Meat-free Monday

Paranoid about protein, I eat a lot more meat now that I’m a parent than I ever did in my dink-chardonnay-socialist-vegetarian-exept-for-bacon-and-a-really-good-bit-of-sirloin days.

Luckily my vegetarian phase didn’t last long and mainly coincided with living in the UK where meat is not only expensive but vaguely tainted with the whole mad-cow thing. I was swayed too by a stint at an ashram where I attended endless lectures about the wholeness of everything and that when we kill creatures we are actually killing ourselves. Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Besides, the astonishingly creative and good vegetarian food there was quite a revelation.

But being a pragmatist, the main things that really convince me to be meat free more often are the environmental arguments and the hideous statistics about the wastage that occurs in order to raise animals for us to slaughter and eat. There’s a quick rundown here on “10 reasons why it’s green to go veggie”.

Which is all good, but raising vegetarian kids who are already fussy eaters can be a tricky business. Getting the nutritional balance right for them is tough (there’s a Vic health article here) and I think most of us who are toying with the whole thing give it a miss as soon as our tantruming-toddlers are silenced by a cutlet.

So perhaps now is a nice chance to join the meat-free Monday movement and help our health, the environment, and the universe… man. Peace.

Vegie Smugglers vegetarian bolognaise

This is a simple one-pot pasta sauce that not only hides veg but IS all veg.

Vegetarian bolognaise

A stick blender is entirely useful to get a convincing consistency for this dish.

800g can chopped tomatoes
1 red onion, finely diced
4 mushrooms, diced
1 cup broccoli florets
½ red capsicum, seeded, diced
310g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
½ cup red wine (optional, but recommended)
2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil, sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp finely chopped herbs (try basil or parsley)
1 bay leaf
Cooked fettuccine, to serve

Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add all of the ingredients except the pasta. Bring to the boil, then lower to a simmer and leave it bubbling away for 30–40 minutes or until everything is tender.

Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Use a stick blender to whizz the sauce it until you have a texture to suit your family. I keep small chunks in mine so that it looks like regular bolognaise.

Taste and season with salt and oodles of black pepper. Serve with fettuccine (or pasta of your choice).


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13 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    CT said,

    I make my “Lasagne” with that and they all love it. Including the vegie-phobe grown up.

  2. 4

    […] – Vegetarian Bolognaise (rollover from last […]

  3. 6

    naturalnewagemum said,

    that sounds yum… I haven’t tried it with chickpeas before! We try to eat Vego every second night, but it’s hard coming up with new ideas the kids will actually eat! 😀

  4. 7

    I get tired of the same old recipes, even if they are tried and true. So I am looking forward to trying this veggie version since a week really doesn’t go by without a classic pasta dish. Thanks!

  5. 8

    Karen said,

    Would this work as a sauce with corn chips to make a form of vegetarian style nachos?

    • 9

      wendyblume said,

      Yes, it would I think. Just cut back the italian herbs by half, add some cumin, chili powder (if your kids can handle a bit of heat) and it would be good. If you try, report back how it goes.

  6. 10

    Emma said,

    It’s on the stove!!!! Wish me luck with my fussy eaters. I know I’m going to love it. Unfortunately I drank all my wine last night!

  7. 13

    Kate said,

    Yum! my family loved it. I grated in a sweet potato too. Delicious!

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