As I’m sure most readers will know by now, I’m not vegetarian, but champion the approach of eating “less and better” meat. For me, the reasons are ethical, environmental, and if I’m honest, economic. Veggie food can be so much cheaper, guys!
One of the ways we do this in our house is to eat plant based ‘meat alternatives’ quite often – products that have the taste, appearance and texture of meat; these are perfect if you are thinking about eating less meat, without wanting to sacrifice on protein.
As we always have onions, carrots and mushrooms to use up (and fresh thyme growing in our garden), this rich and tasty veggie ragu has become a bit of a household favourite.
I hope you like it.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large white onion, finely diced
- 2 celery sticks, finely diced
- 2 large carrots, finely diced (if they came with the tops, you could save these to make this carrot top pesto)
- 100g chestnut mushrooms, diced
- 300g pack Quorn mice (you could use cooked puy lentils as an alternative)
- 3 tbsp sun-dried tomato purée
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp dried fennel seeds
- 150ml red wine
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 400g dried spaghetti
- Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion, celery and carrot. Fry over a medium heat for 10 mins, stirring now and then, until softened and starting to colour.
- Add the tomato purée, mushroom, garlic, fennel and thyme, and cook for 1-2 mins more. Pour in the wine, and increase the heat to boil off most of the alcohol.
- Reduce the heat, stir in the vegetable stock and season with cracked black pepper. Add the packet of frozen Quorn mince (or alternative), and stir through. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and leave to cook gently for 15 mins.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta following pack instructions. Reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water, then drain the spaghetti and add to the ragu. Toss well and add a little pasta water to help the sauce coat the spaghetti.
- Serve in shallow bowls topped with freshly cracked black pepper and a scattering of fresh thyme leaves.