WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

bolognese

Vegan 'Mince Meat', Four Delicious and Even More Nutritious Ways

Dinner, Gluten free, Dairy Free, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter, Autumndanielle coppermanComment
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I’m sitting here wrapped in my Goop Travel Wrap at my parents house in Bath, the place surrounded by snow and going nowhere very fast at all. We live in a tiny village, or a hamlet to be precise, and since not much goes on around here, not many cars pass by and apparently, not many gritters either. The lanes are beautifully but inconveniently piled with snow, and only the tractors and land rovers can take them on. Whilst some would find this frustrating, I personally love it, being so rural and detached, especially as I’m visiting from London which is, well, the exact opposite. I love moments like this that just force you to stop and slow down, quite literally.

So, finally, having tested these recipes months and months ago, I’m taking this pause as an opportunity to share them. Bolognese is winter food at it’s best; so deeply comforting, and warming like nothing else. It is a highly regarded meal by many; whether it’s a staple weeknight meal, a weekend treat or one of those things you only order in restaurants cos they just do it better. It’s a failsafe crowd-pleaser, thats for sure, but what if you’re a long standing or recently converted vegan or vegetarian, or simply want to reduce the amount of meat you’re consuming? Well, I’ve got a few options for you. I’ve experimented with all kinds of vegetarian variations, and since all of them were delicious and nourishing in their own unique ways, I just figured I’d give you them all. The meaty textures and flavours in the recipes that follow are purely and simply natures own ingredients. Take your pick, from mushrooms and lentils to carrots and walnuts, or try them all. And if you’re willing to try something completely different and a little bit out there, my favourite might just be the Green Bolognese, made with spinach, broccoli and tofu.

I’ve branded these as bolognese sauces to serve with pasta (I’d use gluten-free rice or vegetable-based fusilli, spaghetti or linguine), but you could also serve these chilli-style (Chilli Sin Carne), with rice or other grains (like buckwheat, millet or quinoa), in tacos or with tortilla chips, nacho-style (all-over or as a dip). Add a little extra chilli and maybe stir through some kidney or pinto beans to make a more traditional chilli, or leave as it is.

Each of the following recipes are also so, so good on their own, or maybe with steamed vegetables or seasonal salad. They’re delicious served cold, too, either perched next to other leftovers, rainbow-bowl-style, or part of a packed lunch.

Let me know how you get on, and tag #WellBeingAndOtherStories if you post any of your creations online!

+ Pictured, only the Carrot & Walnut Bolognese.

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Carrot & Walnut Bolognese

Serves 2

Components

3 medium-large carrots, grated
4 large tomatoes
10 medium mushrooms (button, chestnut or portobello)
1 clove garlic
1/2 white onion
120g raw walnuts
1-2 tablespoons sunflower or extra virgin olive oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Handful of fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoons dried oregano
5 handfuls spinach
30g sun dried tomatoes (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh or dried gluten-free pasta of choice, for two (about 200g)

Method

Start by peeling, chopping and grating the carrots. Then chop the tomatoes into 2 inch pieces. Next, finely dice the mushrooms into tiny pieces, dice the onion, crush the garlic and roughly chop the walnuts. The walnuts should be in pretty small pieces, kind of resembling the size and width of minced meat.

Next, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat, and then add the carrots, tomatoes, mushroom, onion, garlic and walnuts. Sauté for 5-10 minutes, and then add the tinned tomatoes and tomato puree. Stir to combine and then add the nutritional yeast, basil, oregano, spinach, sun dried tomatoes (if using) and salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat and leave (ideally with a lid on) to simmer whilst you prepare the pasta (for roughly 20-30 minutes). Cook according to packet instructions or if using fresh, unpackaged pasta, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook until soft (taste test a few times until you’re happy with the bite).

Stir the sauce a few times to ensure it isn’t sticking to the pan. If it seems a little dry, add a splash of water or, if you fancy, some red wine.

