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Three Dinner Recipes Using Meat Substitutes (Vegan)

Freelance writer from the northeast coast of England with a fondness for vegan food and punk rock.

Vegan sausages

Vegan sausages

The rise of the meat substitute has been, and continues to be, remarkable. Earlier this year, Food Business News reported:

Investment in the development of plant-based meat, dairy and egg alternatives, cultivated meat and alternative protein fermentation companies reached $5 billion in 2021, according to the Good Food Institute, an alternative protein advocacy group. The figure is 61% greater than the 2020 investment of $3.1 billion.

This level of investment does seem somewhat excessive, given that vegans make up a tiny proportion of the population. But, of course these alternative proteins aren't aimed solely at vegans. As people become more aware of their impact on the planet, many seek to cut down on their involvement in animal agriculture, one of the biggest polluters.

Of course, vegans get to enjoy the spoils of this investment, in the form of tasty nuggets, burgers and sausages. Here are three recipes, each using different meat substitutes.

On This Page

  • Sausage and bean stew
  • Sweet and sour 'chicken' sub
  • Spaghetti bolognese
Sausage and bean stew

Sausage and bean stew

1. Sausage and Bean Stew Recipe

The meat-free sausage has come a long way since my days as a fledgling veggie, when my friends and I would roll out sausages from a rehydrated packet mix on a worktop with our hands. These days there are all manner of vegan bangers on sale. A recent TV ad for one such showed a father respecting his young daughter’s wish not to eat meat by cooking up a sausage and lentil casserole made with the advertiser’s meat-free option. This struck a chord with me, because long before that ad came out I had said on a Facebook post that pulses and sausage were made for each other.

The dish in the photo is a hearty stew with sausage and beans. There are many vegetables and beans that go well in stews such as this, but here I shall give the exact recipe for the one in the photo.


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 fist-sized potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 or 3 vegan sausages, cooked, cooled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour mixed with 2 teaspoons water


  1. Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion until soft.
  2. Add the garlic, celery, carrot, potato, cabbage and mushroom.
  3. Add the cayenne pepper and smoked paprika, and give everything a stir.
  4. Pour in the vegetable stock and tomato paste, and gently simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Pour in the butter beans and the chunks of sausages.
  6. Stir everything together and heat through until piping hot, and serve.
Vegan 'chicken' chunks in a sweet and sour sauce

Vegan 'chicken' chunks in a sweet and sour sauce

2. Sweet and Sour 'Chicken' Sub Recipe

The rise of the vegan sausage has probably been matched by that of the chicken substitute. From dippers to kievs; fillets to goujons, alternatives to chicken are taking up an ever greater portion of supermarket shelf space. And one of the best ways to serve it is, in my opinion, in a sweet and sour sauce.

If I see pineapples on offer at the supermarket, I usually buy one, but they rarely end up in sweet dishes. I might have it on pizza, as fritters, or in a sweet and sour dish, such as that above. I have been making this sauce for decades, having been impressed by its simplicity way back in my flat-sharing days as a callow youth.


For the base:

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  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup vegan ‘chicken’ pieces
  • 1 cup pineapple pieces
  • 1 cup assorted vegetables, finely chopped (e.g., broccoli, carrot, baby corn, mushrooms)
  • A little stock from the sauce ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 180 milliliters (¾ cup) vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour/cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons water


For the base:

  1. Put the oil in a pan and saute the onion until soft.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and vegetables and saute 1 minute more.
  3. Add the pineapple pieces, and a drizzle of stock.
  4. Stir so the steam starts to cook the vegetables.
  5. When the stock has all but evaporated, set aside.

For the sauce:

  1. Put everything into a saucepan and heat to a gentle simmer.
  2. Whisk it up and lower the heat.
  3. Simmer gently for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour the sauce into the pan containing the prepared vegetables.
  5. Stir and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve with rice.
Spahetti bolognese with vegan mince

Spahetti bolognese with vegan mince

3. Vegan Bolognese Sauce Recipe

When I worked in the kitchen of a local restaurant, I pushed my fair share of carrots, celery and onions through a mechanical mincer in what was the opening act of making a pan of bolognese sauce. Once cooked, the huge pan of minced meat would soon disappear, as it was served up with spaghetti, between sheets in lasagne, or as part of a pizza topping. Although I took no part in the actual cooking, my duties running no further than basic prep, I did witness the making of it enough times to replicate the recipe at home. I still enjoy that recipe these days, albeit with a different base ingredient.

Spaghetti bolognese with sliced baguette garlic bread was the basis of many a dinner party back in the day, to the point it became a bit of a cliché. Yet the dish retains a level of popularity even today, not least because it is possessed of two huge assets: it tastes great and it is relatively easy to prepare.


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, minced or finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, minced or finely chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups veggie mince
  • 1 tin plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour/cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the onion and celery over a medium heat, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the carrot, garlic and oregano, and continue stirring.
  3. Stir in the mince and the bayleaf.
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and 1 cup of the stock.
  5. Stir everything together and lower the heat.
  6. Simmer gently for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more stock if needed.
  7. Stir in the cornflour/cornstarch, and simmer gently for 1–2 minutes to ensure everything is incorporated and piping hot.
  8. Serve with spaghetti, or whichever pasta you prefer.
Spaghetti bolognese: the big question

Spaghetti bolognese: the big question

Meat Subs Prep Playlist

I was very late to the party for this version, it having passed me by on its release. Boredom is a great reminder of the negativity of the No Future ethos of the early punk music scene. Monotonous repetitive two-note guitar breaks, and Howard Devoto's sneering vocals make this a punk classic.

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