Are you a vegetarian? Or perhaps experimenting with more meat-free meals due to the growing green scene? Well, we've got great news for you. There's a brand new player in town, so I was thrilled when Catherine asked me to write this guest review. Quorn has certainly raised the bar in ‘mock meats' and demonstrates how today's food technology can be instrumental in our future food solutions. You'll just never guess where it originates from ...
Guest review by dietitian Emma Stirling APD from The Scoop on Nutrition
What is Quorn?
Described as a mycoprotein, Quorn is a high-quality protein grown, harvested and fermented from a member of the fungi family. Think morels and truffles, not mould and spores and you'll be able to stomach it. The idea was first sparked way back in the 1960's by British nutritionists, due to concerns about feeding the growing world population. After years of development, Quorn is now enjoyed by one in five households in the United Kingdom. You can read more on the Quorn story and obtain further info here.
For colleagues and health professionals, there is a Mycoprotein and Health article here by the British Nutrition Foundation.
The product we chose to review was Quorn Mince (300g pack) in a Chili Con Quorn recipe supplied by the manufacturer.The frozen Quorn Mince looks like this:
Catherine was also impressed with the mince made into a Bolognese sauce as well as the Quorn Southern Style Burgers she road tested at home.
The range - all frozen - also includes plenty of family dinner and party time alternatives for those vegetarian guests: Quorn Lasagne, Cottage Pie, Sausages, Schnitzels, Sausage Rolls, Dippers (see picture below), Pieces and Pasties.
After reading our review jump on over to The Scoop on Nutrition and check out the Chili Con Quorn recipe for further hints and tips.
- Compared with minced beef, lamb or pork, Quorn Mince has a very mild, almost neutral flavour that allowed the spices in the Chilli Con Quorn, particularly the ground cumin and cinnamon, to shine through.
- The appearance and texture of Quorn Mince closely resembles minced beef and my hubby didn't realise until the big reveal, half way through the meal.
- Compared with minced meat, Quorn Mince is significantly lower in saturated fat at only 0.5g per 100g but a comparable source of protein at 15.9g per 100g (lean beef mince is around 20g protein per 100g).
- Additional ingredients include "rehydrated egg white" and "barley malt extract" so the product is not gluten free nor suitable for vegans, but it is soy free.
- Unlike mince from lean red meat, which is a rich source of absorbable iron, zinc and other essential nutrients, quorn is not as high. There are no vitamins and minerals listed on the Quorn Mince nutrition information panel but the Australian manufacturer told us the iron and zinc is only as high as for chicken and there's no B12 so it's not a complete substitute for meat. Sodium is naturally very low at 48mg per 100g.
- Instead of the serving suggestions of rice or jacket potatoes and low fat sour cream, we boosted the dietary fibre and wholegrain intake using wholegrain tortillas. We also switched to low fat Greek style yogurt swirled with cumin for the sour cream. And added extra coriander and a squeeze of zesty lime for added tang.
- The Quorn range is imported by Simplot Australia. However it is made in the United Kingdom, so there are food miles to consider as part of the tricky sustainable food debate.
Unlike frozen beef mince, Quorn Mince does not freeze in a ‘clump', so it can be added straight to the cooking process without defrosting or browning and is easily worked into the sauce. A handy surprise.
The final word
As I enjoy eating and feeding my family (and man) the essential nutrients in red meat, I can't see Quorn being a major player in our mealtime repertoire. But I will certainly keep a couple of items on standby for those times when our vegetarian friends call in with their kids or for one of our birthday parties or BBQ's. And for a quick family dinner, I'll keep Quorn Mince in the freezer as it's so easy to work with. But if you are a vegetarian, I think you will soon fall in love with the Quorn range.
We'd love to hear once you give it a try. Or perhaps you are already a Quorn convert? Please drop us a comment or question below:
Quorn in the news
Natural food colours from fungus
Pigments from fungus could be used as a source of natural food colourings, according to a new review from Denmark. Food manufacturers' interest in fungus has been "revived" after one ingredient supplier gained EU approval for using fungi to synthesise beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A). Many fungi and lichens are known to naturally produce and secrete a wide range of pigments, with a considerable range of colours. Read more.
Food Standards Aust New Zealand (FSANZ) issued a position statement saying quorn is NOT classified as a novel food due to its long usage in the UK and US. It is not aware of any medical reactions to quorn in Australia at present. Read more.