I have discovered that green or puy lentils make a perfect substitute for beef or lamb mince in dishes such as spaghetti bolognese, shepherds pie, cottage pie, chilli etc. Simply make the same dish using lentils instead of mince, (cooking the lentils as per the instructions – I used dried lentils and cook them first). Or follow a recipe for a lentil version e.g. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10035/golden-veggie-shepherds-pie
As with all recipes most ingredients are flexible, if you don’t have celery or bay it wouldn’t ruin the dish, just add a bit of extra seasoning elsewhere. If you don’t have tomato puree, use some canned tom or passata and if you are really desperate ketchup.. will work. I am not proud a dollop of brown sauce is a winner in a nice cottage pie.
I go further and replace the butter with rapeseed oil and the milk with oat milk, organic cheese or no cheese, but it all works the same. I use Marigold Swiss organic vegetable bouillon powder vegan (doesn’t contain milk) it is perfect stock in all dishes even if I am cooking meat. I also use Season’s all in a lot of dishes for easy seasoning.
Spud is pictured below. A long story about our attempts to raise our own meat and ending up with 14 pet sheep (for another post). Spud was born this year to an old ewe we acquired from the farm next door (Doris), we didn’t know that she was pregnant then out popped Spud. Doris didn’t have milk so we bottle raised him. Hence he is so tame and happy to wear sun glasses!