Italian substitutes on test

Tonight our meal was conceived by Jude and it allowed us to try out three vegan alternatives available in our local Tesco:

  • Sacla Free From No.9 Basil Pesto
    Gluten Free, Wheat Free and Dairy Free
    £2.30 for 190g (non vegan alternative is £2.00)
  • Violife Prosociano (parmesan style vegan cheese alternative)
    Dairy Free, Lactose Free, Soya Free and Gluten Free
    £3.50 for 150g (non vegan alternative is £3.00 for same amount)
  • Tesco Free From Garlic Dough Balls
    Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Milk Free and Egg Free
    £2.00 for 137g (non vegan alternative is 83p for same amount)

20170327_193509Pasta twirls with spinach, baby plum tomatoes and pesto
Serves 4


400g fusilli pasta (we use a mix of white and wholemeal)
Small amount of cooking oil of choice
100g baby spinach
150g baby plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
3tbs Sacla Free From No.9 Basil Pesto

Grated Violife Prosociano and Tesco Free From Garlic Dough Balls to serve.


  1. Cook pasta according to packet instructions or preference (we like ours al dente).
  2. With a couple of minutes left of pasta cooking time, heat a large shallow frying pan and add your oil (we use a few sprays of sunflower Frylight).
  3. Add garlic and roughly chopped spinach, sauté briefly before adding tomatoes (I sliced them in half lengthways to avoid hot tomatoes splitting in my mouth and burning me!)
  4. Once your veg are heated through, drain the pasta, add pesto (to taste) and then stir in veg.
  5. Serve immediately with grated Violife Prosociano, a generous twist of freshly ground black pepper and the dough balls.


The Verdict

Really delicious dinner. Tasty, filling and quick and easy to prepare too.

20170327_191613 1Sacla Free From No.9 Basil Pesto

Looks the part – bright green and texture as expected.

Straight out of the jar it tastes convincingly like a non-vegan pesto. Strong basil flavour, good nuttiness but a notable absence of garlic (but that’s ok, just add your own!)

On the pasta it tasted great although the pasta didn’t look ‘dressed’ with the pesto as I would usually expect. I think it dissolved in the heat of the pasta, leaving the flavour but not the texture.

The ingredients list is interesting. I assume the potato flakes, tofu and cashew nuts are to replace the parmesan?

Will definitely buy this again and according to the Tesco website this is available in a red pesto version too.

20170327_191654 1Violife Prosociano

We love the sophisticated packaging and the wedge shape as with a traditional parmesan.

Smells very authentic. A definite sharp sweet, tangy parmesan aroma.

Grates exactly as parmesan (like grating soap!)

Tastes great. Not quite as per parmesan but a very satisfying alternative.

Didn’t really melt but parmesan doesn’t tend to on pasta anyway unless sit is really stirred in.

I am over the moon with this. will definitely buy again (once we have used up our current stock).


20170327_192542 1Tesco Free From Garlic Dough Balls

These are cooked straight from frozen, so quick and convenient.

Smelt great when cooking. Taste was good too, nice and garlicky.

However, we didn’t find them to be very doughy or 20170327_193739bread like inside. They were puffed up and looked inviting (if a bit pale and beige) but collapsed on biting and were rather chewy.

I think it maybe the gluten free flour that caused the textural and structural issues.

I am not sure I would bother making these again when homemade dough balls are so easy (and we are not gluten free).


Post by Liz


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