I secretly cooked Woolworths' vegan mince for my meat-loving partner, and he said it was the best meal ever

Daniella Brandy

  • I recently fed my meat-loving fiance a meal with plant-based mince, and didn’t tell him what it was
  • I’m trying to incorporate more vegetables into our diets, and I wanted to see if he would like it, but I knew he wouldn’t try it if he knew it was vegan
  • It was a resounding success

I’m not vegetarian, but I try to eat as many vegetables as I can.

When I eat a lot of meat and carbs, I feel heavy and lethargic, but when I balance out my meal with vegetables, I find I have a lot more energy and don’t feel as “blah”.

That being said, I do tend to eat a little bit of meat, as I find it difficult to get enough protein from vegetables alone, and feel light-headed if I don’t get enough.

My fiance is quite different. He’s a gym-junkie, protein-holic, and his go to meal is tuna or chicken with rice and no vegetables.

Come meal prep time, it’s a point of contention for us. I prefer meals with the majority of the dish being vegetables, whereas he likes the majority to be protein and/or carbs to fuel his intense gym workouts.

We takes turns cooking for each other. When I’m cooking, he usually asks me to add more meat and take away some vegetables, and when he cooks I usually ask him to do the opposite.

When Woolworths launched Funky Field’s new vegan “mince” a few weeks ago, I wanted to try it out and see how it compared to the real thing. I also wanted to see if it was a way I could incorporate more vegetables in our diet without sacrificing the satisfaction that a meat-based meal provides.

It was tough to find though, and I had to go to four different Woolies stores to get it.

A Woolworths spokesperson told Business Insider that it had been extremely popular and sold out in a number of stores nationally.

I kept checking back at my local store, and after about two weeks, I finally found it on the shelf.

Some customers have been up in arms about its placement within stores.

Carnivores said that vegan “mince” had no place alongside meat, and vegetarians said they wouldn’t necessarily find it because they don’t often go to the meat section.

Daniella BrandyHere it is in the green boxes in the chilled meat section, alongside the sausages.

It’s made of mainly soy protein, as well as soy flour, wheat gluten, almonds, mushroom and tomato, so it’s not suitable for those with a gluten allergy or who like to eat gluten-free food.

It’s also quite expensive at $8 for 400g. You can buy 500g of regular beef mince for $4, or 500g of lean pork mince for $5.50.

It’s 10% fat and 18% protein, and is packaged in at least 50% recycled plastic.

Funky Fields, the manufacturer is quite mysterious. The website doesn’t offer much extra information, and it only seems to manufacture one other product, a vegan butter that I haven’t seen in stores.

I’ve tried other vegetarian meat alternatives like nut meat and tempeh, but they didn’t satisfy my appetite, and some of them have a strange texture.

I decided to try the mince myself, and I also wanted to know what my gym-jumkie fiance though of it too, but I knew he wouldn’t try it if I told him what it was, so I didn’t tell him my idea.

I put it in a quick and easy pasta dish I make every one to two weeks.

Here are the ingredients I put in the dish with the pasta.

Daniella Brandy

As you can see, there are a lot of vegetables. I try include 3 to 4 vegetables in any dish I cook.

If I don’t include that many, the carbs and the heaviness of the meat leave me feeling tired and heavy afterward.

I fry up the plant-based mince first.

Daniella Brandy

It gives a satisfying sizzle, and crumbles nicely, but stays a slightly disconcerting shade of bright red, and doesn’t turn brown like real mince does.

There are little spots of white, just like the fat in real mince, made from added coconut oil.

It has a hint of the smell of beef, but is much drier and no oil or fat pools at the bottom as it usually does when I cook mince.

I fry it for a while, but I’m not sure if it’s cooking properly as the colour doesn’t change. I wait a few minutes before adding the vegetables and pasta sauce.

Once I’ve added those ingredients, it no longer looks so alarmingly red.

The dry texture of the mince seems to soak up some of the liquid from the pasta sauce.

Daniella Brandy

Once I think it’s done, I spoon it onto the cooked pasta.

It looks just like real mince, but I cover it up with extra cheese just in case my fiance suspects something is afoot.

Daniella BrandyHers (left with more vegetables) and his (right, with more mince)

To me, it tastes slightly sweet, and if I hadn’t cooked it myself, I wouldn’t have guessed it was plant-based mince.

It doesn’t taste exactly like beef, so I would perhaps have said it was perhaps a pork or chicken mince.

It’s chewy and tastes slightly smokey and bread-y. I like it, and would eat it again.

I ask my fiance what he thinks, and he says he likes it.

He says it’s the best meal he’s ever had (although he says that every time I feed him, so I’m not sure whether the food is that good, or he’s just happy to be fed).

There’s no indication he thinks it’s anything but beef mince.

Here’s the proof.

Daniella Brandy

He finished the entire bowl without asking anything about the mince.

So there you have it. A gym-junkie, self-confessed carnivore has tried the new vegetarian mince and polished off the entire bowl.

He was quite surprised when I told him what it really was after he had finished.

It was also a lot easier to wash up the pan after dinner too, as there wasn’t a pool of congealed fat and grease from the mince lining the pan.

While I wouldn’t replace every meal requiring mince with the vegetarian alternative as it’s quite pricey, it is something I would consider swapping out every now and then for a lighter option.

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