Cooking with TVP

Oh TVP, what the hell are you? Most vegetarians, vegans, and maybe even a few omnivores have heard of TVP, but many many more are very confused as to what it is. TVP stands for Textured Vegetable Protein. If you've ever purchased fake bacon bits, they are made of TVP. Vegans from way back used TVP as a meat replacement, but as modernity has hit us, so has better alternatives for replacing meat in the meatless diet. The reason for this is that TVP can be very boring, and, if not cooked correctly, not very tasty.

I am in the camp, however, that TVP is a great staple to have around. It can mimic ground meat easily, is incredibly cheap (Bob's Red Mill makes it, and if you have a Natural Grocers near you, they have it cheap in their bulk section), and stores indefinitely. The trick is knowing how to work with it. Well, never fear! I'm here to help.

I use TVP as "meat" for spaghetti sauce, taco filling, biscuits & gravy, and a host of other things. So here's what you do.

Basic TVP "Meat Crumbles" Recipe

1 c. TVP granules
4 T. soy sauce (tamari or Bragg's works the same)
1 t. liquid smoke
1 1/2 T. coconut oil
1 t. pepper
1 c. boiling water

Put your water to boil on the stove. While that is working, put all the other ingredients (except the TVP) into a small bowl. When the water is boiling, add it and the TVP to the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and let sit for 10-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed, and the granules are tender.

That's it! That's your basic recipe, and it equals roughly one pound of meat.  Now, here's how you go specific:

Italian Style TVP Crumbles

Add 1 t. each of granulated onion, paprika, along with 2 t. granulated garlic and 1 T. of Italian Seasoning to the "Meat Crumbles" recipe. Add to already cooked sauce.

Taco Style TVP Crumbles

Add 3-4 T. Mexican-style seasoning (or one packet of taco seasoning) to the "Meat Crumbles" recipe. Fry lightly in some oil and make your burritos, enchiladas, tacos, etc. If you add some to the Cheese Sauce recipe, posted in the recipes section here on my blog, along with some salsa, you have some nacho cheese dip for sinking some tortilla chips into. 

Sausage Style TVP Crumbles

This is perfect for pizza topping or biscuits & gravy. Add 1 t. each of rubbed sage, granulated garlic, granulated onion, red pepper flake, basil, and pepper, plus 2 T. of fennel seeds that you crack open with the back of a spoon. Fry lightly in oil and add to already cooked roux for biscuits and gravy, or put on pizza. 

If you want sausage patties, add a flax egg (3 T. water and 1 T. ground flax) and 1/4 c. to 1/3 c. of flour, and form into patties. Either fry in oil until brown on both sides, or bake in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes per side.

I hope that helps solve your TVP dilemma, or at least inspire you to give TVP a try. My pantry wouldn't be complete without it!


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