If you’ve been following our shopping stories for a while, you might have read about my love of a supermarket meal deal.
So when last week we finally learnt which sandwiches each supermarket was offering especially for Christmas, I headed out to all of them to grab one from each for a taste test.
Some have really imaginative veggie and vegan options this year, while others are dialling it in with their choices.
Read more: The best Christmas sandwiches from Asda, Tesco, Co-op, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Waitrose
I went to Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, M&S and Tesco and picked up the best sounding veggie Christmas sandwich I could find.
Here’s how it went.
I popped in the Quinton Asda and found the meal deal section to be quite limited, let alone ransacked – it was 2pm so just after the rush.
The only veggie Christmas sandwich I could find was the brie and cranberry one, which promised to be ‘handmade with quality ingredients’.
Both halves were well packed with brie and lots of spinach to make me feel less guilty about the fact that the whole pack contained 50% of my guideline daily allowance of saturated fat. Yikes.
The sandwich itself was on malted bread and when I bit into it, there was a lovely boozy taste. The sweetness of cranberry cut through the creaminess of the brie but there was something special about it.
Looking at the pack, I found that it was the port sauce that was added to the cranberry sauce. Delicious.
Any concern I had that this boring-looking brie and cranberry sandwich would be lacklustre were dashed. It was lovely, and very Christmassy.
It was just £2.50! Extremely reasonable for a cracking sarnie.
Drats. Tesco (also in Quinton) was also lacking in Christmas sandwich options to choose from.
The only flavour they had for veggies? You guessed it… BRIE AND CRANBERRY.
I tried not to let the disappointment ruin the experience, but the sandwich was badly packed and notably thinner than the Asda option.
As I read the packaging, I was disappointed to read that it contained 56% of my daily saturates. How, when it doesn’t seem to have half as much cheese?
Also, one half of it had lots of spinach but the other half, barely any at all. It was off balance and disappointing.
To add insult to injury, it was 50p more expensive. At £2.50, I expected more.
Things really took a positive turn at Sainsbury’s, at least, on paper.
There I found the beautifully-presented Rudolph’s Christmas Feast sandwich, a star-shaped bun containing a root veg patty, umami carrot ribbons and spiced candied seeds.
To look at, it was by far the most pleasing of the sandwiches. It smelt heavenly, like a proper Christmas dinner roll.
To taste, it was very sweet – somehow sweeter than the brie and cranberry options which had fruity sauce.
The seeds offered a lovely bite and the more I ate, the more I enjoyed it.
I enjoyed the nutritional stats too – this one was only 19% of my guideline daily allowance of saturates! It was super high in sugar, as I’d anticipated from the taste – 19.5g of the stuff in the one roll.
That said, it was a really pleasant Christmas treat that I think would have tasted better warm.
Still doesn’t beat the Asda brie and cranberry for me, though, and it’s £1 more expensive at £3.
I feel that Morrisons has really pulled out the stops this year to make their Christmas sandwiches fancy.
I went for a Merry Vegan Vegetable sandwich, which is a winter veg fritter, white bean and parsnip houmous and spiced raised red cabbage on sage and onion bread.
It was another one that instantly smelled of Christmas when you opened the package. Sage and onion bread is such a clever idea – that could make any sandwich feel festive!
The bread was extremely soft and it gave way to crunchy cabbage and some really complex flavours.
I loved how earthy it tasted – I could really take time to appreciate all of the different vegetables that were inside given they’re all quite strong flavours.
I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed it. I’m not usually a fan of parsnip but the sweetness it brought was just so clever.
It tasted all the sweeter knowing that 5% of sales from the sandwich would be donated to Young Lives vs Cancer – it said so on the pack.
At £2.50 it was as near perfect as I could have expected a Christmas sandwich to be. With just 0.7g of saturated fat, it felt like a guilt free option, too.
Marks & Spencer
I had pre-conceived notions that M&S was going to win this taste test as soon as I saw their No-Beef Welly roll.
The tiger crackled bread contains a mushroom duxelle and some plant-based beef alternative as well as strips of carrot and spinach.
Straight away, I loved it. The rich mushroom flavour just takes things to the kind of elite level you’d expect from a £4 M&S sandwich.
It wasn’t just vegan beef, it was sumptuous, tender M&S vegan beef. Cor. I loved it.
The roll was delightful and the thin ribbons of carrot added some of the tough, fibrousness (is that a word?) that I want from a vegan sandwich.
I had worried that the vegan beef would have made the whole sandwich a bit of a soggy mess, but the carrots held their own. And they’re pickled! Wow, wow, wow.
What a brilliant sandwich. Well done, Marks and Spencer, you’ve really done the most with this one.
So which was best?
When all is said and done, I’d have to say that it’s down to the M&S No Beef Welly roll and the lovely Morrisons Merry Vegan Vegetable sandwich.
Both were exquisite lunch options, but when it comes down to it, one was significantly more Christmassy than the other.
Morrisons wins it.
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The festive flavour, the price, the nutritional values, all factors that made the Morrisons sandwich the winner today.
The M&S option was great, but it just didn’t have that festive edge. Sure, it was special, but Morrisons’ sandwich felt seasonal right from the moment I opened the package.
Well done, Moz. I’m going to need a loaf of that sage and onion bread.