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vegan starter, main and dessert ideas with coop.

Did you know that there are now over 600,000 vegans in the UK? A study by the Vegan Society in 2018 discovered this incredible stat - which compares with around 160,000 people following a vegan lifestyle back in 2006. It's no surprise that with this great rise comes lots of incredible plant-based options on our supermarket shelves, restaurant menus and street food stalls. Long gone are the times where dairy free diners could only choose from the likes of sad salads, portobello mushrooms that call themselves burgers or fruit medleys for dessert. With so much amazing choice - the rise of vegan junk food, beautiful bakes and scarily realistic mock meat is now on the menu.

When Central England Cooperative challenged me to create a three course meal with their new products - as well as low alcohol drinks for Dry January - I couldn't wait to take on the challenge for plant based perfection.

What's more, as well as the fantastic new GRO range, I noticed a lot of popular vegan products on their shelves that would usually be resigned to health food shops and specialist vegan markets (I know this as I once travelled 30 miles on a train with friends for such products...) including dairy free Ben & Jerry's, VEGO chocolate bars, Hellman's vegan mayo and Violife cheese. Not forgetting the "accidentally vegan" products such as Co-op's own delicious flavoured dark chocolate range.

So, what's on the menu?

To start, it had to be their spicy nachos and "chik'n" poppers for a fun sharing platter. Bursting with colour and flavour, I paired the poppers with the delicious vegan mayo, as well as dipping in the tomato sauce. For someone who doesn't eat chicken, this was a real treat.

For main, I had to have a go at the famous vegan chicken burger making the headlines. As a frozen product, this is the ideal "go-to" ingredient for plant-based mid week meals. I added a crunch of lettuce, vegan "cheese"and egg-free mayo to create this mouthwatering medley. I check the regular cobs too, and those are also accidentally vegan.

To accompany, I tried the low alcohol Sauvignon Blanc. As one of my favourite wines, this was a good test. I have to say it was a alternative and much drier taste than the usual sweet, low alcohol wines.

To finish, it created an indulgent chocolate sundae with a mix of branded and Coop products that you'd be able to pick up in your local Coop. Another amazing addition (although not vegan) are the new Coop low calorie ice creams in some delicious sounding flavours - cookie dough or salted caramel.

What do you think to my choices? What would you have in a three course vegan meal?

In collaboration with Central England Cooperative


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