If you haven’t heard the news, Nando’s has released its very own vegan chicken – made from pea protein! After some research I’m still not sure as to how this ‘pea protein’ is shaped into these chicken-like-strips. Nonetheless, this is the nicest chicken imitation I’ve ever tasted. In fact, my meat-eating Italian boyfriend even stated that this was “as close as you could get to chicken”, which is a major compliment. Though, as a vegetarian I normally stay away from fake meat, I was also pleasantly surprised by The Great Imitator, even though I despise the name.
You can choose to have your vegan chicken in wrap, pitta or burger. I went for the wrap which contained lettuce, plant-based perinaise, and chilli jam! I think the strips worked well in the wrap as they were well distributed. The strips were well marinated, but the marinade doesn’t absorb as well into the plant-based alternative. I usually go for medium spice, but I think I should have gone for hot! As for the strips themselves, I think the ‘meat’ has a nice texture – not as dry as Quorn!
My boyfriend tried The Great Imitator pitta – which I also had a nibble of! The pitta contains lettuce, semi-dried peri tomatoes, cucumber moons (Nando’s bizarre description) and plant-based perinaise. I think the combination of fake meat with pitta bread is a little bit too dry. Unlike the wrap, the strips don’t work as well in the pitta, as they are not well distributed – a patty would be better! He also decided to try the new coconut and lime marinade, which I personally found to taste quite odd – who wants their Nando’s to taste like Malibu?
Along with trying The Great Imitator, we also tried the new plant-based garlic perinaise. The dip had quite a subtle garlic flavour, and as a massive garlic fan, I would have liked it to be a little bit stronger and more reminiscent of Domino’s garlic and herb. However, the texture of this dip was spot on and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between that and the non-vegan perinaise – who needs eggs?
Now, I must address the elephant in the room. There was some controversy that The Great Imitator isn’t vegan as it is cooked on the same grill as the meat. However, the Nando’s grill is as long as a kitchen counter, and all vegan and vegetarian items are cooked on their own section of the same grill. Therefore, although The Great Imitator is vegetarian, it would be cooked on the same grill as halloumi, so there will be some non-vegan contamination.
Though I did enjoy The Great Imitator wrap, I don’t think I will be swapping this out for my usual order. My usual order is a medium sweet potato and butternut wrap with added halloumi, which at the moment isn’t on the reduced menu, so The Great Imitator will have to do for now.
Header image credit: popsugar uk