If there’s one thing that my little brother loves to eat, it’s meat. There are few things that he would prefer to have on his plate and to have a meal without it is not something he relishes. Therefore, my invitations have usually contained a reference to an exciting meat dish that we can share while we catch up on what’s been going on in our lives and have a laugh. It was with some trepidation, then, that I arranged to cook a meal for him that did not contain the magic ingredient. My anxiety was heightened because I had only decided at the last minute to cook a vegetarian meal and I wasn’t sure how he would react.
My wife is a vegetarian and loves Mexican food. I’ve managed to cook up some Mexican style stuff on a regular basis using veggie ingredients and even I don’t miss the meat because there’s always lots going on flavour-wise. I make sure that I’ve got lots of fresh coriander, red chillies and tomato salsa to keep things interesting. If we’re having fajitas, I use Quorn chicken pieces. If we are in the mood for chilli, I use Quorn mince or something similar from other supermarkets. At first, I found it disappointing and slightly strange, but I’ve stopped thinking of Quorn as a replacement for meat and just use it like an ingredient. The taste is good. It’s the texture that doesn’t always work in certain dishes. I’m very confident when cooking with Quorn now because I’ve used trial and error to learn how to use it best. Mexican food is perfect for it because the cooking methods stay the same as with meat and the results are very good indeed.
For my bro, I served up two dishes hoping to hit the mark with at least one of them. Chilli beef tacos made with Quorn mince and chicken quesadillas made with Quorn chicken style pieces. He loved the quesadillas, so that’s the recipe I’ve included below. I’m slightly embarrassed because as you’ll see, it’s hardly a recipe at all. However, it is a very quick meal to prepare and they’re surprisingly filling. Quesadillas are also about as versatile as it gets so they’re great for using up ingredients or just experimenting. My carnivorous sibling certainly ate his fill!
Veggie quesadillas (made with Quorn pieces)
300g Quorn chicken style pieces
6 flour tortillas
1 red chilli (sliced)
handful of fresh coriander (chopped)
1 bunch spring onions (sliced)
1 red pepper (sliced)
1 tspoon smoked paprika
1 tspoon dried oregano
300g Cheddar cheese (grated)
salt & pepper
Heat a little oil in a wok or frying pan until almost smoking and then add the Quorn pieces, paprika and oregano. Toss until the pieces are coated and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan and place a tortilla in it without any oil. Sprinkle large amounts of grated cheese onto the tortilla and top with the remaining ingredients. Add more cheese on top and press another tortilla onto this to make something resembling a pizza-sandwich. When the cheese has melted and the bottom is golden, turn the quesadilla over and continue to heat it gently.
These are great with the usual suspects: guacamole, sour cream and salsa. Cut them into quarters and serve immediately.