Tips for Cooking with TVP, and TVP taco soup

Caveat: I wrote this several years ago in reply to somebody asking, “What do you do with TVP?” I no longer cook with TVP except on the rare occasion somebody gives us some. It’s not a real food. It is, however, a cheap ingredient, and if you need to drastically lash your budget, then maybe this will be useful.

I find we like the TVP much better if I saute it _before_ I reconstitute it. I brown it in a little oil and whatever extra flavoring will go with the recipe- onions, veggie bouillon, soy sauce, garlic- the possiblities really are endless.

When it’s good and golden brown, then I reconstitute it with liquid- and the liquid can be just about anything you like.

We had some delicious stuffed onions on a camping trip using TVP reconstituted with white grape juice. I mixed that up with cheese, bread crumbs and so forth and stuffed the onions and baked them.

That’s another cool think about TVP- it’s lightweight and keeps forever, so it’s a great camping food.

You can mix the toasted, reconstituted TVP with some tomato paste, mustard and hot sauce and whatever herbs and spices you like and spread it over bread. Then toast it under the broiler.

You can brown the TVP in bacon grease and then mix it with a little tomato sauce, onion, chiles and refried beans for delicious burritoes. My dh, who says he hates the stuff, complimented me on the burritoes and then refused to believe me when I said they were made with TVP.

The stuff is so versatile, you can even brown it with a sweetener (honey, maple syrup?) and some oil and then have it for a dessert topping.

I’ve also had it in breakfast cereal. The lady who made it cooked it overnight in her crockpot along with oat groats, millet and some other grain. She said they found that when they add TVP her children are not hungry quite so soon afterward as they were formerly.

To do this she did not saute the TVP first- she just dumped all the ingredients in the crockpot and added water.

We had some in a taco soup today and it received rave reviews from all my children.
I browned it first, with onions and peppers and something like Kitchen Bouquet. Then I added cracked wheat, frozen corn, cooked brown rice, garlic, celery, chili powder, oregano, cumin and several cans of diced tomatoes, cooked black beans and cooked anasazi beans and a little liquid to thin it out.
This was deliciously hearty soup. You could top with cheese, but we didn’t.

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