Once the sauce has reduced and is a thick, wet consistency, remove from the heat and set on the table, either in the pan or transferred to a serving bowl. And once the pasta is cooked to perfection, drain and set on the table, either in the pan, transferred to a serving bowl, or distributed onto each persons plate.

Top with extra walnuts, basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, along with any other toppings of choice, like pesto, cheese or vegan cheese (or just an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast).

Tempeh ‘Mince’ for Chilli, or Bolognese

Serves 2

Components

200g tempeh (could replace with firm tofu)
1 clove garlic
1/2 white onion
1-2 tablespoons sunflower or extra virgin olive oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons fresh coriander (if making a chilli, or basil if making as bolognese)
1-2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon paprika
½ - 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ - 1 teaspoon chilli powder or flakes (to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (optional)
1-2 teaspoon mustard (optional)

250g grains (such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat or millet) if making chilli, dried or fresh gluten-free pasta to serve 2 (about 200g) if making bolognese, or gluten-free corn tortilla wraps, tacos or nachos if making either of those

+ You could also serve this as a burrito or in tacos.

Method

Start by dicing the tempeh (or tofu) into tiny pieces, crumbling the pieces in your fingers until it resembles a minced meat texture. Next, chop the onion and crush the garlic.

Heat the oil in pan and then add the onion, garlic and chopped tempeh. Sear over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, nutritional yeast, fresh coriander, tamari, paprika, cumin, ground coriander, oregano, chilli and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat and leave (ideally with a lid on) to simmer (for roughly 20-30 minutes), whilst you prepare your grains (if making chilli), pasta (if making bolognese), tortilla wraps or tacos. Cook according to packet instructions. (For unpackaged grains, cook 1 cup grain to 2 cups water, bringing water to the boil and then reducing to a simmer and cooking covered with a lid until all liquid has been absorbed. If using fresh, unpackaged pasta, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook until soft (taste test a few times until you’re happy with the bite).

Stir the sauce a few times to ensure it isn’t sticking to the pan. If it seems a little dry, add a splash of water or, if you fancy, some red wine. Add the spinach just before removing the sauce from the heat, and stir it through until wilted.

Once the sauce has reduced and is a thick, wet consistency, remove from the heat and set on the table, either in the pan or transferred to a serving bowl. And once the grains or pasta is cooked to perfection, drain and set on the table, either in the pan, transferred to a serving bowl, or distributed onto each persons plate. If using tortilla wraps or tacos, you know what to do.

If serving with grains, serve with extra fresh herbs (coriander, as used above), creme fraiche (or vegan alternative) and cheese or vegan cheese. If serving with pasta, top with extra fresh herbs (basil as used above), and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, along with any other toppings of choice, like pesto, cheese or vegan cheese (or just an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast). If making burritos or tacos, serve with extra fillings, such as rice, sautéed vegetables, creme fraiche (or vegan alternative), and cheese or vegan cheese.

Mushroom & Lentil ‘Mince’, for Chilli or Bolognese

Serves 2

Components

500g medium-large tomatoes
2 red peppers (preferably the long ones, known as Marconi)
450g mushrooms (button, chestnut or portobello)
1/2 white onion
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons sunflower or extra virgin olive oil
100g puy, beluga or green lentils (preferably uncooked, and soaked for a couple of hours)
50g uncooked quinoa (optional)
250ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato puree
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 bay leaves
1-2 teaspoons cocoa / cacao powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tablespoons mustard (optional)
30g black or green olives - chopped (optional)
1-2 handfuls spinach

250g grains (such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat or millet) if making chilli, dried or fresh gluten-free pasta to serve 2 (about 200g) if making bolognese, or gluten-free corn tortilla wraps, tacos or nachos if making either of those

Method

Start by chopping the tomatoes and red peppers into roughly 2 inch pieces. Dice the onion and crush the garlic, and then finely dice the mushrooms, into tiny cube-like pieces. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes until the onions and garlic begin to brown and the mushrooms soften.

