Here is my tasty meat-free version of the classic Italian Bolognese. Due to the price and nutritional value of ‘Quorn’ products, it provides us with a much cheaper alternative and contains much more protein and a fraction of saturated fats compared to standard mince – making it a rather guilt-free but fabulously flavoursome dish that suits our healthy living goals.
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cooking Time: 35 mins | Serves: 4
A dash of olive oil
1 diced white onion
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 500g bag of ‘Quorn’ frozen mince
1 400g carton of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoon of tomato puree
2 fresh tomatoes diced
2 teaspoons of green pesto
1 large carrot chopped into small chunks
Half a courgette diced
A handful of white mushrooms quartered
200ml of boiling water with 1 vegetable stock cube
1 ½ teaspoon of mixed herbs
A few basil leaves chopped/scissored
Pinch of Salt
A few grinds of black pepper
A large dash of red wine
Spaghetti or Penne Pasta
- On a chopping board, prepare all of your vegetables – onions, garlic, carrot, courgette, mushroom, and fresh tomatoes – and put to one side.
- In a large wok fry your onion and garlic in the olive oil using a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once they have softened and began to turn golden, you can then stir in the bag of Quorn mince, cooking it for about 5 minutes, stirring and breaking it up with a spoon as you go.
- Mix in the carton of chopped tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, tomato puree and pesto. Then using the empty carton, fill it up ¾ of the way with water and mix this into the wok. This added moisture from water is used to loosen up the ingredients already in the pan and will eventually provide a substantial amount of sauce for the vegetables coming next.
- Mix in the carrot, courgette and mushrooms.
- Fill a measuring jug up to the 200ml mark with kettle-boiled water and crumble in 1 vegetable stock cube. Stir this and then mix it into the wok.
- Stir everything well, and turn the heat up.
- Mix in the salt, pepper, mixed herbs, and freshly chopped basil leaves.
- Add the wine and reduce to a lower heat and simmer for about half an hour or until carrots are cooked through.*
- Whilst that is cooking you want to think about cooking your pasta or spaghetti using the packet instructions as a guide. Usually this takes around 10 minutes, and you want to aim for it to be ‘al dente’.**
- Taste your Bolognese sauce. It should taste scrumptious, but add a little more salt and/or pepper if you think necessary.
- Once the Bolognese and pasta is cooked, turn the heat off of both.
- Using a colander, drain your pasta/spaghetti, and then divide it among your dinner plates using a pasta ladle server.
- Then spoon your Bolognese among the dishes and finish it all off with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese (if desired.)
- Serve & Enjoy!
*I use this as a reference as in this recipe carrots are the ingredient that will take the longest to cook, so once they’re done it’s ready to serve. You can check this by prodding the carrot with a knife to check their softness.
**This means it should be cooked so it’s soft but still slightly firm when bitten. Use the packet timings, and you can always taste a bit of pasta before the time is up to check for yourself.