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    I Made A Vegetarian "Meat" Pie To See If It Would Taste Like The Real Thing

    Honestly, it was an experience.

    Hi there, my name is Clare! Like many people my age, I'm starting to grow pretty damn concerned when it comes to the many issues facing mother nature.

    Woman standing on a balcony in front of a beach with long brown hair and wearing a red top
    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    Things like climate change and overpopulation aren't going to get better without consistent, powerful action — but as individuals, sometimes it's difficult to know how you can enact change!

    I've been wanting to cut down on my meat-consumption for a while because of a whole host of reasons, but I've never really taken that first step.

    One of the reasons I'm hesitant about going vegetarian or vegan is because, if I'm being brutally honest, I just think I'm going to miss some of my favourite foods too much. But, I figured it was about time I hung up that excuse and gave it a go.

    Nickelodeon

    Which is why my curiosity was immediately piqued when I heard about v2 — a plant-based meat alternative that supposedly "cooks and tastes just like meat".

    In order to see if v2 actually does what it claims — looks, cooks and tastes like real meat — I decided to recreate something that all Aussies (myself included) know and love: The classic meat pie.

    Bitten into meat pie with tomato sauce swirled on top
    BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com

    According to Google, I'd need Worcestershire sauce, an onion, two types of pastry, flour, beef stock cubes, BBQ and tomato sauce (to go inside the pie) and, of course, mince.

    Stack of listed ingredients arranged on a bench top
    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    Thankfully, I researched some of the sauces before I went to the shops, 'cause I found out that normally Worcestershire sauce isn't vegetarian — it has anchovies. So, I found a vegan one, because I figured might as well make this as vegetarian/vegan as possible. I also didn't use beef stock cubes, again finding an alternative that said it had "no animal products" and was called "beef-style" stock cubes. Unfortunately, the pastry and the egg wash I couldn't find alternatives for.

    Then, disaster struck! When I first got the mince, I had planned to cook it straight away, but alas ~life~ delayed me by a week. Then, when I opened the fridge I realised that the mince had gone out of date! I mean, I still had a pack of v2 I could eat, it was just frozen rock solid in the freezer.

    Netflix

    Cue a montage of me frantically trying to defrost the frozen batch in a hot water bath, thinking I'd succeeded, realised I'd failed and having to do another hot water bath. Afterwards, my housemate innocently suggested that I could have used the defrosting setting on the microwave and I kicked myself for not remembering such a simple solution.

    After the "defrost the mince" disaster, we were ready to go. And, I gotta say, v2 did not lie. The mince definitely looked and cooked like meat, which was great, because it made it easier for me to cook!

    Uncooked mince in the pan with onions
    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    The recipe I had told me to add in water, tomato and Worcestershire sauce to the mixture, as well as salt and pepper. I also added BBQ sauce because I'm a ~cooking rebel~ like that.

    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    Next, there was a whole lot of simmering. Then I added in a flour/water mixture and simmered again. Then I had to wait for the mixture to cool. Making a meat pie is obviously a lot harder than it looked.

    From there, it was relatively simple! Shortcrust pastry on the bottom, filled with mince mixture and puff pastry added on top! I brushed on some egg wash and they were ready to go in the oven.

    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    Also, because I had leftover mince and pastry, I made some on-the-fly sausage rolls, which honestly did not look like your traditional ones. I mean, look at those limp meat roll-ups.

    Pies ready to go in the oven and two small sausage rolls
    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    I put everything in the oven for 25 minutes on 180 degrees celsius...roughly. I might have lost track of time at some point.

    But guys, when I pulled them out of the oven, all the frazzledness and nervous sweating was worth it.

    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    Look at these beautiful babies! Golden on top, with a pastry that you know is just going to crunch deliciously. When I pulled them out of the tray, there was no sticking — these bad boys wanted to be out of the pan and consumed.

    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    I immediately started questioning my career choices, tossing up whether I should become a baker or not.

    But, I know what you came for and I know what question you want answered: "Did they taste like an actual meat pie?"...

    Marvel

    ...They nearly did. Now, don't get me wrong — they tasted GREAT. Absolutely amazing work done by v2: The texture was right, it looked perfect and the taste was pretty damn close.

    Pie cut open showing the plant-based meat inside
    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    The way I described it to my housemates was, "It doesn't taste exactly like beef, but it doesn't taste like plant-based food. If someone gave me this and told me it was a meat pie, I would just assume it was a meat different from beef."

    NBC

    The best thing about the whole experience was that it took away that fear, that if I were to eat only plant-based meat, then I would miss out on food that I know and love. I would happily eat this plant-based meat pie and feel like I was getting the Aussie experience.

    It might be just a teeny first step towards eating more plant-based foods and I'm not going to become vegan or vegetarian overnight — but I've come away from this experience with the resolve to eat less meat overall and isn't that a good thing?

    Sausage roll and pie on a plate
    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    Let me know in the comments about your meat-free journey!

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