Caption: Weird and wonderful Veganuary launches we?re actually excited to try ? from lion?s mane steak to maple ?facon? longboys
credit: – / GETTY
January 2024 is finally upon us, which means one thing — Veganuary is back.
If you’ve been tempted to give the foodie trend a go, then this year could be the perfect time as a number of weird and wonderful vegan dishes have been launched across the UK to mark the occasion.
While you might not be eating pork, beef, chicken, or lamb for the next few weeks, it doesn’t mean your meals have to be boring.
Here’s a look at some of the food we’re actually really excited to tuck into this Veganuary, from lion’s mane steak, to maple ‘facon’ blueberry longboys.
Lion’s Mane ‘Steak’ Bulgogi
The new lion’s mane ‘steak’ bulgogi at Wagamama (Picture: Wagamama)
From today (January 3) Wagamama is launching a brand new plant-based dish called the lion’s mane ‘steak’ bulgogi.
The star of the show is a type of mushroom, called lion’s mane (or Hericium erinaceus if you want to be technical about it), which is grown in Wales by Real Fungy and is an eco-friendly food source.
The mushroom has been made to look seriously meat-like and the dish features udon noodles cooked with aubergine and caramelised onion, in a sweet and salty amai miso sauce.
This is topped with the smoky lion’s mane mushroom ‘steak’, drizzled with Korean barbecue sauce and finished off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, kimchi, spring onion, red chilli and coriander.
Wagamama also has several other impressive vegan options on their menu, including Vegan K-Dogs and a Tofu Hot Pot.
Bangin’ Bhaji Wrap
LEON’s new Bangin’ Bhaji Wrap (Picture: LEON)
For something plant-based on the go, LEON is worth a visit this Veganuary, as they’ve introduced two new items for the month, including a vegan Bangin’ Bhaji Wrap that sounds delicious.
The wrap, which costs £5.99, features courgette and pea bhajis topped with classic Kachumber, crispy onions and a herby mayo. The chain describes it as a ‘flavour explosion’ in every bite.
Also new for 2024 is a Rainbow Squash Salad (£7.19 in and £5.99 out). The colourful dish is comprised of roasted butternut squash, zingy herby mayo, pink kraut, greens, and grains, as well as Mediterranean-inspired spices.
Plant-based Saucy Chicken Fajita Wrap and Plant-based Crackin’ Ham and Cheese toastie from Costa (Picture: Costa Coffee)
Wrap fans can also head to Costa Coffee, who have teamed up with BOSH this Veganuary to add several new items to the menu, including a plant-based Saucy Chicken Fajita Wrap.
The lunch option features a tomato tortilla wrap, filled with plant-based chicken, a spicy tomato and herb sauce, and roasted peppers.
Burger King’s ‘most requested’ burger ever
Burger King’s Ultimate Bean Burger (Picture: Burger King)
Burger King has a number of vegan items on their menu that are perfect for Veganuary but has just announced that an iconic item is returning nationwide from January 3, 2024.
According to the chain, the Ultimate Bean Burger is said to be Burger King UK’s ‘most requested product ever’ and it’s back and better than ever after a few years away.
Thousands of fans demanded the burger be sold once more, with people signing a petition for its return and begging on social media to ‘please bring beanie back’.
For those who haven’t tried it, the Ultimate Bean Burger is packed with black beans, mushrooms, sweet red pepper, and green chilli, all covered with a crunchy tortilla chip crumb, and topped with American cheese, crispy lettuce, sliced tomatoes, vegan mayonnaise, and tangy tomato ketchup – and is housed in a light brioche-style bun.
The burger itself is classed as ‘veggie’ but you can easily make it certified vegan by ordering it without the cheese.
The Bacon Plant 2.0 (Picture: Honest Burgers)
Burger fans can also get a vegan special from Honest Burgers this January as they have brought back the Bacon Plant, only this time it’s new and improved.
The Bacon Plant 2.0 includes shoestring fries sprinkled with vegan bacon dust, Applewood vegan cheese, and a Beyond Meat patty. The whole thing is then topped with La Vie’s plant-based bacon as the star of the show.
Papa John’s new vegan BBQ ‘Chicken’ Pizza (Picture: Papa John’s)
If you LOVE pizza and are concerned about going without it while participating in Veganuary, then fear not as Papa John’s and Pizza Hut have got you covered.
For a limited time only, Papa John’s is selling a brand new vegan BBQ ‘Chicken’ Pizza, with a vegan ‘chicken’ topping, and vegan ‘Sheese’ slices. It’s also topped with mushrooms, onions, and a sweet and tangy BBQ drizzle.
Papa John’s fans will also be able to add the meat-free ‘Chicken’ to any existing pizza on the menu throughout January.
Alongside your Plant-based pizza, vegans can also enjoy a range of meat-free sides including oven-baked Potato Tots to the “Not Chicken” Vegan Bites coated in with southern-fried style breadcrumbs and crispy coated Cauliflower wings.
But if pepperoni pizza is your vice, then it’s Pizza Hut you’ll want to head to, as the chain recently started offering Beyond Meat pepperoni and it’s featured on three vegan pizzas, including the Big New Yorker.
Dreamy pasta dishes…
The new Veganuary dishes at Emilia’s Crafted Pasta (Picture: Emilia’s Crafted Pasta)
If we could only eat one type of food for the rest of our lives, it would undoubtedly be pasta and this month you won’t have to miss out as Emilia’s Crafted Pasta has launched several Veganuary specials which sound dreamy.
