With every supermarket selling vegan sausage rolls now, there's never been so much choice for a quick lunchtime snack. But which vegan sausage roll is the best?
I have assembled a selection of supermarket brand vegan sausage rolls and sampled them, rating them on a number of criteria, saving you time and money.
I started to write down all the supermarkets, googling some other options, and then I realised actually what a mammoth task this could be. Some brands sell "bake at home" sausage rolls. Do I include these? Or do I just sample ready-to-eat ones?
I made a drastic and perhaps irrational choice, and decided to go for "off the shelf" vegan sausage rolls for two reasons:
- it is currently too hot to put the oven on for just sausage rolls
- I actually don't enjoy hot sausage rolls.
And fortunately, the brands that sell frozen ones, also sell ones ready-baked as well.
Criteria for Grading Vegan Sausage Rolls
I graded the sausage rolls on a number of different criteria:
- Price/Value for money
For me personally, I have always loved sausage rolls, and so I want my vegan sausage roll to remind me of a classic sausage roll. And I suppose that the yardstick for this would be (if not my mum's Christmas ones), Gregg's classic sausage rolls. And in fact, they do their own vegan version too, and this did not escape my scrutiny.
- Value for money. Sausage rolls are renowned for being cheap, and I expect nothing less from a vegan one.
- So, a good sausage roll should have pastry that is not too flakey and not brittle crumble, but retains integrity with every bite.
- The filling should be herby and the ratio to pastry should be generous.
- Packaging. As we all know, it is more critical these days that products should use as little packaging as possible.
The brands tried were:
- Sainsburys Plant Pioneers
- M&S Plant Kitchen
- Linda McCartney mini sausage rolls
- Tesco Plant Chef
- Walls Jumbo Sausage Rolls
Neither Aldi or Lidl have a ready-baked vegan sausage roll, but they do frozen ones. Waitrose only stock brands like Frys and Higgedy. Quorn has a vegetarian sausage roll but this contains both egg white AND milk so did not qualify for this taste test.
I didn't sample Higgedy as their veggie rolls are not strictly sausage rolls, and I have tried them before and they are not very nice. Also, very high price point.
I blind tasted the sausage rolls, so I was not swayed by brands or company ethics.
Best Value for Money
By far the cheapest sausage rolls are the Tesco Plant Chef ones, you get 2 for 70p, which is amazing value for money. For vegans on a budget, this is unbeatable. The Walls jumbo sausage roll is a close contender at £1.00.
Unsurprisingly, the M&S sausage rolls have the highest price point at £2.90 for 2.
Greggs sausage rolls come in the most eco-friendly packaging, in one of their paper bags, and you could probably ask for it without. However, this is a little unfair as a comparison to the other brands, as they are sold off the shelf in supermarkets, as opposed to Greggs, which is a bakery, selling freshly baked products.
Frys and M&S, sold in pairs, come in a a plastic tray, with plastic wrapping. Linda McCartney's come in a little plastic box.
Walls, Pukka, Plant Pioneers (Sainsbury) and Plant Chef (Tesco) are sold in plastic wrappers.
Greggs: the most long-awaited vegan sausage roll hit the bakery chain in 2020, and has consistently received rave reviews. When you buy them in-store, they are usually warm and are best eaten as such. By far these taste the most like a traditional sausage roll. The pastry is deliciously flakey, but not crumbly, and the filling is well-flavoured and perfectly textured. The filling/pastry ratio is perfectly balanced. By far the best vegan sausage roll of the bunch.
Walls. As a company renowned for making sausage rolls, alongside other meat products, they really nailed the flavor of a vegan sausage roll. The pastry is flavourful, the filling herby and generous. A close second.
Pukka. Famous for Pukka pies, seen in most chip shops throughout the UK, I was quite surprised to see that Pukka had produced a vegan sausage roll. This one is a bit different to the others, in that the filling contains actual vegetables like onion and peas. The filling on its own is a bit salty, but within the pastry casing, it is perfectly balanced.
Sainsbury Plant Pioneers. This is where the sausage rolls sadly take a bit of a flavour nosedive. This is the last really decent sausage roll of the bunch, and it wasn't really that great. The filling was ok but the pastry was quite dry and flakey. It was saved by dipping into the obligatory ketchup.
Linda McCartney mini sausage rolls. These remind me of Christmas, when your mum brings out a tray out sausage rolls from the oven. If you're lucky, they were homemade. If you were also lucky, she bought a bag of frozen mini ones. Both are equally good on Christmas eve. I had hoped that the LMc would transport me back to those days, but sadly not. Even though it was not Christmas eve when I tried them (in fact a hot day in June), they were disappointing. Not to say that size matters, but ratio does, and these are so pastry-dense that you can't really taste any filling. The kind of snack you enjoy when you're drunk and need something to soak up the tequila and hope you don't have a hangover the next day.
Tesco Plant Chef. Pretty unpleasant. The filling tastes weird, quite garlicky, but the texture is unpleasant. Even ketchup couldn't redeem them. I guess the 70p price label indicates the quality.
Frys. Again, not a pleasant sausage roll. The filling was dry, had no flavour and the pastry was too flakey. Kudos to Frys for being a leader in producing vegan products. They were one of the only brands producing high-quality, tasty products when I first became vegan ten years ago. However, this cannot save this sad sausage roll.
M&S Plant Kitchen. This was the most disappointing of all of the vegan sausage rolls. I had such high hopes, given that M&S Plant Kitchen usually produce really high quality, tasty vegan dishes. They look great, the most like homemade sausage rolls, with a lovely shiny golden pastry case. However, these sausage rolls, given the high price point, were really unpleasant. Very strong garlic flavour, dry pastry, and generally inedible.
I hope that you find this little guide helpful, and remember that taste is subjective. Brands hopefully listen to customer reviews and reformulate their recipes (looking directly at you M&S), so in a year, this list could change. However, for now, Greggs will be my go-to vegan sausage roll.
If you want to support a brand who are strictly plant-based with strong ethics, then Frys is your go-to; however, I would suggest you try something else from their range!
Other Vegan Resources
Take a look at my other vegan guides