When you think of vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese, do you think of Quorn?
A lot of people seem to assume that if you are making a sauce that would normally have meat in it, you must be substituting it with Quorn. That Quorn is the essence of vegetarianism, and all vegetarians must eat the stuff. Personally I’m not a fan. Most Quorn products contain egg so that’s an instant turn off for me, but even without that it always tastes a bit wrong to me. It also gets a little annoying when every place you go to throws Quorn at you because, clearly, that’s all vegetarians eat.
If you will not or cannot eat Quorn mince, soy mince is an alternative. Unfortunately in my experience it looks like bird food and is disturbingly chewy, so that might not be the most promising prospect. I am sure there are better options (and please tell me if you know of any good brands), but if you ever find yourself panicking because the frozen vegetarian section isn’t thrilling you remember that lentil are always there to fill the void.
What you need: A tin of green lentils (I don’t think dry would work in this case), two tins of chopped tomatoes, half a pack of small chopped mushrooms, a chopped red pepper, one finely chopped chilli, a few basil leaves, one chopped onion, a few crushed garlic cloves, olive oil.
Spices: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Salt, Pepper, Chilli Power, a sprinkle of chilli flakes
Note: This recipe is really cheap to make. One tin of lentils is around £0.55 and the chopped tomato is around £0.35. Your average decent shop bought jar of bolognese sauce is going to be around £1.00. Even if you don’t normally cook from scratch, just give it a try. You will save money and gain on taste.
1: Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan and chop the onion and crush the garlic. Drop a little garlic in the heated oil and if it sizzles (but doesn’t burn, don’t let it burn!) it is hot enough for the onions. Add onions/garlic and fry for about five minutes. Then turn to a lower heat and cook for a few further minutes until translucent.
2: Add the chilli and basil and cook on a medium heat for about two minutes, then add the peppers and mushrooms and sprinkle in the spices. Fry for a bit longer to let the peppers soften then add the lentils, stir together, and fry for about five minutes, then transfer to a low heat.
3: Add the tinned tomatoes and some more spices, stir and cook on a low heat for about ten minutes/whilst cooking the spaghetti. Make sure it doesn’t start to boil as that will impair the taste
4: Cook the spaghetti as per pack instructions. To add some extra flavor to your spaghetti add a stock cube to the water and remember to salt!
5: Enjoy with cheese and olives (optional but mmmm)