With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, restaurants have had to dramatically change the way they operate, from launching takeaway services to creating online shops.
Unsurprisingly, consumer tastes and demands have altered too, with many more people now cooking meals at home – and also wanting to recreate their favourite restaurant dishes that they’re now unable to access.
Enter restaurant meal kits, which have exploded in popularity since 2020’s first national lockdown. Typically, each kit contains ingredients essential for preparing a dish or meal that you’d normally be able to order in-house at your favourite restaurant.
The ingredients tend to come prepared and require different levels of assembly – from simply reheating to those that require some chopping.
Unlike a takeaway, these kits enable you to discover how to make your favourite dishes, and the ingredients which go into making them, plus you get to determine when your food actually arrives on your plate.
We tested a range of vegan meal kits, from burgers and hot dogs to curries and pizzas, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner options. We were looking for meat-free kits that produced great-tasting meals that were far better than something you could normally cook for yourself, or which offered ingredients you may not usually be able to get hold of.
We also looked for kits that offered nationwide delivery, didn’t break the bank once the delivery price was included, and which we felt justified their price.
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Dishoom vegan naan roll kit for two
This cook-at-home kit features everything you’ll need for two people to enjoy a vegan version of Dishoom’s famous breakfast naan. You’ll find meaty, herby, flavour-packed vegan sausages – made from fermented beetroot, mushroom and onion and developed in collaboration with chef Neil Rankin – three ready-to-roll naan balls (which just need popping on the griddle and under the grill), a sweet yet piquant tomato-chilli jam, fresh coriander and vegan cheese. It also comes with ingredients to make Dishoom’s masala chai tea. In addition to being delicious, this kit also provides a feel-good factor, with Dishoom donating a meal to UK charity Magic Breakfast for every one sold.
The Vurger Co. vurger meal kit for two
There are quite a few make-at-home vegan burger kits available, but this one from vegan fast-food pioneers The Vurger Co. came out top for us for a number of reasons, from the quality of the ingredients to the fact that it comes with a side of skin on-fries. The kit contains everything you need to recreate two New York melts at home including a Beyond Burger patty, brioche buns, vegan cheese slices, lettuce, gherkins, a tomato, a jar of burger sauce and skin-on fries. Not only that, but the ingredients are packaged in 100 per cent compostable packaging – not always the case with meal kits. Overall, we couldn’t fault the experience.
Shoryu vegan ramen for two
As everyone knows, the key to making great ramen is a great broth, and with that being so dependent on time and great-quality ingredients, it can be tricky to recreate at home. Impressively, Shoryu’s make-at-home vegan ramen tastes just as it does in the restaurant. The ingredients come ready-prepared (noodles, vegan broth made with soy milk, miso and shitake mushrooms, fried tofu, spring onion, bamboo shoots and mushrooms), so it’s just a case of simmering in the pan and assembling in your chosen bowl. It serves two, but we found there was enough broth leftover to have a small bowl the next day. Maximum flavour with minimum fuss in just under 10 minutes – we loved it.
The Barge House the vegan AKA the au-barge for two
You may recognise these loaded sourdough bread rolls from Instagram, and now Hackney’s The Barge House has made its much-coveted signature brunch available for nationwide delivery. The vegan option comes with two chunky sourdough rolls from Gail’s bakery, as well as slow-roasted aubergine and tomato, spinach, oyster mushrooms, olives and vegan feta cheese. To cook it’s a case of placing the bun in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes (handily all of the ingredients are pre-loaded), then finishing with the included herbs and black pepper. If you want to take your brunch to the next level, there’s also the option of adding a premixed bloody mary, coffee or craft beer to your order.
Birtellis vegan garden pizza kit for two
With executive chef Paul Foster (who gained a Michelin star at Stratford upon Avon’s Salt) at the helm, this Leamington Spa-based, family-run restaurant certainly knows its pizza – and now everyone can try a bite for themselves, as it’s available for nationwide delivery. Ingredients come pre-chopped and diced – think artichoke hearts, spring and red onions, mushrooms, olives and sunblush tomatoes – so it’s simply a case of adding these to the base and popping it in the oven. We were very impressed with how fresh the pizza tasted, and the crispness of the base, which, in spite of being cooked in the oven at home, still tasted stone-baked. There’s also the option of adding vegan mozzarella or craft beer to your order, and you can choose between pre-made, half-baked bases or fresh dough balls.
Club Mexicana cheezburger taco kit for four
This is definitely one for sharing, as we found there was more than enough to go around a larger household. It was also one of the most fun kits we tested, offering the chance to recreate one of Club Mexicana’s most popular dishes at home. You’ll find everything from corn tortillas – which only take a couple of minutes to heat up in the pan – to ground “beef”, vegan cheese, burger sauce, pickled cucumber, coriander and limes. It’s vibrant, flavoursome and lots of fun. Handily, the kit can also be kept in the fridge for two days from when it’s delivered.
Hoppers vegan meal kit for two
This meal kit from the popular London hotspot has it all: Sri Lankan jaffna mix and vegetable rolls to snack on while prepping your meal, a moreish breadfruit curry for main and the restaurant’s signature string hoppers (a sort of Sri Lankan crepe) to mop it all up with. The kit even comes with a QR code which leads to a Spotify playlist to listen to while you tuck in. While you’ll need a steamer to enjoy the hoppers at their best, they can also be conveniently placed in the microwave. Don’t miss the optional extras on Hoppers’ online shop, Cash & Kari, where you can buy everything from spices to pre-mixed cocktails – the beers go down particularly well with this meal kit.
Rosa’s Thai Cafe tofu green curry for four
With branches in and around London and across the UK, Rosa’s Thai Cafe has established itself as a go-to destination for top-quality and authentic Thai food. Now, some of its dishes have been made available for national delivery and home assembly, including its vegan tofu green curry. The kit contains generous portions of jasmine rice as well as fried tofu, coconut milk, green curry paste, chillies, kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil, bamboo shoots and aubergine, and we found there was plenty for four with some leftovers. The cooking instructions were easy to follow, and there’s an accompanying QR code which leads to a step-by-step cook-along video too. Did we mention the curry tastes delicious?
Symplicity vegan chilli dog kit for four
You may recognise Symplicity from menus at Soho House, Bleecker Burger, Homeslice Pizza and Dishoom. Created by chef Neil Rankin, the company makes everything – from burger patties to sausages – out of fermented vegetables. Thanks to meal kit delivery service Plateaway, you can now recreate Symplicity’s vegan chilli dog at home. If you’re not in the mood for hot dogs, the vegan sausages, jar of chilli, chilli dog crumble and jalapeňo fondue that come with the kit can also be turned into a chilli stew. Conveniently, it can also be stored in the fridge for up to one week.
Kolamba at Home vegan feast for two
The name of this kit says it all: this really is a feast. A fragrant and flavourful Sri Lankan meal kit cooked by Kolamba chefs at its restaurant in Soho, this comes with eight dishes, all of which can be heated up in just minutes on the hob or in the microwave. From the jackfruit curry to the green bean curry and the lentil dhal, all of the dishes were delicious. If you’re cooking for a larger crowd – or want to make enough for leftovers – Kolamba also sells meal kits for four, for £68.
The verdict: Best vegan restaurant meal kits
For its feel-good factor, fantastic flavours and seriously impressive meat-free bangers, Dishoom’s vegan naan roll kit is a must-try. Vurger’s meal kit also deserves to be included as one of our faves, for offering one of the finest vegan burgers we’ve ever tried.
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