I was vegetarian for around 3 years and this has made me appreciate food more. Not only did I need to be more careful to maintain a balanced diet, but I started to discover new ways of enjoying food. I found that one of the most important things is actually texture. I often judge a restaurant by the way they cook their veg. If it’s overcooked and bland.. my opinion is obvious. If they manage to make broccoli, asparagus and cauliflower taste great without masking the taste then the restaurant is going to become a favourite.

One of the interesting options as regards texture for vegetarians is soya mince. I haven’t been very adventurous with tofu or soya chunks yet but the mince has always been in my freezer. It’s versatile and it has that ‘bite’ that is often lacking in a meat-free diet. This recipe is one of my quick favourites.

You’ll need:

  • soya mince
  • hoi sin sauce
  • soy sauce
  • tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • veg of your choice – I prefer mushrooms, courgettes and baby corn for this recipe

Fill half a cup with soya mince and top up with water until it is all covered. Add some soy sauce and hoi sin sauce to ‘marinade’ it. Chop up your vegetables and cook in the pan with more soy sauce. Remember to throw in the ones which take longest to cook first, allowing ample time so that everything is cooked well at the same time.

Throw in your soya mince mixture and keep cooking. Stir continuously to cook the mixture evenly. After about 5 minutes add your tomato sauce and let it simmer for a while so that your flavours fuse. Use as a vegetarian bolognese on pasta, rice or in lasagna. This is also suitable for freezing to use later on.


  1. Serra
    Posted May 6, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Hey, yes, this a staple at home as a sauce for pasta, rice or pulses, except for the hoi sin sauce. Never bought a bottle.

  2. Posted August 20, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t agree with you more on the question of texture. While I was never a vegetarian, when living in the UK last year I opted to have some vegetarian meals to expand my repertoire – it’s amazing what a difference well prepared vegetables (or fruits) can make in a dish. I also found myself ordering vegetarian curries from some Indian restaurants – again, it’s where most of the flavour is.
    That said, for a while my mother was into making casseroles with soya chunks and I remember soya mince being used in other cases. I hated it, and still do to this day. In hindsight, it could be that my mother treated it as she would meat, but I don’t think I’m ready to go back as yet.

    Yesterday I did make roasted pumpkin, though; it was so good that the bacon and rabbit burgers I had with it were relegated to sides.

    • Posted August 23, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your comment – my favourite Indian dish is vegetarian too (Palak Paneer) when it’s prepared well, I don’t miss meat at all. I have come to appreciate vegetarian dishes very much, with emphasis on preparation with fresh, well-sourced vegetables and using dressings and so on.. the result can be amazing. It helps to know how to prepare a few dishes to provide variety, and thus reduce boredom, in your diet.

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