All Plants & The Quest For Vegan Fast Food
Over the course of the past few years, my journey towards protecting animals through my diet and lifestyle choices, has become something that I am extremely passionate about as time passes by. Growing up I would weep at strays who had been abandoned by their owners and beg to take the animals home so that I could shower them with adoration and unwavering affection. I would clean their fur and wipe away their tears as I enveloped them in a hug that was laced with welcoming and genuine love. My aunty used to joke that I should become a vet, with all the animal friends that I had made over the years and I would roll my eyes back at their inane remarks. But it was true, I was passionate about animals and would sometimes be more comfortable in a cats company than an actual human being and when my aunt’s fluffy white Persian cat had to be put down, aged 15 I was beside myself. Gradually as the years went by, I began thinking about becoming a vegetarian and the more that I read about ‘vegetarianism’ and how animals are treated for the sake of our meat consumption, the more convinced I was that I would give it a go.
I haven’t spoken about how I became a vegetarian or the issues that triggered my decision just yet as this is something that I would like to explore in-depth in an upcoming post, but it goes without saying that my decision was triggered by my want and desire to protect animals. However, no one should ever be forced to become a ‘vegetarian’ or vegan, as it is a tough lifestyle choice to make, and in my mind you can still be an animal lover, without cutting down on meat consumption, but as long as you ‘treat animals’ well and use products that are not tested on animals, we can all show different ways of supporting animal rights in 2018. When it comes to ‘veganism’ however, I found it hard to stick to a ‘plants only diet’, because I have a lot of vitamin deficiencies but I have been ‘exploring’ more plants based alternatives when out at restaurants, when reaching out to brands or even when I have been cooking to in an attempt to understand more about how a vegan diet or a partial vegan diet could help me have ‘more energy’ and protect animals in the process.
Which is where ‘All Plants’ comes in, a Vegan ‘Fast Food’ delivery service that believes that a ‘plant based lifestyle’ can still be as nutritionally beneficial as being a vegetarian or even a meat eater. As someone who is a vegetarian with a vegan lifestyle- my diet contains dairy but my clothes, make up, hair products and skincare are all vegan and cruelty free– I had never come across ‘vegan fast food’ before, especially in the concept of ready meals and was intrigued to say the least. Developed by JP and Alex, in 2015 the joint co-founders began eating ‘nothing but plants’ and was surprised at how much energy they were getting from a ‘plant based diet’. With their concern for the environment, their desire to ‘eat plants’ not only reduces greenhouse emissions (as there are less animals being raised for food produce) but also meant that animals were being raised as pets rather than livestock.
All Plants was born out of two men’s quest for a ‘better environment’ and in turn they have brought their vegan magic to us. With Vegan ‘fast food options’ that are ready in as little as 10 minutes, those who are on the go but still want to be healthier can enjoy delicious vegan fast food with a difference. Spanning cultural influences like Indian, Caribbean and Moroccan cuisines, All Plants is on a mission to prove that even as a vegetarian or a meat eater, you can still enjoy plant based dishes that are packed full of nutrients and vitamins to give you the energy boost that you need.With options like ‘Cashew Mac and Cheese’ bathed in bechemal sauce and Black Bean Chili coated in spice, there is no doubt that the co-founders have created ambitious dishes with ‘flavour and cultural resonance in mind’ but the question is would the vegan fast food be up to my standards?
With allergies to mushroom, aubergine and courgette, finding a ‘vegan fast food’ item on their menu was quite limited, due to many of the dishes containing said ingredients above but much to my relief, two beautifully presented and rather large dishes arrived at my door, wrapped in zero waste packaging to further reinforce their ecological approach to the environment and the desire to keep emissions low. Featuring a ‘Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili’ and a ‘Cauli Tikka Masala’ I was eager to sink my teeth into both ‘fast food options and see which dish would own my coveted seal of approval. While the dishes are marketed as a ‘meal for one’, the size is large and could definitely feed two people, which as someone who does not like small portions made me very happy indeed. The Cauli Tikka Masala was up first and considering that I rate ‘Chickpea and potato curry’, vegetable samosas and paneer among my favourite dishes, the Indian dish was under a very critical scope.
Bathed in a warm masala curry, the ‘Cauli Tikka’ was laced with a lot more spice than I had expected and it was a pleasant surprise to say the least. I usually gravitate towards dishes with a higher spice content and the cauliflower and green beans swam beautifully in the masala sauce, while the Jasmine rice was light and fluffy, mixed with a fragrant combination of cinnamon, garlic and bay leaf. Taking just 14 minutes to cook, the curry was large and tinged with plenty of chili to sate my taste buds, while the cauliflower had the right balance of crunch to ofset the soft green beans and okra. The only criticism that I would have of the ‘Cauli Tikka’ would be my preference to have the dish without okra as I am not a fan of its ‘texture’ although in the context of the tikka, it tasted much better than I had tasted it previously.
The Black Bean Chili, like its competitor was also spiced, with smoky black beans folded through a ground chipotle chilli, topped with sweet peppers and crisp coconut and flaxseed cornbreads that were surprisingly moreish to the taste. Slow cooked in a decadent dark chocolate and chipotle chili base, the crunch of the cornbreads mopped up the black beans delightfully and went well with basmati vegetable rice,which added more texture to the otherwise dry (but delicious dish). The highlight was undoubtedly the smoky chipotle flavour of the black beans which had been mixed with soya mince, intensified by smoked paprika and liquid smoke, which gave this vegan meal a ‘BBQ’ flavour which was rather delicious. However as a brand that caters itself to be a ‘quick meal fix’ the black bean chili takes 40 minutes, meaning that it is not what I would call ‘Vegan Fast Food’ at all. That being said the majority of All Plants Dishes do take between 10-20 minutes to cook and the black bean chili was nevertheless still a delicious dish.
Overall both meals were excellent vegan meals, but the dish that had the winning edge was the ‘Black Bean Chili’, due to the smoky complexity of flavours in the dish. Despite its 40 minute oven only cooking time, it did demonstrate to me how you didn’t need ‘dairy’ to enjoy a plant based meal and I appreciated their efforts towards environmental conservation by creating ‘Zero waste packaging’. The price point is medium and would be one I would be willing to pay for delicious vegan meals that are kinder to the environment and animals. The only criticism I would make is that I was sent a ‘third dish’ which I could not sample as it had ingredients that I was allergic to but this is an easy mistake to make and is not something that I hold against the brand. I love the ethos and the passionate commitment to a plant based lifestyle that the co-founders and their team share and it is clear that they are proud-and rightly so- of the vegan fast food dishes that they have created thus far.
To improve ‘All Plants’ I would recommend expanding their range to include dishes that do not have ‘aubergine, courgette or mushroom’ so that I could try out more of their dishes and would love to see them expand on the current dishes, by doubling the amount of dishes that they have now. Overall ‘All Plants’ has shown me that to be ‘vegan’ does not mean you have to compromise on flavour and it has challenged my own personal beliefs and lifestyle choices, by making me want to explore more vegan food choices in the future.
What Are Your Thoughts On Vegan Food? Are You A Fan?
Please note I was given two meals to sample in order to write this post but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by complimentary service. I always strive to be as honest and authentic as possible in all my collaborations and there is no exception here.