutritional yeast, Waitrose’s version uses various starches – and even rice protein – to replicate that cheesy parmesan tang and velvety consistency that makes a perfect pesto. And it’s right on the money.
It’s fluffy. It’s lemony. It’s nutty. And it’s irresistible. I literally couldn’t put the tub down until it was all gone. Along with my box of Ritz crackers.
A couple months back, I was trawling the salad dressing and mayo aisle in my local ASDA, desperately searching for something jazzier than your basic vinaigrette. Something creamy. Some kind of decadent, vegan blue cheese alternative, perhaps. Was I dreaming? Had I gotten ahead of myself? Yes.
So… imagine my surprise when I tried again recently – albeit more dubiously – and found exactly what I was looking for. Pizza Express’ brand new Vegan House Light Dressing. It’s creamy. It zings. And you can put it on anything.
If you’re anything like me you’ll drizzle it on curries, pour it on loaded fries and mop it up with your fingers. If not, it’s great on salads too. Simply chop some lettuce. Add some tomato. Dice some cucumber. And drench it all with Vegan House Light Dressing for instant added luxury.
So far the dressing’s available at ASDA and Tesco. And as far as I can tell, the only difference between vegan and regular House Light Dressing, is Pizza Express has swapped free range egg yolk for “modified starch.”
I don’t know how they’ve done it, but Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo tastes even better than the real thing. And if you see a jar in your local supermarket, grab it. Fast. Because that shit sells out quicker than Spice Girls reunion tickets. And by the time you waltz back over with a cheeky bag of Bournville Buttons, it’ll be gone.
When I hit the mayo aisle my eyes scan the shelves anxiously. Real. Light. Lighter Than Light. Squeezy. Lighter Than Light Squeezy. Garlic. Olive Oil. Chilli…
Vegan Mayo’s like the Holy Grail. And so far, I’ve only found it in bigger Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda (once) stores. But your chances are slim. It’s like Russian roulette. And supermarkets, it seems, simply can’t keep up with the demand.
Comparing ingredients, the biggest difference between Real and Vegan Mayo, of course, is the lack of egg yolk, which Hellmann’s seem to have replaced with modified maize starch and natural mustard flavouring. Other than that they’re identical; rapeseed oil, water, spirit vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, antioxidant and paprika extract.
Only somehow, the vegan version comes out whiter than Gandalf’s beard. It’s like designer mayo. Tastier, creamier and richer than the real thing.