New vegan sausage roll from Greggs tastes better than the meat version - the world is turning upside down

Left: The vegan sausage roll with what look like pastry molars protruding from its side. Right: The golden-brown 'real meat' roll that could not beat the vegan offering.
Left: The vegan sausage roll with what look like pastry molars protruding from its side. Right: The golden-brown 'real meat' roll that could not beat the vegan offering.

Greggs released its new vegan sausage roll this morning, and who better than an office of journalists to be the judge of salty pastries?

Today, January 3, is an historic day. Veganism appears to be storming Greggs, the stronghold of old-fashioned meaty, fatty goodness.

Locally, the rolls are available from the Greggs branches at Rugby's Market Place and Leamington Shopping Park.

The vegan roll has a Quorn filling - it breaks up more easily in the mouth but does have a very similar texture to sausage meat.

The Quorn filling tastes a little more salty and peppery than its meat counterpart, and it has more subtle, but far from bland, herb flavours.

The meat that many of us are familiar with is juicy and (sometimes) tender - but when compared to Quorn it has an almost overpowering taste of sage that detracts from the experience.

Before the vegan roll this overpowering herb taste was not noticeable - but now it cannot be untasted, and will forever haunt the real-meat version unless the recipe is changed.

So the overall verdict for the fillings? In my (staunchly meat-eating) view, the Quorn filling is slightly better.

A quick vote count from the office of five meat-eaters revealed three preferred the vegan filling vs two for the meat.

We all know that the filling alone does not make the sausage roll - the pastry is arguably just as important.

The vegan pastry had a less 'golden brown' look and the slightly bizarre design made it look like little pastry molars were growing from its side - not a great start.

Greggs state the vegan version is made with 96 layers of puff pastry. The result is a pleasant, crisp taste that is rich, but not quite as rich as its meat counterpart.

A quick vote revealed one preferring the vegan pastry, two preferring the meat pastry and two more stating the pastries were different but not preferring one over the other.

Overall, two preferred the meat, two preferred the vegan and one said they could see no clear winner.

I voted in favour of the vegan version on all three counts - and I still cannot comprehend how that happened. If a vegan sausage roll tastes better than a 'real' sausage roll, can we be certain of anything?

This is not an 'ersatz' sausage roll that you would eat, desperately trying to pretend it is somewhere close to being as nice as 'real version' - these rolls are seriously tasty and can hold their own against their meat counterparts.

This is good news for vegans. For the omnivores, our new champion will have to be the steak bake.