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I’m Mari.
On Marivelous Me! you’ll find recipes, food gifts, food I’ve traveled for and food solutions. Poke around, maybe you’ll find inspiration for something you’re working on. Enjoy! 

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Tuesday
Oct022012

textured vegetable protein aka dried awesomeness

When looking for low-carb grain options in the bulk section at Whole Foods, I came across this item. What is this 'textured vegetable protein' shtuff? Never heard of it AND it sounds very unappetizing. I'm sure to you vegetarians and vegans out there, it's old hat but to someone that normally seeks their protein from animals, this was a new one. Basically, it's made up of dehydrated soybeans that have been defatted, cooked under pressure and dehydrated. It's low in calorie, fat and carbs; high in protein AND it's gluten free. Go figure. For a dollar, I figured I could give it a whirl.

The basic recipe's pretty simple: for every cup of textured vegetable protein (TVP), you add 3/4 - 7/8 cups liquid. That's it. You could use water to keep it as low in calorie, fat and carbs as the TVP itself or you could add broth, which makes it taste that much better. I'd start off with less liquid and add more as necessary since you could add moisture with the other ingredients you add to it; you don't want it too soupy or soggy to start. One cup dry TVP is considered 4 servings. 

In the version above, I rehydrated the TVP using chicken broth; added a scallion (sliced) and fresh peas from Trader Joe's. Microwaved it for 1 minute (to cook the peas a touch) and added zest and juice from a small lemon, 1 minced garlic clove and some toasted pine nuts. Drizzled it with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled on some sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. That's it! A super fast side dish. Use it as you would any grain. A few add-in suggestions:

  • sliced sundried tomatoes
  • sliced mushrooms and diced green peppers
  • crumbled bacon and blue cheese
  • parsley, lemon zest and parmesan
  • chopped spinach and crumbled feta
  • cooked chicken, vegetables and soy sauce
  • roasted garlic and gravy to top it!

It's endless! It's a much healthier option than a bread stuffing too! I used it for a stuffed pork tenderloin recipe, which I'll post later this week. 

The Whole Foods on Union Square stopped carrying it in bulk but they still carry one from Bob's Red Mill. I don't like Bob's as much (tastes pretty soy bean-y) but when mixed with other ingredients, you don't notice the soy flavor as much. I still wish there was a better commercial name for it though. Dried Awesomeness, maybe? 

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