My family and I are looking for ways to eat less meat, and one of the things I have been working on is re-vamping some of my classic recipes that use mince beef with a product called Quorn. The main ingredient in meat free Quorn is mycoprotein, a lower fat source of protein. It contains no cholesterol, but is a good source of fibre and essential amino acids. It’s one of those proteins that takes on the flavour of the foods you cook it with, so it works really well in dishes like Spaghetti Bolognese, Shepherd’s Pie, Chilli and Lasagna.
Quorn does have a slightly different texture to ground beef, and it was that which gave its presence away when I made Spaghetti Bolognese with it for the first time recently. I didn’t mention to my family that I had replaced the meat with Quorn, and they didn’t really notice at first. However, eventually I had to confess that the ‘something different’ they noticed about the recipe was the absence of meat, and by virtue of that, the presence of Quorn. They did agree was that the taste of the dish was still excellent, although they were a little thrown by the texture. They soon got over it though, and all the plates that went back to the kitchen were clean!
Since then I’ve also made Shepherd’s Pie with Quorn and once again, the result was very similar. The taste was almost identical to the normal meaty recipe, but the texture does give the game away a bit.
I’m not going to stop making our favourite recipes with meat, but from time to time, I will use Quorn in order to help us reduce the amount of meat in our diet. If you would like to try using Quorn, or other meat substitute in Spaghetti Bolognese, try this recipe.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red peper, finely chopped (optional)
1 - 350 gram (12 ounce) package Quorn mince mince
3 to 4 cups of homemade tomato sauce or jarred passsata (sieved tomatoes), organic if possible
1 vegetable tock cube
1 to 2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup basil pesto
1 pound spaghetti
freshly grated vegetarian style Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the onion until it begins to soften and become translucent. Add the red pepper, if using, and sauté for a few minutes more.
Crumble the stock cube over the onion and stir through. Add the tomato sauce or passata, oregano and bay leaf. Stir through, reduce the heat, and simmer for at ten minutes.
Remove the bay leaf, and stir in the pesto. Add the Quorn mince and stir though. Cover and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes.
Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper if you feel the sauce needs it. Leave the sauce to simmer while you cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water according to package directions.
Drain the spaghetti and serve with the sauce. Garnish with the Parmesan cheese, if using.