These dishes include an Italian artichoke and truffle pesto with casarecce, as well as a creamy kale and hazelnut pesto with chestnut mushrooms on radiatori pasta.
These items will be exclusively available at the company’s Canary Wharf and Aldgate restaurants in London from January 3 to 31.
There are also three brand new non-alcoholic drinks on the menu, for anyone doing Dry January.
The Plant Picante
Subway’s new Plant Picante (Picture: Subway)
Subway fans also won’t have to kick the habit this month as the sandwich chain has revealed a brand new vegetarian sub, which can easily be made plant-based with a few switches.
The Plant Picante is made with a spiced plant patty with crispy onions, as well as sweet onion and garlic and herb sauces, plus American-style cheese. Vegans can swap this for Cheeze.
The sub also contains lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers and is available as a 6-inch or a Footlong on any of the chain’s bread options, wraps, or you can enjoy it as a salad.
Brilliant breakfasts and brunch
Bill’s has launched a vegan version of their iconic blueberry pancake stack (Picture: Bill’s)
Starbucks recently announced their new menu for January and among the various hot drinks and cake pops, there was a new vegan breakfast option, that’s perfect for grabbing on your way to work.
The £3.40 product is packed full of mango and pineapple compote with vegan overnight oats and shredded green apple, topped with toasted coconut and diced apricot.
But if you’d prefer something a little more hearty, then Bill’s has announced a new Veganuary menu, which features a vegan version of their iconic blueberry pancakes.
The Vegan stacked blueberry pancakes, are made with OGGs® a plant-based egg alternative, and are topped with a choice of vegan bacon or fruit, available in a 3 stack (from £8.00) or 5 stack (from £9.95).
Not only are these available at breakfast or brunch time, but they are also available from morning till’ night. Hooray!
If you’d prefer something a little different, London plant-based hotspot Mildreds has an exciting new Caribbean-inspired Veganuary menu, with a tempting-sounding Churro French Toast for brunch.
The dish is made with brioche loaf, spiced rum anglaise, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate sauce, and served with vanilla ice cream. Vegan, of course.
We’re drooling just thinking about it!
Crosstown launched their first-ever match dough bite for Veganuary (Picture: Crosstown)
Those with a sweet tooth are also in luck as some of our favourite bakeries are launching new Veganuary menus this month.
Crosstown is introducing two new limited-edition doughnuts, plus a brand new dough bite which is the first of its kind in Crosstown history.
The new flavours include Pistachio and Rose (£5.50) which sees delicate rose icing covering the company’s signature vegan sourdough doughnut, which is filled with a pistachio and rose custard and topped with a crunchy pistachio crumble.
The second is a Coffee, Cardamom and Coconut (£5.75), with a cocoa dough filled with coffee and cardamom custard, dipped in coconut glaze and generously coated in coconut angel flakes.
Matcha lovers will also be able to enjoy Crosstown’s history-making vegan Matcha and Rhubarb Dough Bites, which feature a tangy rhubarb and sweet strawberry compote in a vegan sourdough based, topped with a matcha and green tea glaze and a sprinkling of strawberry crumble, all for £3.50 each.
Similarly, the artisanal doughnut creators at Longboys are also selling two new Veganuary long doughnuts, including a Maple ‘Facon’ (faux bacon) Blueberry flavour, and a Rhubarb and Orange one.
The maple ‘facon’ blueberry dougnut from Longboys (Picture: Longboys)
And Krispy Kreme are getting in on the action with an indulgent new vegan range, including a revamped version of their popular Cookies & Kreme doughnut for plant-based fans.
Continuing with the cookie theme, there’s also a new Chocolate Cookie Crunch doughnut for vegans to enjoy, with chocolate icing, a cookie crumb topping, frosting and a mini cookie on top. Both are registered by the Vegan Society.
Pod Pea Vodka cocktails (yes, really)
It’s not just plant-based food we’re getting excited about this Veganuary, there are also some veggie-based cocktails being whipped up for those who are brave enough to try them.
Several restaurants and bars will be using Pod Pea Vodka in their drinks this month, which is a British vodka made form 100% British peas, and it, unsurprisingly, tastes like peas.
Nipperkin in Mayfair will be serving up a drink called Celery & Cucumber, inspired by the classic Margarita, which uses Pod Pea Vodka, celery, cucumber, Scottish red peppers and a dry vermouth and costs £19.
While The Alchemist in Spinningfields, Manchester will also be serving a Pod Pea Vodka drink, known as the Pea-cante. The cocktail is a spicy blend of Nuclear Mezcal Verde, Pod Pea Vodka, lime, agave, tabasco and wasabi peas.
If you’d rather have a tomato-based drink, the NoMad’s Side Hustle cocktail bar in London is the place to go, as they are serving a Tomato Martini, made with Grey Goose vodka, tomato, Korseret, Baldoria Dry Umami and basil.
You’ll also still be able to hit up a number of your weekday favourites, including Spoons, which has launched a Beyond BBQ stack burger for Veganuary, and places like Greggs, Maccies, KFC, Domino’s, Dishoom, itsu, the Hard Rock Cafe, and Nando’s all offer various vegan items on their menus.
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These launches prove vegan food doesn’t have to be boring.