As a vegetarian, whenever I have to use minced meat I use minced quorn.

But quorn does not add any flavour to dishes, only texture. What are the best "base spices" to add to the quorn when using it in any dish, for example spaghetti sauce?

  • Do you want to narrow down the question so that it is not so overly broad? Basically, the question can be answered with any number of spices or herbs and there's no particularly right, or wrong, answer. It appears you are concerned that, whereas meat adds its own flavor, quorn adds none and somehow displaces or dilutes existing flavors? – mfg Dec 14 '11 at 18:05
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    Are you trying to make your dishes taste like they have meat in them? If not, there's no harm in having ingredients for texture only. – Cascabel Dec 14 '11 at 18:05
  • For tips on improving this question and getting it reopened, please refer to our "What can I add to X" meta discussion which explains the appropriate level of detail expected. – Aaronut Dec 21 '11 at 16:40

Simple answer: I would recommend using whatever herbs or spices you would use if you made the same dish with meat. So, for a Bolognese sauce, I would pick thyme and bay, for an "alla vodka" sauce, basil and garlic, and for Marinara, oregano and peppercorn. Given that the underlying product (quorn) has virtually no flavor of its own -- or, to the extent it does, it is not a flavor I personally would seek to highlight -- I would not worry about which herb or spice best complements it.

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To add depth of flavour to Quorn mince, I fry the Quorn mince for a few minutes or until browned, and then add small quantities of vegetable stock, allowing it the stock to be absorbed or boil off between each addition. This bulks up the mince somewhat and flavours the mince before continuing to add other ingredients as per whatever recipe you're attempting.

I do this for quorn mince when making spaghetti sauce and lasagne.

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I have found liquid smoke great for enhancing the "meaty" flavors of various vegetarian dishes that would normally contain meat. Perhaps add some shiitake mushrooms, as well, to provide more umami flavor.

Beyond that, I'd probably go for garlic and oregano in a spaghetti sauce.

In a more general sense, as Bruce said, try to use herbs or spices that would normally go into a traditional version of the particular thing that you're making.

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