Monday, 4 March 2013

RECIPE: Vegan Bolognese

A couple of people were asking about this, so here it is:

1 package veggie ground round (Yves and Gardein do good ones)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, split lengthwise and chopped
3 small cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 medium green pepper, chopped
4 - 6 large Crimini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
800mL (large can) crushed tomatoes
300mL red wine
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil for cooking
salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil on medium and add chopped onions, celery and garlic.  Cook until translucent.  Crumble in ground round and dried spices (reserve parsley).  Mix well.  Add whole can tomatoes; swish wine in tomato can to get the leftovers, then add to pot.  Add pepper and mushrooms, stirring to combine.  Let simmer for anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours - the longer, the better.  If more liquid is required, add wine or vegetable stock.  Serve with spaghetti, linguini or pappardelle, or use as the red layer in your vegetarian / vegan lasagne.

Recipe doubles well!


Oh wait... I had a blog about this somewhere.

Right, back on the horse.

Or, not on the horse exactly.  Which is kind of the inspiration behind my renewed craving for whole foods, vegetarian / vegan foods.

I lived in the UK for 10 years.  I ate a lot of meat.  Most of it was recognizably the species advertised, but then, who hasn't eaten a dodgy burger or sausage sandwich from a van at a sports venue?  A late-night kebab?  Chances are good that whatever I ate wasn't great for me or the animal(s) that contributed their lives to it.  Chances are that I ate horse, or Chinese water buffalo, or whatever.  It's not the species that upsets me as much as the complete and willful ignorance I enjoyed while chewing.  The point isn't "OMG I just ate [insert offensive species here], but: did an animal suffer for me to enjoy this?"  I don't really see what the fuss is about unless you're ready to put your money where your mouth is and stop eating animals, period.

That said, since going veggie about two and a bit years ago, I've eaten meat.  Fish, beef, chicken, pork... just before Christmas I was all "fuck it" about it and ate anything put in front of me.  It's a slippery slope, but I've got my feet firmly on the ground again.  I have to say - the more I think about how my food comes to me, the less appealling the meat is.  Recent viewing of Hungry for Change, Vegucated, and a repeat of the Earthlings trailer (never been able to watch the actual film) has put me right off the stuff.  I guarantee no omnivore with a heart could sit through that trifecta and think "mmm, I really fancy a burger...".

And so, here I am.  A couple weeks into my new-old-new lifestyle that doesn't involve eating meat.  My "Shock and Awe" strategy:

The Shock:

- watch documentaries that spare no horrors about the processed food and 'animal as product' industries.  Let those images and facts sink in.  Unforgettable.
- take an honest look at my food sources and estimate the number of steps between producer and consumer, and the opportunities for unwanted additions / manipulations of my food.

The Awe:

- make the alternatives easy: is a revelation.  Whole Foods has an incredible selection of fresh and staple foods, plus a good variety of "cheater" foods (Yves, Gardein) to be used sparingly.
- make the most use of what I already have: Vitamix, well-stocked cupboards (aka "My Best Intentions"), and a great support network of friends with recipes and ideas.

So far, so good.  Cooking up a storm, more interest in food than I've had in months, feeling fitter, healthier, lighter than I have in a while, and I'm actually saving cash by preparing food at home.  What's not to like?