Because of Brexit and the lack of care that the government is taking to preserve our food standards, I’ve had a year of thinking more carefully about the food that I buy and eat. I get a lot of food from the plot and knowing how your food is grown has become more important to me, so I’ve decided to try and eat less, better sourced meat.
I’m lucky that I only have to feed myself but even so my food budget isn’t ever expanding, which means I need to expand the amount of vegetarian recipes in my cooking arsenal. Unless a doctor demanded it, I’m not ever going to be a vegan. I’m open to eating more vegan food but I’m not generally a fan of food that pretends to be something else. I don’t want fake cheese or bacon, I’m really not sure about the vegan pretend burgers. But I’m happy to use plant based food, where they work well.
Bolognese and chilli are great places to start. I’ve used this red lentil bolognese before and it’s still really good but I wanted it for Saturday night and so it needed to be really hands off because I come back from the allotment tired and I need to clean and sort out all the vegetables that we bring home. So I have limited kitchen patience on Saturday but I’m also not just feeding me, so although I know that Ma wouldn’t object to cheese on toast, I want to serve something I’ve put a tiny bit more thought and effort into!
So this lentil and mushroom bolognese, was a perfect fit for all of those things.
It’s a slow cooker meal, so I just started it before we went to the plot. I chopped all the veg in mini chopper that came with my hand blender. Because I was making it using the slow cooker function on my instant pot, I did saute the chopped veg before I added the other ingredients.
I did make some slight changes, I added some worcestershire sauce (it’s not vegetarian but neither am I – if you are, some Hendersons Relish or mushroom ketchup would have the same impact) and a little bit of balsamic vinegar. Finally because I didn’t have a full cup of green lentils, I used half green and half red.
It’s really good with a real depth of flavour and would be great anywhere you’d usually use bolognese or mince, I’m thinking on top of a baked potato, in a pasta bake and I’m sure you could adapt for chilli.
That looks superb. I will have to give it a try less meat, and expense are on my diet To-Do list. Slow cooker meals are brilliant. I have lentils in the cupboard that I never remember to use. Win Win.
It is really good, I was surprised by how much flavour it had. It also makes loads and freezes well without losing any of its flavour! Let me know what you think when you try it!