Meat Free, Taste Free?

Being vegetarian or vegan is becoming more and more inclusive with restaurants having far more meat and dairy free options to choose from, an array of different products in supermarkets to buy and even some vegetarian and vegan only menus becoming available at restaurants . It however, it still much harder to be a vegetarian or vegan with so many places being dominated with meaty menus, pricey alternatives and lacklustre substitutes.

I myself have been vegetarian for nine years, briefly becoming vegan at the start of university and I have seen a major increase in the availability of vegetarian/vegan recipes and foods being made obtainable to people. There are a lot of benefits to being vegetarian or vegan, such as reduced risks of obesity and coronary heart disease.

So long as you meet the nutritional values required to maintain a healthy lifestyle, maintain a well-balanced diet and keep yourself generally fit and healthy being a vegetarian or vegan can be incredibly beneficial to your health. Not only does being a vegetarian or vegan have benefits to one’s own health but has great environmental benefits as well.

It can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, one of the leading
causes for climate change and global warming, as land use for livestock created about 9% of all greenhouse gas emissions from human related activities. It was also save an enormous amount of water from waste contaminating it as well as the water needed to process meat; to make 1 kilo of beef patty, around 15 thousand litres of water is required in the overall process of raising cows and producing beef. One of my favourite meals back home and at university is Spaghetti Bolognese. It’s
easy to make and delicious to eat. It’s one of those meals that you can make any way you desire and with what ingredients you want to add in but will still come out with the same delicious taste.

What You Will Need:

Quorn Mince (or any substitute mince meat you prefer)

Approximately 100g of Spaghetti Pasta

Bolognese Sauce (any brand or flavour you wish)

Half an onion (any type you prefer, multiple if you wish)

A small handful of runner beans

A couple of mushrooms (any type you desire)

Half a bell pepper

Frozen or canned peas

Garlic powder

Salt and Pepper

Cheese/vegan cheese (optional)

Jalapeños/chilli powder (optional)

Start off by preparing your vegetables. Cut up the onion, runner beans, mushrooms and bell peppers, make sure they are small so they cook faster and aren’t distracting from the overall taste. Place these vegetables into a colander and give them a quick wash, leaving them to drain over the sink.

While the vegetables are draining well, turn on the kettle to heat up water for the spaghetti or begin to heat up a pan of water on the hob (I like to boil some water and then heat it up on the hob). Meanwhile, grab your bag of Quorn mince (or any alternative) and your Bolognese sauce. Pour the suggested serving amount of sauce into a saucepan and start to heat on a medium heat for a minute. Quorn mince and spaghetti take about 11 minutes to cook, so start these at the same time. Put the
spaghetti into the saucepan of water and make sure they get submerged.

Add the suggested serving amount of mince to the sauce as well.Pour a handful of frozen or canned peas (or however much you wish to use) into the sauce with the mince.

Add about a tablespoon of salt to the spaghetti and stir occasionally throughout the 11 minutes. Stir the Bolognese sauce, mince and peas
to make sure they are covered with sauce, not burning at the bottom of the saucepan and cooking well.

If it seems the Bolognese is burning either turn down the heat or stir more frequently. If the spaghetti water starts to froth and/or boil over turn down the heat as well.
Add the chopped vegetables to the Bolognese sauce and stir in well, add in Jalapeños and/or chilli powder if you wish to have a slightly spicier Bolognese.

Also, add a pinch of salt and pepper, stir in. I sometimes put in a dash of garlic powder or crushed garlic.

Continue to stir or check on your Bolognese and pasta throughout the 11 minutes making sure the food is not burning. Once the food has cooked, drain the spaghetti well in the colander whilst the Bolognese is left on the hob (with the heat turned off) to begin to cool.

Once the spaghetti has drained put it on your or in your bowl, adding the Bolognese on top. Finally, you can add some grated cheese/vegan
cheese on top.
Then you have Spaghetti Bolognese, enjoy!

— Niamh Kemp

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