Sunday, July 27, 2008

TSP or TVP...either way, gotta say not bad.

Whether you call it TSP (textured soy protein) or TVP (textured vegetable protein), it doesn't change the fact that the stuff is versatile, easy to use, and, when cooked right, down right tasty.

While at Good Earth Natural Foods a few weeks ago, I was walking through their bulk foods room (where, I might add, you can buy Irish oats, granolas, dried fruits, sweeteners, and flours of every variety at a fraction of the cost of boxed brands) when I spied bags of TSP chunks for a mere 96¢ per bag (about 2.5 cups, raw). Of course, being a flexitarian (90% vegetarian), I am on a constant search for cheap, flexible, and useful sources of protein. Tofu is great, as are beans, lentils, and the like, but more options is always better, thus I grabbed a bag. and went to making a pot of TSP and veggie stew.

The chunks, when raw, were about a half inch or so in size, and wad the texture of remarkably hard croutons, and the just discernible flavor of plain soynuts. Actually, if they could make a less dense version, you could probably use it as a high protein substitute for croutons, hmm...but I digress. As I cooked the TSP in the stew, they softened and took on the texture of a sponge. But...after 45 or 50 minutes of cooking, they did indeed firm-up and have a tender, beefy texture. As for flavor, like tofu, TSP tastes like whatever you cook it with, or use to marinate it, so there are a lot of options. You can let your imagination go wild!

HAve you used TSP/TVP before? Any interesting ideas or recipes? Give us a hollar and post 'em up in the comments!

Hearty Vegetable Stew

1 (16 oz.) bag frozen vegetables for stew
1 (14.5 oz.) can vegetable stock
2 (15 oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups water
2 cups textured soy protein chunks
1 Tbs minced dried onion
2 Tbs each of Worcestershire sauce
pepper, salt, oregano and garlic to taste

Combine all ingredients in a dutch oven or stock pot (3 quart size). Stir well and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes, or until textured soy protein chunks are tender.

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