Goodlife have been making vegetarian foods now for 25 years. Their aim is to make vegetarian foods that are so full of flavour and interest that you don't need to add anything extra. They champion the vegetable, and that is why you'll find Red Sky Tomato And Basil Sausages with Creamy Mozarella, and Picador Parsnip And Sweet Carrot Nut Burgers with Crunchy Cashews among their frozen product range.
The sausages are amazing. They're so colourful, and I was pleased to see this remained after cooking. They lost shape at the ends (which may have been caused by 3 minutes too long in the oven), but that doesn't bother me, and it's very unusual to find vegetarian sausages with any sort of 'skin' like that, so it's really novel.
I really like a burger crumb coating, so I was especially keen to try the Beanburgers for that, and to try the nut burgers to see if they were too 'nutty' or dry.
Again, after cooking, they looked lovely. The burgers had all kept their shape really well and were nice and crispy on the outside. They looked and smelled really nice.
Et voila! A really good looking selection that frankly I'd be stunned to find at a barbeque. I'd feel like royalty if I turned up anywhere and there was something looking like that for the vegetarians.
So to the taste test. Do they taste as good as they look?
The answer here at least was a resounding yes. My 2 little boys liked the idea more than the taste, but the teenagers and adults were very impressed. The whole range really is packed with flavour and texture, it's moist and the burgers are crunchy in the right places. The sausages all include cheese, which I don't enjoy, so I mainly sampled the burgers, and everything was eaten. Favourites here were the Beetroot And Feta Sausages with Roasted Fennel, and the Spicy Veg Beanburgers with a kick of Chipotle Chilli, but they were all deemed delicious.
What we liked about the entire range was the variety of flavours, the sausages and burgers all had the right amount of bite, strong interesting flavours with distinct ingredients and they looked lovely too.
I was keen to try a recipe, so we held onto some of the sausages....
Kids 5 Minute Sausage And Bean Pie.
My children have all loved making this. It takes 5 minutes, they can make a mess or a great job and it'll taste just as good. They love rolling the pastry and putting their own ingredients into the pie, and when they get older they might even be tempted to add a little variation. It's very cheap and very warming, and you don't need any special ingredients.
Ready made puff pastry
A can of baked beans
Optional ingredients can include - a dash of chilli, garlic, chopped mushrooms, bacon or ham, finely chopped onion or bell peppers etc.
Cook the sausages following the instructions on their packaging. Inside a pie they are protected by the pastry, so while onions and mushrooms will steam and soften, sausages wouldn't cook.
Remove the sausages from the oven and set to one side, leave the oven on at around 190c/Gas Mark 5/375f
Roll out the pastry and line your pie dish or cut to shape. We made some pies in ramekins, and some pasties by folding a circle of pastry in half over itself.
Cut each sausage into 4. Open the tin of beans. Around 2 cooked sausages and 1/4 tin of beans is plenty to fill a good sized pie.
Top the pie and seal the pastry edges using water. If you wish to limit the pastry (for weight control or a low fat diet etc), then using a ramekin or individual pie tin means you can choose to only have a pastry lid - seal it to the ramekin using water.
Brush the top of the pie with a little beaten egg, and bake in the oven until golden brown, around 30 minutes.
My son's pies might not be the neatest, but he was very proud, and they were delicious! The Cauliflower And Mature Cheddar Sausages with Truffle Oil worked beautifully with the beans especially.
Our 4 year old decided he didn't want a pie or a pasty - he wanted a sausage roll. Possibly the cheatiest sausage roll ever, but he very much enjoyed it!
He chose French Bean And Spinach Sausages with Wensleydale Cheese for his sausage rolls, rolled them in pastry and cooked for around 25 minutes, and there were no complaints....
Overall I'm incredibly impressed. The Goodlife Sausages and Burgers are all incredibly interesting and exciting, a world away from more well-known vegetarian options. There are only 4 sausages in a box, which you have to be aware of, but the weight per box is very similar to other varieties, so these are big sausages. The price is a little more than your everyday alternative vegetarian products, but definitely no more than I'd pay for a nice Friday night tea. We have vegetarians and meat-eaters here, and all liked them equally. I love that all my teenagers agreed with us - sausages made from beetroot and french beans can be really surprising, and really tasty. We will definitely buy them again.
Goodlife products are currently available from Ocado, Waitrose, Booths, selected Co-operative and independent stores. Sausages are currently priced at £2.69 rrp and burgers £2.29.
I was sent the range of products as shown in the first photograph for review.