If you are someone who would like to cut down on meat, or start cutting it out completely then this dish is a great start. You can batch cook it, divide into portions and viola, you have lunches and dinners for the week.
If you’ve not already tried Soya Protein then I would highly recommend giving it a go! It may or may not come as a surprise to you that not all Quorn products are vegan, as they use egg whites and milk in a lot of their products. Quorn mince is NOT vegan so if you'd prefer this dish to be completely plant-based then steer clear. Enter.... Soya Protein or Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP).
You should be able to buy soya protein from your local health food shop and it shouldn't cost much more than a couple of pounds for a 375g bag. As it comes dried, a little goes a long way and keeps in the cupboard for ages.
The mince is great for substituting mince beef and lamb in dishes like Chilli Con Carne. They come in chunks too, which is a great chicken substitute for curries, stir fries, pies and stews. This is a family favourite in my house. So nutritious, filling, naturally low in fat and completely plant-based. What's not to love? The meat perhaps? Don't despair, this recipe is so flavoursome and moreish, it may well convert you! If it doesn't, just scroll down to the Flexi Tweaks for a meat-based variation.
Click here to take you to the recipe video on You Tube, or see below for the full recipe.
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 green or red chilli, seeds removed
2 peppers (any colour), diced into bitesized chunks
1 tbsp of ground cumin
1 tbsp of ground coriander
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of ground cayenne pepper (optional)
2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
1 tin of kidney beans, drained
100g of dried soya protein mince
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of Bouillon
2 tbsp of tomato puree
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. Before you begin, soak the soya mince in 300ml of cold water in a bowl and give it a good stir. Set aside for later.
2. Stir fry the onions, celery and carrots in the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat for 5 minutes until soft. Then add the garlic, chilli and peppers and fry for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
3. Add all the spices and stir fry for another minute. Then crank up the heat and add the soaked soya mince. Give it a good stir ensuring the spice cover the mince evenly and fry for about a minute.
4. Stir in the tins of tomatoes and kidney beans. Then add the balsamic vinegar and bouillon. Simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on.
5. Take the lid off and give it a good stir. Add the tomato puree and season to taste, and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
6. Make sure your peppers are cooked through before plating up. You should be left with a lovely thick, silky sauce that's full of flavour. Add a little water if too dry and more puree if too runny.
Serve on it's own with avocado, pine nuts and avocado, or with rice and greens for a more substantial meal.
This dish can be easily adapted for a beef chilli. Instead of soaking the soya mince, fry 350g of lean mince beef in a pan with a little oil until browned. Set aside and follow the method above. Add the beef mince at the point you would add the soya mince. Use beef stock instead of Bouillon if you wish. And always try to use the highest quality beef you can afford.
Another option is to use half beef mince and half soya mince. This way you will get the flavour and texture of the beef while using less of it. Restaurants use this method all the time to bulk out their dishes and keep costs low. Don't knock it until you've tried it.