Catering for meat-eaters & vegetarians at the same table

One of the hardest things when cooking for a crowd is ensuring that everyone’s dietary requirements are met! Half of my family are huge meat eaters and the others are not at all. At home my brother, Dad and I all love being in the kitchen but are such back-seat cooks that it’s a competition as to who cooks for everyone else. My brother is the biggest meat eater, so to make him happy I have to adapt all recipes to make sure meat it at the forefront, otherwise he will have a big sulk (even as an adult!).

This bolognese recipe has always been one of my absolute favourites, and it just so happens that it is really easy to split the base in half and make it up with different protein to suit everyone!

Make up the base as normal, and then split it into separate saucepans and continue cooking & seasoning them at the same time. In one, add minced beef, another lentils or soya-based meat-free mince, or a mix of 1/2 beef mince and 1/2 lentils.

‘Keep Chris Happy’ Bolognese

~ Feeds 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 fresh chilli
  • 6-8 roughly chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 5 finely diced carrots
  • 1 finely diced pepper
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp marmite for each
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 handfuls spinach
  • Seasoning: fresh rosemary & basil
  • Protein: pack of beef mince, 1 tin lentils or pack of Quorn mince
  • Optional: a glug of red wine

METHOD:

  1. In a large pan, sauté the finely diced onion and crushed garlic in olive oil
  2. Once softened, mix in the chilli, carrots, peppers and sun-dried tomatoes
  3. Split the base into separate pans
  4. Add in the protein and cook the meat off slightly
  5. Stir in 1 tbsp tomato puree into each pan and a glug of red wine
  6. Add 1/2 tin of tomatoes into each, followed by 1/2 a tin of water
  7. Mix in marmite, balsamic vinegar, herbs
  8. Leave to simmer and thicken slightly
  9. Before serving, add in the spinach and more seasoning to taste