I don’t usually buy a ready-made lunch for work; I’m too skint for such luxuries. Instead, I generally bring in leftovers or buy a bunch of salad/wrap ingredients at the beginning of the week and make fresh lunches every day.
But the other week when I walked into work’s local Budgens and saw a new ready-to-eat section with an entirely vegan and vegetarian-friendly range by Laura’s Idea. I had to try it! All in the name of research, right?
Laura’s Idea was a simple one: “to create food that’s as tasty as it is healthy”; the entire range is vegetarian, with the majority of products being vegan. It is not a new company – in fact, far from it as they have been around for 30 years – but I had never heard of it or seen their products before, so perhaps they’ve picked up a new line of suppliers.
My local Budgens had quite a variety of their products including the Sprouting Salad, Vegan Sushi, Vegetable Curry, Spinach Pancake, Spanish Tortilla, and Vegetable Calzone as well as a small range of breakfast and dessert choices.
I was really tempted by the curry but it was a warm day so I couldn’t go past the Spinach Pancake and the Sprouting Raw Salad (both vegan). I ate the spinach pancake cold and it was absolutely delicious! The pancake was light but held in place, rolled around a delicious mix of spinach and a little bit of tofu. It was sort of like a vegan alternative to a spinach and feta crêpe but I actually preferred it! The pancake went really well with the fresh and zesty sprouting salad that contained organic sprouted beans, lentils and chickpeas along with cucumber, tomato, carrots, lemon juice and herbs.
The salad was big enough for 2-3 days as a side, so the next day I went back to taste-test another ‘main’. This time, I chose the vegan Calzone. Though not really much like a traditional calzone (aside from the fact it was folded in half) it was still pretty good. The pancake-like crust was packed with carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers and a home-made tofu spread, which was amazing! We don’t have an oven in the office kitchen but I think it would have been really tasty heated up. I did like the calzone but preferred the pancake as it was a little less stodgy.
I’ve read mixed reviews online of the range – people don’t seem too fond of the sweet items like the tofu ‘cheesecake’ but I would eat any of the items I bought again! It’s not the cheapest option for lunch with most items coming in between £2.80 and £4, so I wouldn’t buy these meals every week but they are great as a treat every now and then. And they certainly make a nice change from the usual supermarket veggie fare of Ploughman’s sandwiches or falafel.
Laura’s Idea can be found in Wholefoods, Planet Organic and a range of independent health food stores.