This is another great option for weekday dinners as the weather gets colder. I make a big batch and it’s fab for a lovely quick meal. It is super versatile too – you can use it for spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, shepherd’s pie, or as a chilli with rice or jacket potato, or just on its own! It will keep in the fridge for at least a week (I’ve kept it for 2 but usually I’ve eaten it all by then!) or you can freeze portions too.
This is really easy to make and if you’re busy you can speed it up even more by using bags of frozen veg. Waitrose/Ocado do a bag of mixed onion, celery and carrots (‘soffritto mix’) and a great bag of frozen mixed grilled veg (onion, aubergine, courgette and pepper) which work brilliantly. Don’t be afraid of using the frozen veg – often they’re actually higher in nutrients than fresh as they’re frozen immediately rather than sitting in warehouses for months. I’m very much a believer in making eating healthy as easy as possible so this is a really easy option.
Even if you’re not vegetarian I’d definitely suggest you try this – it’s a lot lighter in calories and just as tasty. And if you’re worried the family may not want a meat substitute i’d suggest trying it and not telling them – I bet they don’t notice! Loads of my clients have found that their other halves and children haven’t even realised it’s not meat (though obviously you could use turkey or beef mince if you wanted to).
This makes approx 8 generous servings at 245 cals per serving!
You will need:
1000g of Quorn mince (or ‘meet the alternative’ or any other meat substitute)
Either – 1 bag of soffritto mix OR 1 onion, 2 sticks of celery and 1 large carrot all finely chopped
Other mixed veg – pepper, courgette, aubergine (your choice, or 1 bag of the frozen veg)
3 vegetable stock cubes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp of chilli (to taste)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp Mixed herbs
Dash of Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian brand if necessary)
Spoonful of marmite (optional)
Salt and pepper
Heat a little oil in a large pan. Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for a few mins.
Add the mincemeat and mix well and let it heat through (if using turkey, beef etc then ensure the meat browns at this point). Add the stock cubes and mix well.
Add the other vegetables and stir well. Heat for a few mins.
Stir in the passata and then add all the spices, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar and marmite. Mix well and allow to simmer.
Taste it during this phase and adjust seasoning to taste.
Once it’s cooked for at least 20 mins, if you can let it cook a bit longer do as it helps to give a better flavour. Then it’s done!
Serve with spaghetti, jacket potato, rice, or as a chilli with a dollop of yoghurt and spinach!