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Spicy Moroccan Style Mince Two Ways for a 5:2 Diet Fast:
While in many ways living alone makes it easier to follow something like the 5:2 diet, cooking small quantities of food can be a challenge. I am not keen on resorting to ready meals. Partly because I enjoy the process of cooking and partly because I like to know what I am eating. So, I tend to have a stock of ‘variations on a theme’ – recipes that I can make up and then use as the base for a range of dishes. Much as I love stuffed peppers for instance – I don’t want them for days in a row. When I was sent some quorn to review, I did just that, cooking with quorn mince to create a couple of low calorie bases that could be used for a variety of dishes.
The spicy mince and bulgar wheat mixture though is a good base for all sorts of dishes. It’s actually excellent straight from the pan, just served with a green salad (though you should cook the mince mixture for an extra 10 minutes on the stove top if it’s not going into an oven based dish for further cooking. Or, as you see above, stuffed into peppers and then cooked in a low oven for half an hour.
Or, perhaps my favourite, made up into a shepherds pie with a sweet potato topping. Just top a portion of the mince with some mashed sweet potato and bake in the oven at 150c for 20 minutes, till warm through.
The basic recipe is simple enough and although it might seem to have a lot of ingredients, they are all things you will probably have already.
- 300 ml Vegetable stock
- 175 g Quorn Mince
- 1 Onion Peeled and finely diced
- 2 Medium Carrots Peeled and finely diced
- 1 stick Celery Finely diced
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 1 teaspoon Harrissa Adjust with more or less to suit your palate - you can substitute with fresh chilli or chilli powder if you don't have harrissa
- 1 teaspoon Coconut oil Or EVOO
- 1 handful Fresh flat leaf parley Or spinach
- 30 g Bulgar wheat Dry weight
- Gently soften the onion and garlic in the coconut oil over a low heat for 8-10 minutes
- Add in the remaining vegetables and the spices and cook for 2-3 minutes over a moderate heat till the edges start to brown
- Add the bulgar, harissa and enough stock to cover the mixture. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the bulgar is softened, adding more stock as necessary and tasting occasionally.
- Stir through the quorn mince and the parsley. Cook for 5 minutes and then taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Use the mixture for spiced stuffed peppers or Morrocan shepherds pie.
Using quorn rather than (for example) lamb mince does require a few changes to the way you make up the mixture. Because quorn doesn’t benefit from browning or from long cooking, you will need to make up what is essentially a bulgar wheat and vegetable stew. Add the quorn into this mixture for flavour, texture and extra protein. If you prefer to use meat, obviously the calories will be higher and you should add the mince in at the same time as the onions, stirring it well to brown and seal it before adding vegetables, stock and bulgar.
A single portion of the mince vegetable and bulgar mixture is around 100 calories – obviously you need to adjust your meal analysis to take account of what else you use – adding in a pepper for instance (about 25 calories) or a portion of sweet potato mash to make the shepherd’s pie.
The spicy mince also freezes well, so if, like me, you do want variations on a theme, just make up a batch and divide it into single portions for the freezer that you can take out for your own ‘home made’ healthy low calorie ready meals on 5:2 diet fast days.