Batch bolognese for building… Bodybuilding of course.
Who doesn’t love having a go-to batch of something to transform into your favourite dish? I know I certainly do. For a busy bee like me I need to have simple and easy protein-packed portions of my favorite macro-friendly foods ready to transform into a quick and tasty post-workout feeds. I love cooking,but the last thing I want to do after a hectic day is spend 2 hours in the kitchen. I want my food and I want it fast!
For me, the easiest of these is a simple and adaptable mince base. Having turned pescatarian after a recent flirtation with veganism, my go to ‘mince’ is a soy based one, but all of the meal ideas below could be easily adapted with a turkey or chicken breast mince – which, would actually give you a lower fat count, leaving your fat macros for those beloved jars of peanut butter, or equally substituted for a lean beef mince for roughly the same macros split. For those of you that don’t count, you can choose whichever you prefer for flavour.
So, for me, making a big old batch of a tasty mince base is a great way to make sure you have something to eat in a hurry without reaching for the takeaway menu. It’s certainly a healthier and tastier option in my humble opinion!
To make a great base that you can use for a chilli, a low carb bolognese or even as the base for a burger you’ll need the following:
- Some mince of your choice
- Garlic – because garlic really does make everything taste better, and it’s great for the old ticker.
- Red onion
- Tomato purée
- A couple of old tomatoes (new ones are fine but I find that it’s a good way to use up old ones)
- Green peppers (or any of your choice, I just like green for colour purposes)
- Olive oil
- Himalayan pink salt (any salt technically will do but I love the mineral flavour given by this salt and it has the added health benefits)
- Black pepper
- Tsp Marmite – you have to trust me on this one, even those who hate it, will love the depth of flavour this adds.
- Finely dice your onion and garlic (or use a garlic purée like me because a. It’s far more concentrated, b. It saves a lot of time, c. You don’t get smelly garlic fingers!)
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the above. Cook until softened.
- Add in a tbsp on tomato purée and continuously mixed in the pan for 2-3 minutes
- Roughly chop your green peppers and cook for around 5 minutes until also softened and browned.
- Add your mince, I would say roughly 300g at a time maximum to ensure that there’s an even spread of flavours with the other ingredients.
- Cook the mince until the colour has changed and it is well cooked through.
- Take your tomatoes and roughly chop them. Add to the pan.
- Add two cups of water, the oregano, black pepper, and marmite.
- Cook down for a further 15 minutes on a medium to low heat with the lid on.
- After this time you should notice that the water has reduced to almost nothing and your tomatoes have cooked down into a delicious mushy consistency and mixed in with the mince beautifully.
- If you need to, remove the lid and cook down for a further 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened to your liking.
- Taste and season with the salt to your liking.
- Set aside to cool and portion or eat immediately with the accompaniment of your choice.
The two photos attached to this are two ways in which I love to serve my mince, both of which just so happen to be low-carb methods too. Feel free of course to switch it up.
First dish pictured is my spicy version with lettuce ‘tacos’. Of course you could use real tacos, but I love the freshness and crunch of those super cold, crisp leaves. To adapt the mince for this simply fry over a little chilli in some olive oil, add in some roughly chopped red peppers and courgette and cook until softened. Add in your mince mix and cook until hot through, generally just 5 minutes. Tip out and serve. And it really is that simple. I topped this with a big dollop of soft blue cheese as a treat but equally it’s just as delicious with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or my current food obsession; cottage cheese!
The second adaptation is more of a straight forward ‘I have no time thank goodness I had that’ situation! I quickly pan-fried over in a little olive oil spray some additional peppers and some mushrooms and added the mince mix. Separately I quickly cooked some konjac noodles, again you could easily substitute for proper pasta, I had clearly used up all my carbs for that day! Once cooked, pop the mince on top and you have a healthy, home-cooked ‘spag bol’ in minutes.
The great thing with having this go-to mince is you can literally use it as a base for anything. Make enough and you have Tupperware meals for days that you can adapt or change the accompaniments to. And to transform into burgers, simply add an egg, smash together and fry over or grill.
Food is fuel that’s for sure, but it has to be enjoyable and tasty and easy to prepare to. We all live hectic lives but there’s no reason we can’t eat tasty and healthy with minimal fuss and faff in the kitchen.
Enjoy our mince-based meals!
Until next time my lovelies, FitFood love and hugs