There is no doubting it’s been a very hot end of May! The weather has been glorious and the heat has been intense. I’m hoping that the sun may stay for a while but I have a feeling that might have been our heatwave for the year… Anyhow, this warmer weather makes me crave light salads and juices more than anything for lunch. When it’s warm and sticky, there’s nothing better than a lovely, fresh salad. There are obviously lots of spots in town where you can take these away to eat at your desk (for workaholics) or outside (picnic time!)
So, I’ve done a bit of research into some top contenders to see which summer lunch I found to be the best. To keep it fair, I tried to pick a falafel / vegetarian based salad at each venue. I visited Pret, Marks & Spencer, Greggs, Starbucks and Boots. Here are the results!
Sweet Potato Falafel & Smashed Beets Veggie Box
- 334 cal 10.3g protein 3.1 sat fat
Taste: 5/5 – This was so beautiful!
Value for money: 2/5 Very very expensive and I can’t really justify this regularly.
Freshness: 4/5 Very tasty, although the falafel was a little dry.
Nutrition: 4/5 Pretty good and a nice amount of protein with low saturated fat.
Aesthetics: 5/5 This salad looks amazing and very enticing.
Marks & Spencer:
Nourish Bowl Edamame & black rice
- 395 cals 16.5g protein 2.7 sat fat
Taste: 4/5 This was very tasty although I found the black rice a little odd.
Value for money: 4/5 Still quite expensive although the portion size is big so you feel as though you get your money’s worth.
Freshness: 5/5 Tasted very fresh.
Nutrition: 5/5 Full of all the good stuff with lots of protein!
Aesthetics: 5/5 The salad looked delicious.
Falafel and Harissa and grains salad:
- 314 calorie, 7.5g protein, 1.2g sat fat
Taste: 4/5 Tasted quite nice however I would remove the red onions.
Value for money: 3/5 This was cheaper than the others which is great although I think this is still quite expensive and I would have expected Greggs to be slightly cheaper.
Freshness: 4/5 Tasted very fresh and the falafel was not too dry.
Nutrition: 4/5 This salad doesn’t have as much protein although has very low saturated fat which is good.
Aesthetics: 3/5 I don’t think the salad looked as nice at Pret or Marks & Spencer but was better than Starbucks and Boots.
Courgetti, Broccoli & Halloumi Cous Cous
- 357 calorie, 11g protein, 5.1g sat fat
Taste: 2/5 This was a bit bland and lacked flavour. I also don’t like cooked pepper so that probably didn’t help!
Value for money: 1/5 way too expensive for what you get!
Freshness: 3/5 This didn’t taste amazingly fresh and felt a bit sloppy.
Nutrition: 3/5 Not as good as the other options due to high amount of saturated fat.
Aesthetics: 2/5 This salad just looked a little sloppy.
Carrot and coriander falafel salad
- 260 cals, 5.6g protein, 1.2g sat fat
Taste: 2/5 I found this to taste a little bland and the dressing wasn’t very flavourful.
Value for money: 5/5 Very good! You can get the salad as part of the Boots meals deal too which costs only £3.39.
Freshness: 4/5 Tasted pretty fresh.
Nutrition: 4/5 This salad didn’t have as much protein as others but had a low saturated fat which is good.
Aesthetics: 2/5 The salad doesn’t look anything special which is a shame.
So, the results are in!
- Marks and Spencer
I think my favourite salad was from Pret but the only thing that let this down was the price. I just can’t justify £4.50 every day! The only summer lunch here that I really didn’t enjoy was from Starbucks as it just really lacked flavour, was a bit sloppy and was very expensive. All the others though were very tasty and of course the difference in cost does affect how much I liked it. I’d happily go to Boots and Greggs on a regular basis and leave Marks & Spencer and Pret for those special occasions (Pay day treats!)
I did a similar taste test earlier this year with coffees which you can find here!