olive magazine Eat In Awards 2024

From the ultimate pizza and pasta, to curries, indulgent lasagne, dumplings and spring rolls, or even a quick dessert, our team of experts taste tested over 100 products from 10 different supermarkets to bring you the best ready meals and shortcut products to buy.

Best pizza

Winner: Morrisons The Best ‘nduja meat feast pizza

This is the pizza for meat lovers. The ‘nduja gives plenty of spicy pork flavour that is well balanced with salami and fresh red chilli. The crust browns well with some charred spots.

Morrisons Ndjua Meat Feast pizza

Runner up: Booths wood-fired spicy salami and roquito pepper pizza

  • Available from Booths (£6.35, in-store)

The tomato sauce is well flavoured with herbs and judges enjoyed the generous salami slices.

Best filled pasta

Joint winner: Waitrose pumpkin and pine nut fiorelli

This is a winning combination of flavours with a vibrant filling. The whole pine nuts give good crunch and mozzarella brings a little indulgence – serve simply with melted butter or olive oil and lots of parmesan.

Waitrose pumpkin and pine nut fiorelli

Joint winner: Lidl Deluxe spinach and ricotta girasoli

  • Available from Lidl (£2.19, in-store)

Spinach and ricotta is a classic of the shop-bought filled pastas and this Lidl offering is our judges’ favourite. The pasta is a good thickness and attractive shape and would be a simple crowd-pleaser for the whole family.

Lidl spinach and ricotta pasta

Runner up: Morrisons The Best butternut squash and sage girasole

This pasta has a fun, vibrant orange colour for attractive presentation. The filling is smooth and a little sweet, but the sage flavour comes through clearly.

Best pasta sauce

Joint winner: M&S Collection aubergine, olive and wild caper tomato sauce

This chunky sauce is inspired by caponata and almost tastes homemade. It has a generous quantity of olives and capers giving salty, briny depth of flavour.

M&S aubergine tomato sauce

Joint winner: Waitrose No.1 ‘nduja pesto

A new twist on pesto to mix up your midweek meals, this has chunky pine nuts and a good level of heat from the distinctive ‘nduja.

Waitrose No1 Nduja Pesto

Best lasagne

Joint winner: M&S Our Best Ever lasagne

This had the best appearance and structure of all lasagnes we tried. The meat ragu uses beef and pork pancetta along with chianti for a robust finished flavour that tastes like a truly classic lasagne.

M&S lasagne

Joint winner: Waitrose No.1 beef lasagne

This has a good cheesy top, although only subtle cheesy flavour throughout the lasagne. The ragu has a deep flavour and the white sauce is gently seasoned.

Waitrose No.1 beef lasagne

Best garlic bread

Winner: Co-op Irresistible garlic and parsley ciabatta slices

Keep these ciabatta slices stashed in the freezer for garlic bread emergencies. The ciabatta goes perfectly crispy round the edges and base but soft and squidgy in the centre. They’re highly garlicky without being greasy – would be perfect with lasagne.

More like this

Co-op Irresistible Garlic & Parsley Ciabatta Slices

Runner up: Asda Extra Special caramelised red onion & mozzarella flatbreads

Is it a garlic bread or is it a pizza? Judges were divided but either way, the results won us over – squidgy bread topped with sweet caramelised onions and mozzarella alongside the classic garlic flavour. The two-pack of mini breads makes for easy serving.

Runner up: Lidl Chef Select garlic baguette

  • Available from Lidl, in-store

Our pick for a classic garlic baguette, at a bargain price. A reliable crowdpleaser, it is exactly what you expect but could be a little bit more bold with the garlic flavour.

Best meat curry

Joint winner: Aldi Specially Selected Gastro creamy butter chicken curry

A good option for those who don’t like their curries too spicy. This mild, creamy curry has freshness from some coriander to finish and a little crunch from flaked almonds.

Aldi Specially Selected Gastro creamy butter chicken curry

Joint winner: M&S Our Best Ever chicken tikka masala

The tandoori flame-grilled chunks of chicken give extra layers of flavour to this classic curry. The masala sauce is rich and creamy.

M&S chicken tikka masala

Best vegetarian curry

Winner: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference vegetarian paneer jalfrezi and saffron pilau rice

An effortless all-in-one meal, this definitely has a bold kick of heat. The paneer is nice and charred, the peppers and onions still had a bit of bite and the rice has a good flavour.

Sainsbury's paneer jalfrezi

Best gastropub main

Winner: M&S chicken, leek and smoked bacon pie (for two)

This smart pie has well-cooked, golden and crisp flaky pastry with a creamy chicken, bacon and leek filling. All ingredients feel high quality and the chicken chunks are especially large in the rich creamy sauce.

