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Veg instead of meat?

Hi all. Hoping some of you clever cooks out there can help? I want to reduce meat in my diet but I use a lot of minced beef... chilli, lasagne, cottage pie  etc and I dislike the texture of tofu and soya mince so would prefer to use vegetables instead. Is there a tasty alternative that can be bunged in the slow cooker? What vegetables/ pulses do you all use instead of meat? I am happy to use meat based products ( stock) to add flavour 
Hope someone out there can help. 
Thanks in advance 


  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,622
    edited September 2021
    I stopped eating meat 40 years ago. I use Quorn for cottage pie,chilli con carne,meat eating Sarf London hubby happy with that. I don't do anything veggi in the slo cooker,apart from soup. I do have recipes I use a lot for dhal/korma with sweet potato or butternut squash,loved by all my meat loving relatives. Apart from the Quorn,don't eat fake meat,Linda McCartney stuff,it looks and tastes like meat,also full of a load of preservatives,and crap. I prefer things like cauliflower cheese,quiches,veggi lasagne. I did have a lovely spicey beetburgers recipe, beetroot but can't find it.
  • BigladBiglad Posts: 3,043
    edited September 2021
    I've switched to sweet potato as the main constituent of my curries. I don't think it really matters much as whatever 'flavour' the curry is normally overpowers the ingredients taste anyway. Bung in a few home grown veggies (french or broad beans, cabbage, peas, etc.) and my lot seem happy with taste, texture and colour ;) More environmentally-friendly and vegetarian too. Winner, winner, non-chicken dinner :D 
    East Lancs
  • Red or Green Lentils, Chickpeas, all the various dried Beans.
    I also use Quorn - both pieces and mince but not any of the VegeMeat processed stuff.  I've never tried it but just doesn't appeal.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,654
    I do a lot of vegetarian cooking but never try to replace meat with substitutes.  Not going near quorn or any highly processed foods such as manufactured veggie burgers and have never met a tofu I liked.   I cook vegetarian because we love veggies and pulses.  If I need to think about protein content just combing cereal based food with pulse based foods will do it as will adding eggs or cheese.

    There are loads of excellent veggie dishes on BBC Food and BBC Good Food websites and you can put vegetarian in the search box or a specific ingredient and they include British as well as international recipes with and without spicing. 

    For basic but tasty pulses try and find a copy of The Bean Book by Rose Elliot.  We love the lentil and mushroom slice and the butter bean and beetroot with horseradish but there's plenty more.   For more sophisticated fare try and get Leith's Contemporary Cooking which is a book of meat free recipes which are just luscious.  If you like spicy fare, try World Food Café by Chris and Carolyn Caldicott. 
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • tui34tui34 Posts: 3,214
    edited September 2021
    @Obelixx  I'm going to try the lentil and mushroom slice and the butter bean and beetroot with horseradish.  My OH is vegetarian, but I cannot do without my pâtés and saucisson!!  (But not every day though).  Same:  Lots of pulses and there are some very good vegan and vegetarian sites for good ideas.  Indian and North African food is good.  Here in the south of France there are many non-meat substantial dishes because meat has always been an expensive food item - so everything goes into a "gratin" or leftovers (cabbage etc) which I have always known as bubble and squeak, get whisked eggs over it and it becomes a frittata!!

    Did you get my PM @Obelixx ?
    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • I have Pru Leith's veggi cook book. When I met my second hubby in the 80s my mature cheese was more expensive than his meat per kg
  • If converting mince-based dishes to veggie I tend to use a combination of mushrooms and pulses ... usually green or red lentils.

    However, can I also recommend the River Cottage book Veg Every Day ... a book crammed full of vegetable main course dishes that even this confirmed carnivore is happy to eat several days running

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • debs64debs64 Posts: 5,029
    Thanks very much I think lentils are the way to go. Will give them a try 
  • debs64debs64 Posts: 5,029
    Quick question.... dried or tinned? 
  • tui34tui34 Posts: 3,214
    Tinned contain much salt and preservatives but they are a handy standby.  Dried don't take long to cook if you soak them the evening/day before.   Red, brown or green lentils are good.  Chick peas are nice boiled and then roasted as a snack dust with spicy powders.  You'll have fun. 
    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

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