Marley Spoon’s V2food Plant-Based Meals Review

Marley Spoon’s V2food Plant-Based Meals Review
Image: Tegan Jones/Gizmodo Australia

Over the past few years plant-based meat has become increasingly popular. Thanks to the popularity of brands such as Impossible, we;re now seeing increasingly more vegan-friendly meat alternatives in the supermarkets and even being sold by fast food chains. Meal kit delivery service Marley Spoon has even begun offering plant-based options, using v2food mince. This is what they taste like.

What is v2food?

V2food is an Australian company that produces plant-based meat substitutes. It first launched in 2019 and is partially backed by the CSIRO.

Hungry Jack’s uses v2food in its Rebel Whopper.

How does v2food taste?

How v2foods mince looks during and after cooking

Both myself and my partner Alex tried all three v2food plant-based meals from Marley Spoon. So I’ve done the loving thing and mined him for his opinion.

This is what Alex had to say about the mince itself:

“You can definitely tell the v2 mince isn’t meat when it’s cooking, and when you’re eating it. The texture, smell and taste is pleasant enough, but because it’s made from plants, the mince doesn’t have that richness or level of fat that you’d get with regular 80/20 beef or pork mince,” said Alex

“There’s nothing principally wrong with it, but if you’re a meat-eater, you’ll notice it on the nose, and when you eat it.
But again, it’s not unpleasant by any means. It’s nice to eat, smells entirely fine, and you can account for the richneess in other ways. Olive oil or vegan butters are something you could include, but for non-vegan or vegetarian folk, a dassh or teaspoon of chicken stock would be a good addition.”

I have to agree While the mince browns quite similarly to regular mince, the smell and taste are distinctly different.

V2 mince is a bit nutty and you can taste that it’s soy based. While I didn’t love on it it as much as Impossible’s plant-based mince, it was still pretty good.

The texture was a little softer than regular mince and didn’t hold it’s shape quite as well, but still did a great job, which was important because one of the meals was ramen.

I would also argue that it’s fine that v2food’s mince isn’t really flavoursome on its own – mince isn’t something that is served plain. While the likes mince fat does lend flavour to a dish, the mince itself is often utilised to soak up thr other flavours in the dish as well as and provide protein.

So how did the v2food mince go at doing that?

V2food Marley Spoon Meals

This is what Marley Spoon’s meal kits look like.

Alex and I are avid cooks – we’re those wankers who had a multi-decade sourdough starter before isolation made it trendy and we create our own yoghurt from a 104 year old Romanian culture. We make pasta from scratch and have kimchi and sauerkraut fermenting in a cupboard under the microwave.

To me cooking is edible alchemy. Think about the importance that meals have in society – from catching up with friends to budding romance to spending time with family.

Cooking provides the opportunity to make something for the people you love – to nourish their bodies as their spirits. To show your love through creation and action. I love that about it.

While I have always respect meal services like Marley Spoon that take much of the difficulty and labour out of cooking, it’s never been something I really considered using. I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

I thought the meals would be passable for a quick feed, but I came out the other side of this experience impressed.

The combination of (mostly) fresh ingredients and strong flavour profiles were great and complimented the the v2food mince. While we did add some extra ingredients to some dishes to balance them a little more pricisley, this won’t be necessary for everyone.

Image: v2food plant-based ragu

For anyone not confident with cooking, the recipes (which come with instructions and photos) are incredibly easy to follow. There are even video instructions on the Marley Spoon website.

In terms of favourites, the ramen was the standout, which honestly surprised me. My own recipe for this dish includes an overnight homemade stock, yolky ramen eggs and marinated pork. I didn’t think something whipped up in 35 minutes could be any good.

Sure, it wasn’t the same, it packed way more flavour than it had any right. And while mince wouldn’t be my first choice for a soup, the v2 worked quite well.

The spicy mince meal was equally flavoursome, but should perhaps be avoided by those who don’t like spicy food.

While not a bad meal, my least favourite would probably have to be the ragu. The powered tomato paste was clumpy and difficult to mix into the mince during cooking. Portioning out some regular tomato paste for the recipe would be a good solution here.

In general the ragu could use a bit more of a flavour punch.

Impossible Pork Is God Damn Tasty

Last year Impossible Burger 2.0 was the talk of CES. Everyone was clamouring for a taste of that juicy faux beef. Over the next year, the demand for Impossible and similar plant-based meat alternatives blew up. It made its way into shops and restaurants in a way that no other vegan product had before. It seemed like viable meat alternatives were finally on the global menu. Impossible is back at CES and this time around it's tackling pork. I had a chance to taste test it at the launch damn, sustainability has never tasted so good.

Read more

Here’s what Alex had to say:

“As for the recipes, they were simple enough to put together. The ramen recipe worked especially well, making a lighter ramen that’s probably infinitely better to eat in our self-isolated times. The ragu was a different story, but largely because the plant mince couldn’t provide that bit of fat to coat the pasta which makes ragu so tasty. That’s a fault of the recipe though, and not the plant mince. I’d happily eat the V2 mince again, and everything else could be rectified with some simple tweaks.”

Should I try Marley Spoon’s V2food Meals?

A shot of the spicy mince meal.

The three meals we tried were utilised chilli or large flavour profiles, so the mild V2food mince complimented them well and added protein to help you feel full and satisfied.

You really didn’t miss the meat and once the dish was assembled you couldn’t really tell the difference in a full bite. All off this makes the v2 meals a good mid-week options for people who are either vegan or looking to cut down their meat intake.

If you’re already buying or interested in trying meal kits from Marley Spoon or a similar service, I recommend giving the v2food meals a go.