Saturday, 13 April 2013

Quinoa bolognese - plant based so dairy free, vegan and packed with tasty goodness

Since we adopted our plant based diet just over a year ago, I have tried many different ways of making a vegetable bolognese. Some of them were nice, some were really not, but none came close to the texture and depth of flavour of traditional beef mince bolognese and so a few weeks back I decided to give it a break.

Normally I wouldn't be seeking to replicate in vegetable form such a meat dependent dish, but spaghetti bolognese is a lovely dish and a great one to have in the freezer for easy dinners. Plus, in vegetable form it would be a great one for little eaters who always seem to love spaghetti!

So I was very happy this week to have been given the leap I needed, via the wonderful Savvy Sister website. Cruising through her recipes I noticed one for Vegan Sloppy Joes with quinoa. For those not in the know, Sloppy Joes are essentially beef mince, tomatoes and onions served in a bun. A great idea to use quinoa and I was able to come up with a lovely saucy bolognese, packed full of vegetables and with that lovely traditional texture.

To say I was happy with this recipe would be understating it. So, thank you Savvy Sister, I am now sorted for bolognese and even my quinoa hating husband was very impressed!

Quinoa Bolognese
this amount serves 3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 toddlers

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced fine
  • 3 sticks celery, diced
  • oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 175g mushrooms, diced
  • 4 small tomatoes, diced
  • 3oz tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup passata
  • 250ml stock
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsps choped parsley
  • water from the pasta
1. Cook the quinoa. Cover the quinoa well with water and heat to boiling. Reduce, cover and simmer for about 10-12 minutes until cooked (when the quinoa is translucent and the white sections are starting to separate). Drain and set aside to dry.

2. Heat a little oil in a large saucepan or stock pot and sweat the onions, carrots and celery until soft and the onions are translucent. Stir regularly, but put a lid on for a few minutes to help the carrots steam a little. About 10 minutes.

3. Add the garlic, green pepper and fresh rosemary. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

4. If you are having pasta, put it on to cook now.

5. Add the mushrooms to the bolognese and stir until they are starting to soften. Add the tomatoes, oregano and basil and cook for another 5 minutes.

6. Add the tomato puree, passata and stock. Season to taste with pepper and sea salt (if you use it, I tend to use Seaweed condiment instead). Mix thoroughly and let cook at a simmer for about 5 minutes. 

7. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it but retain the water. Add the quinoa to the bolognese and mix to thoroughly coat it. Add as much pasta water as required to get the level of sauciness you want. When you have it right, make sure it's hot enough and serve with your pasta!

This is a very adaptable dish so you can play around with different herb combinations and put some heat in if you fancy. Just don't cook the quinoa until it's mush... Next time I will get some greens in, and then it will be even better.

Let me know what you think!

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