Quorn launched its vegan nuggets in 2016, but how are they different from the original, vegetarian Crispy Nuggets?
As one of the world’s foremost meatless companies, Quorn launched its vegan range in 2015. A year later, following growing demand, the company unveiled its vegan nuggets, which have proven to be one of its most popular plant-based meat products.
But how are the vegan nuggets different from Quorn’s original vegetarian nuggets? In three ways: ingredients, nutritional profile and cooking time. The vegetarian nuggets rely on milk and eggs for binding and texture, while the plant-based version swaps them for other proteins and ingredients.
A lot of the ingredients are the same, albeit in different concentrations. Notably, mycoprotein, Quorn’s fungal protein, is present in a much higher concentration in the vegan nuggets than the vegetarian ones.
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Here’s the ingredients list for the original Crispy Nuggets by Quorn: 39% mycoprotein, water, rehydrated free-range egg white, fortified wheat flour — a combination of wheat flour, calcium carbonate, iron, niacin and thiamine — sunflower and rapeseed as the vegetable oils, salt, maize flour, wheat starch, milk proteins, textured wheat protein — wheat protein and wheat flour — natural flavouring, tetrasodium diphosphate and sodium carbonate as raising agents; pea fibre, calcium chloride and calcium acetate as firming agents, wheat gluten, pectin as a gelling agent, and dextrose.
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Long list, right? The vegan one isn’t that short itself. The key difference, as mentioned earlier, is the mycoprotein, which makes up for 54% of the nuggets. It is followed by fortified wheat flour, sunflower and rapeseed oils, water, wheat starch, calcium chloride and calcium acetate, pea protein, potato protein, salt, natural flavouring, wheat gluten, pea fibre, wheat semolina, yeast, carrageenan and sodium alginate as stablisers, sage and sage extract, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper, onion extract, and, finally, paprika extract for colour.
Clearly, a higher number of flavour smokescreens to achieve those classic chicken nugget notes. Naturally, the increased mycoprotein also means the vegan nuggets are higher in protein content than the vegetarian ones, despite the presence of eggs and milk.
A 100g serving of the vegetarian nuggets contains 9.4g of protein, while the same amount of their plant-based counterparts boast 14g of it. The vegan version is also higher in carbohydrates — 22g to the vegetarian’s 17g — and energy — 992kJ versus 795kJ.
Interestingly, the vegetarian Quorn nuggets are lower in fat and saturated fat (8.3g and 0.8g respectively) than the vegan ones (9.1g and 1.5g). But while the salt content is the same at 1.2g, the plant-based nuggets are higher in fibre (6.7g) than the original nuggets (4.5g).
So, more wins for Quorn’s vegan nuggets. Finally, the other difference is the cooking time. The vegetarian nuggets take 15 minutes in the oven, while the vegan ones take 18.