M&S chicken pie

Runner up: Asda Bistro fish pie (for two)

This fish pie for two will make your kitchen smell great as it cooks. Topped with light and fluffy piped mash for an attractive appearance, the filling has good chunks of fish (haddock and salmon) and prawns, and a rich, creamy consistency.

Best gastropub side dish

Joint winner: Lidl Deluxe Premium dauphinoise potatoes

  • Available from Lidl, in-store

Given that dauphinoise potatoes can take a while to make, this is a great alternative and has a good crispy topping, combined with a thick creamy sauce. The potato is well-cooked, although could have a touch more seasoning.

Joint winner: Aldi Specially Selected chunky oven chips

Oven chips are a failsafe treat to have on standby in the freezer. These large chips are soft and fluffy inside but moreishly golden and crisp on the outside.

Aldi Specially Selected chunky oven chips

Best spring rolls

Winner: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference chicken katsu spring rolls

A change from classic spring rolls, this mash-up of flavours impressed our judges. The filling has a pleasant curry flavour with a good outer crunch.

Sainsbury's Katsu Spring Rolls

Best dumplings

Winner: M&S prawn sui mai

This dinky box of dumplings is filled with flavour that outshines its tiny appearance. The box of six is microwaveable for an easy snack or canapé ready in minutes, with a juicy filling and strong lemongrass flavour.

M&S Prawn Siu Mai

Runner up: Waitrose Japan Menyū fried prawn gyoza with soy and ginger dip

For a fried dumpling option, these were our pick – they have a pleasant crunchy coating and come with their own soy dip.

Best Japanese-style main

Winner: Waitrose Japan Menyū vegan sweet potato katsu curry and rice

The crispy sweet potato disks are quite light, crisp and a welcome change to heavier takeaways. The katsu sauce is flavoursome and not too cloying.

Waitrose Japan Menyū vegan sweet potato katsu curry and rice

Best Chinese-style main

Joint winner: Aldi Inspired Cuisine char siu pork with sticky rice

A good option for a meal for one. The sauce is slightly sweet but mostly balanced, with some crunch from water chestnuts and tempered by the plain sticky rice.

Aldi char siu pork

Joint winner: by Sainsbury’s half crispy peking duck

For a sharing feast, this is a great way to serve a crowd effortlessly: a good amount of pancakes and hoisin sauce with meaty duck that goes crispy. You’d just have to add cucumber and spring onions to complete your pancakes.

Sainsbury's peking duck

Best gastropub dessert

Winner: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference sticky toffee pudding

This generously sized pudding won us over with its equally generous quantity of rich toffee sauce. The sponge is moist and flavourful – a great example of a classic sticky toffee pud.

Sainsbury's sticky toffee pudding

Runner up: Asda Bistro sticky toffee pudding

A good choice for a smaller pudding, ideal for two people, this isn’t quite as generous on the quantity of sauce as the winning Sainsbury’s pud. The sponge is great: sweet and moreish.

Best stir-in curry sauce

Winner: Tesco Finest makhani curry sauce

This mild curry sauce is rich and creamy, an attractive pale orange colour and has a touch of honey to balance out the spices. A super simple way to make a curry.

Tesco Finest makhani sauce

Runner up: Asda Extra Special Royal tikka makhani curry sauce

A slightly spicier alternative to the Tesco winner, this has both cream and yogurt for extra richness along with plenty of spices.

Best paella

Winner: Asda Bistro chicken, king prawn and chorizo paella

This winning paella tastes the most traditional of ones we tried. The rice has a good texture – not too wet or dry. The chicken is tender and the chorizo adds an extra punch of flavour.

Asda Bistro chicken, king prawn and chorizo paella

Best Indian-style side dish

Joint winner: Aldi Inspired Cuisine onion bhajis

If you’re making a curry from scratch, add these bhajis to your feast for an effortless side. They are good size with pleasant crunch on the outside and light spicing all the way through.

Aldi onion bhajis

Joint winner: Co-op Indian Menu vegetable samosa

This handy samosa two-pack is great for smaller nights in. The pastry is crisp and flaky – the judges only wished there was slightly more filling inside.

Co-op Vegetable Samosas

Best mango chutney

Joint winner: Aldi Bilash mango chutney

Mango chutney styles are very much a matter of personal preference. This Aldi option is smooth and classic, for a traditional all-rounder.

Aldi Mango Chutney

Joint winner: Waitrose hot mango chutney

For something different, this Waitrose chutney is thicker and jellied, with chilli flakes running through for a punch of extra heat.


Runner up: Lidl Deluxe mango chutney

  • Available from Lidl, in-store

This mango chutney stood out for having the addition of whole spices and nigella seeds mixed through, with a pleasant sweet and fruity base.

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