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What can I use to pad out the meat in a bolognese or cottage pie other than lentils?

(41 Posts)
DrKoothrappali Sat 20-Aug-11 21:45:21

Just that really, I'd like my mince meat to go a bit further and I know people who add lentils to theirs but lentils don't agree with me blush so what else could I use?

I was thinking of Quorn but that is really pricey too, is there another alternative? Some sort of soya pieces or something?

Honeydragon Sat 20-Aug-11 21:46:22

lots of finally diced mushroom?

Lilyloo Sat 20-Aug-11 21:46:56

grated carrot

HattiFattner Sat 20-Aug-11 21:47:08


franke Sat 20-Aug-11 21:47:48

I put lots of finely shredded carrot in my bolognese. I know it's not protein, but it keeps it quite light.

NevermindtheNargles Sat 20-Aug-11 21:48:31

My mum always used to put a beanfeast sachet into hers. Can you even buy those anymore?

QueenOfFeckingEverything Sat 20-Aug-11 21:49:29

Soya mince? Tho tbh if lentils disagree with you, soya mince may be no better.

Or grated veg - carrot, courgette, sweet potato.

DrKoothrappali Sat 20-Aug-11 21:49:57

Wow, a fast response, thanks. DH won't eat mushrooms but carrot might work. Will lots of carrot make it too watery do you think?

For breadcrumbs do I just blitz any left over bread I have?

timetosmile Sat 20-Aug-11 21:50:08

Porridge oats (honest!)

I put a heaped tablespoon in a bol. sauce which would feed 4/5. But you do need another half a tin of chopped toms or add extra water as they do absorb a fair bit. Same for cottage pie. I can't taste it and no-one else knows its there!
Start with a desert spoon and see what you think, increasing the amount added over time until you think you've got it right.

Or grate 1-2 extra carrots in, and add them early. They mush down and add to the sweetness, but really help to pad it out.

Don't go mad or you'll end up with purreed carrot porridge!

DrKoothrappali Sat 20-Aug-11 21:51:01

Queen where can I get soya mince to give it a whirl? Supermarket or is a health food shop type of thing?

foxinsocks Sat 20-Aug-11 21:51:11

I put loads of veggies in - green beans chopped up, peppers, carrots etc

AnnoyingOrange Sat 20-Aug-11 21:52:33

bean? cannellini, black eyed or even baked

TheGhostNotMe Sat 20-Aug-11 21:54:06

When I bulk mine out I use a lot of veg. Mushrooms, sliced mixed peppers and fresh tomatoes roughly chopped all works well here at making a little mince go a lot way.

QueenOfFeckingEverything Sat 20-Aug-11 21:54:44

Holland and Barret or any other health food shop. Not sure about supermarkets.

Have just remembered DP's padding-out-trick - wholemeal couscous. So long as there is plenty of flavour it goes unnoticed.

DuelingFanjo Sat 20-Aug-11 21:54:50


QueenOfFeckingEverything Sat 20-Aug-11 21:55:50

Oh, Iceland sometimes do big bags of frozen veggie mince in the vegetarian section. Its nicer by far than the dried stuff IMO.

RandomMess Sat 20-Aug-11 21:56:34

bog standard oats work a treat, they really do!

franke Sat 20-Aug-11 21:57:07

Carrot doesn't make mine watery. I sweat it with the onion and garlic first before adding the meat and then tomatoes.

DrKoothrappali Sat 20-Aug-11 21:57:10

Couscous is a great idea, we all like that and the DDs wouldn't notice I bet. They'd love baked beans too. As far as DD1 is concerned, if a meal contained baked beans then it must be yummy. I managed to get her to eat all sorts using that method!

DrKoothrappali Sat 20-Aug-11 21:58:15

I wonder if I have an Iceland near here, will go and google. I like quorn so if there is something like that but cheaper it would be perfect.

AnnieLobeseder Sat 20-Aug-11 21:59:52

Quorn mince. Not as cheap as some of the other suggestions but still cheaper than meat and tastier than soya mince.

AnnieLobeseder Sat 20-Aug-11 22:01:53

Sorry, didn't read your OP properly.

Which type of lentils do you use? Red lentils are much smaller and pretty much tasteless so I find them great for stretching out my Quorn spag bol (I'm veggie).

DrKoothrappali Sat 20-Aug-11 22:02:09

Nevermind to be honest a sachet of beanfeast isn't too bad an idea, I bet they do still sell them. I used to buy them at uni when all sources of income had failed!

OriginalPoster Sat 20-Aug-11 22:02:30

Agree porridge is good, or the left over bits of bolognese which are lurking in small pots in the freezer.

The other thing is to make plenty of bread or gnocchi or salad to go with it.

whimsicalname Sat 20-Aug-11 22:02:38

I stick some or all of carrots, onion, celery, peppers, onion, courgettes, mushrooms etc in a food processor until they are the same texture as mince, then saute them first. Adds lots of flavour, and pads it out (although mostly I just use TVP mince not meat)

You could also try bulgar wheat. It has a good texture.

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