Next, add the lentils and quinoa and continue to sauté for a further 5-10 minutes. Then add the vegetable stock, tomato puree, nutritional yeast, bay leaves, cocoa powder and salt and pepper, to taste. If using, add the mustard and olives now, too. Bring to the boil then cover with a lid and leave to simmer (for roughly 20-30 minutes), whilst you prepare your grains (if making chilli), pasta (if making bolognese), tortilla wraps or tacos. Cook according to packet instructions. (For unpackaged grains, cook 1 cup grain to 2 cups water, bringing water to the boil and then reducing to a simmer and cooking covered with a lid until all liquid has been absorbed. If using fresh, unpackaged pasta, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook until soft (taste test a few times until you’re happy with the bite).

Stir the sauce a few times to ensure it isn’t sticking to the pan. If it seems a little dry, add a splash of water or, if you fancy, some red wine. Add the spinach just before removing the sauce from the heat, and stir it through until wilted.

Once the sauce has reduced and is a thick, wet consistency, remove from the heat and set on the table, either in the pan or transferred to a serving bowl. And once the grains or pasta is cooked to perfection, drain and set on the table, either in the pan, transferred to a serving bowl, or distributed onto each persons plate. If using tortilla wraps or tacos, you know what to do.

If serving with grains, serve with extra fresh herbs (coriander, as used above), creme fraiche (or vegan alternative) and cheese or vegan cheese. If serving with pasta, top with extra fresh herbs (basil as used above), and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, along with any other toppings of choice, like pesto, cheese or vegan cheese (or just an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast). If making burritos or tacos, serve with extra fillings, such as rice, sautéed vegetables, creme fraiche (or vegan alternative), and cheese or vegan cheese.

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Green Spinach & Broccoli Bolognese

Serves 2

Components

120g broccoli, chopped
2 large handfuls spinach
150ml water or vegetable stock
50g extra broccoli, diced
200g mushrooms (button, chestnut or portobello) (or green lentils)
100g firm tofu
1 onion
1 garlic clove
5 tbs olive oil
Handful fresh basil
1 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh or dried gluten-free pasta of choice, for two (about 200g)

Method

Start by bringing a small saucepan of water to the boil. Chop the 120g of broccoli and add to the pan, along with both handfuls of spinach. Boil for 5 -10 minutes, until soft, then drain and transfer to a blender. Add the water or vegetable stock and blend on a high speed, until smooth. If too thick or paste-like, add another 50ml liquid. Leave in the blender whilst you prepare the other ingredients.

Dice the remaining 50g broccoli as finely as possible. Finely dice the mushrooms into tiny cube-like pieces, and do the same with the tofu, crumbling the tofu pieces in your fingers until it resembles a minced meat texture. Finally, chop the onion and crush the garlic.

Next, heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, diced broccoli, mushrooms and tofu and sauté for 5-10 minutes, until the mushrooms soften and the onion and garlic begin to brown. Next, add the fresh basil, dried oregano, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat and leave (ideally with a lid on) to simmer whilst you prepare the pasta (for roughly 20-30 minutes). Cook according to packet instructions or if using fresh, unpackaged pasta, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook until soft (taste test a few times until you’re happy with the bite).

Stir the sauce a few times to ensure it isn’t sticking to the pan. If it seems a little dry, add a splash of water or, if you fancy, some red wine.

Once the sauce has reduced and is a thick, wet consistency, remove from the heat and set on the table, either in the pan or transferred to a serving bowl. And once the pasta is cooked to perfection, drain and set on the table, either in the pan, transferred to a serving bowl, or distributed onto each persons plate.

Top with extra basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, along with any other toppings of choice, like pesto, cheese or vegan cheese (or just an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast).


Since there’s a lot of information and a lot of options here, feel free to leave any questions in the comments below! Enjoy!