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With Veganuary underway, we ask how veggie-friendly is West Norfolk?




‘Tis the season to have a second look at what you are consuming, and its effects on your body and the planet.

At least, that’s what a lot of people will be doing this month while taking on the Veganuary challenge – Vegan January – to try a vegan diet, meaning no meat, fish, eggs or dairy for the whole 31 days.

While I’m not personally taking on this challenge, more because I hadn’t thought ahead than because I didn’t want to, as someone who doesn’t eat meat but still eats fish – a pescetarian – I have been looking at some of the new vegan and vegetarian products on offer in West Norfolk since the start of 2019.

Green heart of veggies (5877208)
Green heart of veggies (5877208)

According to The Vegan Society, the number of vegans in the UK has quadrupled between 2014 and 2018 to 600,000, so it’s fair to say there are bound to be a number of people in West Norfolk who either already have a vegan diet or are considering one.

So how is our borough doing in terms of catering for these people?

Sadly, the new vegan sausage roll which has been causing much conversation online is not yet available at any of the Greggs stores in our area.

But among the new options is the launch of a new veggie wrap at McDonald’s as its first ever vegetarian Happy Meal option last week, as well as an adapted Vegetable Deluxe burger and The Spicy Veggie One wrap, all containing red pesto veggie goujons.

Veggie feature - reporter Rebekah Chilvers with McDonalds' new the Spicy Veggie One wrap. (6355846)
Veggie feature - reporter Rebekah Chilvers with McDonalds' new the Spicy Veggie One wrap. (6355846)

As someone who has had issues with the vegetarian options at this fast food giant for a number of years, these are welcome additions.

However, having eaten The Spicy Veggie One wrap last week, I can’t say I’ll be rushing back to have it again any time soon.

Veggie feature - the new The Spicy Veggie One wrap at McDonald's. (6369441)
Veggie feature - the new The Spicy Veggie One wrap at McDonald's. (6369441)

As one of my friends who is doing Veganuary pointed out, it would be great if places like McDonald’s could simply offer a meat-free ‘patty’ alternative to their regular burgers too.

The next item on my menu was the ‘no beef burgers’ from Marks & Spencer’s new Plant Kitchen range, which is one of 50 new vegan dishes released by the retail giant last week.

Veggie feature - items from M&S' new Plant Kitchen range. (6355824)
Veggie feature - items from M&S' new Plant Kitchen range. (6355824)

These really looked the part and tasted pretty good too – although my meat-eating partner wasn’t as convinced, but no news there, as I doubt he ever will be fully ‘convinced’ by anything other than meat.

Veggie feature - reporter Rebekah Chilvers with a burger from M&S' Plant Kitchen range. (6355788)
Veggie feature - reporter Rebekah Chilvers with a burger from M&S' Plant Kitchen range. (6355788)

For those who like to get a bit more creative and start from scratch, I also made my own veggie burger at the weekend from a recipe in Joe Wicks’ – otherwise known as The Body Coach – recently released Veggie Lean In 15 cook book.

Kidney beans, mixed grains, cashews and mushrooms make up the main ingredients in this version, which although a little softer than a conventional burger, was very tasty.

Veggie feature - reporter Rebekah Chilvers with a burger made from Joe Wicks' Veggie Lean In 15 book. (6355762)
Veggie feature - reporter Rebekah Chilvers with a burger made from Joe Wicks' Veggie Lean In 15 book. (6355762)

There are a number of other new options which I am yet to try including Pizza Hut’s new vegan offering, the Vegan Jack ‘N’ Ch**se pizza with barbecue jackfruit.

Although I’m not aware of any vegan- or vegetarian-specific restaurants in West Norfolk, Arbuckles, Middletons Steakhouse and Grill and Lynn Restaurant Mediterranean Café & Bar stick in my mind as some of my personal favourite independent or family-run businesses offering a number of quality veggie options.

Only just over a week in 2019, I expect we might see more veggie offerings introduced as the year carries on. Hopefully, most of these will be available in our corner of the UK.

Do you know of any veggie options I’ve missed out? Email rebekah.chilvers@iliffepublishing.co.uk to let me know.



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