Taste Test: The Alternative Meat Co's Lasagne Dog

Image: Alex Walker

Mock meats are slowly but surely infiltrating the fast food world from Hungry Jack's to Beyond Burger to Domino's new plant-based beef topping. We recently taste-tested one of the newest challengers to enter this burgeoning market: The Alternative Meat Co's Lasagne Dog. Here is our verdict.

The Lasagne Dog is a fake-meat hot dog made by Alternative Meat Co in partnership with Deliveroo and vegan chef Shannon Martinez. The hero ingredient is the Alternative Meat Co sausage, which is 100% vegan. Unlike some meat substitutes, the "beef" contained in the sausage is formulated to look, cook and taste just like the real deal. (In reality, it's made from soy, wheat, and pea protein.)

The rest of the ingredients include a vegan hot dog bun, garlic butter, a plant-based bolognese sauce, Alternative Dairy Co vegan cheese sauce and chopped Basil.

Image: Lifehacker

The Lasagne Dog is currently being offered exclusively through Deliveroo in Sydney and Melbourne for $12. It's not too hard to make your own, however - we've included the full recipe at the bottom of the article.

But first, the obligatory Lifehacker taste test. Here's what our team — which includes four carnivores and a vegetarian — thought of the hot dog.

Chris Jager, Lifehacker Editor

The Lasagne Dog comes in a miniature kit that you need to assemble yourself. (The cheese, herbs and bolognese sauce are housed in small containers separately to the dog.) While this allows you to control the quantity of condiments, it also means you can't tuck straight in. You're also going to need a spoon — we tried pouring the bolognese onto our dog only for it to plop out in one huge, messy chunk.

The flavour profile is dominated by the garlic butter, which is no bad thing. The taste and texture of the sausage, meanwhile, is perfectly faithful. I was also a big fan of the bolognese sauce which lingers on the palate for hours. The cheese wasn't anything special, but overall this was a very tasty hot dog. If I were to eat it again, I'd probably substitute the bread and cheese for non-vegan versions. But for die-hard vegans, this thing is great.

Sarah, Lifehacker Staff Writer

I've tried mock meats a few times on account of having a few vegan and vegetarian friends and they've been mostly impressive. Plant-based sausages, however, have never been high on my list to try. They arrived with the toppings separate (good call) and I piled them on like I was Salt Bae himself. The first few bites were filled with a pretty tasty combo of vegan Béchamel sauce, vegan cheese and a plant-based Bolognese mixture.

Eventually, I got to the plant-based sausage part of the hot dog and it was pretty nice. The texture was a bit softer than a regular beef sausage and it definitely didn't taste the same but that's also not what you want taste. It's hard to tell whether I'd want one of these sausages by itself in a standard bangers and mash dish but in the Lasagne Dog, it was a treat.

Tegan Jones, Gizmodo Editor

I'm hesitant to call this a lasagne because it was more reminiscent of a plant based hot dog on a garlic bread roll.

Semantics aside, I was very into the bolognese sauce, which was rich and tasted meaty. While the 'hot dog' element was also tasty, it's the fake meat sauce that really made it for me.

Leah, Writer/Producer

The sausage tasted great! The texture was a bit off-putting at first because it felt more like lentils than meat, but the flavour was great. It also felt super healthy, which was a nice change from the grease of the everyday sausage. I'm a full-time meat-eater, but I'd use this as a substitute when I want to be a bit healthier or reduce my meat intake.

Vanna, office manager (and practising vegetarian)

As a vegetarian for more than 10 years, I am so excited that fake meats are making their way to the mainstream, however I haven't enjoyed eating them myself as I find they taste like I'm eating a novelty food. The Lasagne Dog genuinely surprised me with it great flavor and texture and i am very excited to eat again.

Image: Alex Walker

The The Lasagne Dog is available on Deliveroo for $12 until the end of the weekend (Sunday 3 November.) However, you can recreate the magic at home via Alternative Meat Co.'s online store. Here's the recipe, courtesy of Shannon Martinez:

Vegan Lasagne Hot Dog

Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

  • Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), soaked in vegan beef stock (4 cups is the rehydrated measure)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of chilli flakes
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon porcini powder — optional
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3x 400ml cans diced tomato
  • 1 bottle Sugo/Pasata
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons vegan beef stock powder
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • ½ bunch parsley, chopped
  • ½ bunch basil, torn
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pot over medium heat and cook off all the vegetables, along with a big pinch of salt and chilli flakes, until very soft. This will be about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste and oregano and cook out for a minute.
  3. Add the Textured Vegetable Protein and stir well to coat.
  4. Add the soy milk and deglaze the pan. Once reduced by half, add the balsamic and porcini powder and reduce again by half.
  5. Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the fresh herbs, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1-2 hours. The longer the better. If the mixture becomes too thick, top up with a splash of water.
  6. Stir through the fresh herbs and season to taste.

Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Nuttelex
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 litre soy milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon vegan dijon
  • 1 cup The Alternative Dairy Co. Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup The Alternative Dairy Co. Parmesan Cheese, shredded
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Over a medium heat, melt the Nuttelex in a saucepan then add the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Stir in the flour.
  2. Cook out for a few minutes over a low heat. You don’t want it to change colour, just until it begins to very, very slightly change colour. This will take around 2 minutes.
  3. Slowly add the soy milk and stock mixture into the roux stirring continuously with a whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and cook over a low heat until the cheese has melted.
  5. Season to taste

Garlic Butter

Ingredients

  • 250g Nuttelex
  • 50g garlic, minced
  • 50g vegan parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon dry oregano
  • Salt & Pepper

Mix all together

Prep:

  1. To build the hot dog, split the bun in half and spread a liberal amount of garlic butter inside the bun and wrap in foil.
  2. Place in a 170-degree Celsius oven for approx. 5 minutes or until warm through and the butter has melted.
  3. While the bread is baking, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a fry pan or on a BBQ plate on medium heat. Pan fry The Alternative Meat Co. sausage, turning frequently and cooking for 7-10mins until golden brown.
  4. To build the dog, unwrap the bun and place the sausage in.
  5. Top with the Bolognese sauce, then drizzle over the cheese sauce.
  6. Finish with shredded basil.

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