Media Statement

Salt levels in meat-free products

23 October 2018

Today the media reported a story about high levels of salt in some meat-free products which may have caused consumers concern.  More than 150 meat-free products were checked and over a quarter contained high salt levels.

Everyone needs to eat a balanced diet and should consider healthy eating guidelines. The recommended daily limit for salt intake for adults is 6g per day.

People need to consider the nutrition across all the foods they eat daily. According to the report, eating two of the saltiest meat-free sausages at one meal would mean you would consume 2.2g of salt, leaving a maximum of 3.8g for the rest of the day.

In our busy lives we are all looking for a balance between healthy eating and having something quick and easy to cook.

Lynne Elliot, Chief Executive at the Vegetarian Society said: “Like many vegetarians, vegans and flexitarians, we welcome the growth and choice in meat-free product ranges. These products can be helpful for people wanting to reduce the amount of meat they eat, or move towards a meat-free diet.

“Our advice would be to follow healthy eating guidelines and consider your salt intake through the day. Cooking from scratch when possible and not just eating processed foods, ready meals or take-aways is a good idea. This doesn’t mean you need to cut all these things out – you can still eat them as part of a balanced diet as long as you consider what you are eating.

“We have loads of resources to help people with their food choices, including a healthy eating cook book, a vegetarian version of the government’s Eatwell Guide which includes lower salt options, and a free online balanced healthy-eating plan available at”  

To get you started, here is a healthy and delicious mushroom, walnut and lentil burger recipe served with sweet potato wedges and crunchy salsa – totalling only 0.7g of salt per serving.

Mushroom, Walnut and Lentil Burgers with Sweet Potato Wedges

mushroom walnut burger

Preparation notes

Serves 2

Preparation: 20 mins

Cooking: 30 mins


For the crunchy salsa:

1 small yellow pepper, seeds removed and discarded, finely diced

½ small onion, finely diced

1 stick celery, finely diced

6 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped

1 tbsp lime juice

Pinch of salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

½ small red chilli, very finely diced


For the sweet potato wedges:

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

1 tbsp olive oil

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper


For the burgers:

2 tbsp walnuts, chopped into small pieces

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

150g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp ground cumin

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

½ x 390g can green lentils, drained and rinsed

10g coriander, finely chopped 

40g store-bought or homemade wholemeal breadcrumbs



1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4.

2. Prepare the salsa by combining the first five ingredients in a small bowl, then season to taste with salt, pepper and chilli and set aside.

3. Arrange the sweet potato wedges on a baking tray, drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil, season, and bake for about 20 minutes until tender.

4. For the burgers, warm a small frying pan over a medium heat, add the walnuts and toast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Note: walnuts burn easily. When the walnuts are toasted, set them aside to cool.

5. Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick, deep-sided frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.

6. Add the mushrooms and spices, cooking for a further 5 minutes, then season to taste. Take the pan off the heat and leave the mushrooms to cool slightly.

7. Add the mushroom mixture and lentils to a food processor and blend until smooth.

8. Transfer the mushroom and lentil mixture into a large mixing bowl then combine with the walnuts, coriander and breadcrumbs.

9. Form this mixture into two large, or four small, patties.

10. Cook the patties by heating a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Once hot, add the remaining olive oil and gently place the burgers into the pan.

11. Cook each side for 2 to 3 minutes or until the outside of the patties start to colour and turn crispy. Flip the burgers gently to avoid them breaking up.

12. Serve the patties hot with the crunchy salsa and the sweet potato wedges.


© The Vegetarian Society


Healthy Eating Resources

Online balanced healthy eating plan

The vegetarian Eatwell Guide

The Going Veggie: What to eat guide






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The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom Limited, Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham WA14 4QG
Registered Charity No. 259358, Registered Company No. 959115 (England and Wales)

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