If you’re thinking of going vegetarian please don’t make the mistake I did. Don’t think that you can get away without buying a meat substitute. ‘Vegetables will do the job’ I’ve thought several times this week, but honestly how many different types of vegetables do any of us have in our fridges at any one time. Exactly. I’ve spent most of this week eating onions. When I made a thai green curry, when I made Bolognese and when I made vegetarian chilli. Oh dear god the chilli.
Broadly speaking I followed the following slimming world recipe except for a few ‘how important can that be’ amendments:
- Low calorie cooking spray
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed [or not if you forgot to by them. Dumbass]
- 2 fresh chillies, deseeded and chopped [I don’t really like spicy food. Any how important can it be?]
- 2 tsps ground cumin [Thought I had it. Didn’t]
- 1 tsp ground coriander [Eww]
- 1 tsp paprika
- A pinch of cayenne pepper [Hmm…maybe regular pepper will do]
- 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 275ml stock
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 450g extra lean beef mince (or Quorn mince) [or NOTHING. In a dark moment I even seriously considered substituting carrot]
- 1 x 200g can red kidney beans, drained [Now this I did have. What I did not have was a can opener. Neither did my flatmate. My neighbour wasn’t in. I shit you not I opened it with a spoon. It’s just possible that I’m Bear Grylls’ lovechild or it could have had something to do with the fact that I watched this video. It was simultaneously one of my lowest moments and proudest achievements. All I can say in my defence is that being vegetarian and not being a very prepared chef means you really can’t be foregoing a can of beans in this situation.]
- Chopped fresh coriander leaves, to garnish [Eww. See above]
- 1 level tablespoon of tomato purée
- Spray a large saucepan with low calorie cooking spray and fry the onion gently over a low heat for 5 minutes, until softened and golden. Add the garlic, chillies and all the spices and continue frying, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Add mince, stirring until it begins to brown.
- Add the canned tomatoes, tomato purée and stock. Stir well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, until the liquid is slightly reduced. Season with salt and pepper and add drained kidney beans. Heat through gently for about 5 minutes.
- Slow-cooker alternative: Brown your onions, garlic, chillies, spices and meat as above and transfer to your slow-cooker. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato purée and stock. Stir well and cook on ‘medium’ for 6-8 hours. 45 minutes before serving add the kidney beans..
- Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped coriander leaves. [If you’re a taste bud masochist]
What I’m learning is that vegetarian recipes are not to be meddles with. If you start casually missing out key ingredients, flavourings or I don’t know ALL the spices, you will end up eating a sort of tomato-oniony broth. I’ve eaten worse (yes the nut roast does spring to mind) but still I was very sorry that I’d decided to make enough for my lunch as well…
Note to self: must try harder. Also please send help and recipes.