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According to a Burger King spokesperson: “[The Impossible Whopper has] become one of the most successful product launches in brand history, leading to outstanding comparable sales of positive five percent this past quarter.”

Plant-based eating has not only improved exponentially over the years, it is becoming widely acceptable and even moving into mainstream culture.

Texturized vegetable protein (TVP), also known as soy protein, has quickly become one of the most versatile meat substitutes with which to cook. A complete protein and rendering 15% of our daily iron with zero fat or cholesterol, TVP is made from dried, de-fatted soy flour and is easy on the budget at a third the cost of ground beef.

Not sold yet?

Once rehydrated, the cereal-like chunks expand and take on the texture of ground beef. This means the sky is the limit when deciding in which dishes it will be utilized. Burgers, tacos, sloppy joes, chili, spaghetti sauce, vegan sausage and casseroles are just a few for your list.

The rehydration ratio of TVP is 1:1 using water, and 1 to 7/8 c. using broth or milk. After adding hot liquid, let it sit for 5–10 minutes. 2 cups of TVP will serve 2–4. Keep in mind that rehydrated TVP doesn’t keep well so be sure to hydrate right before use.

Now your TVP is ready to be added to your favorite dish. Remember that any recipe already yielding a sauce or broth means that the vegetable protein can be added directly to the pot, which will save a step and guarantee it will be fully saturated with the flavor of your choosing.

Season TVP exactly how you would any animal product or buy flavored soy curls for convenience. It can even be used in oatmeal. Hydrate flakes or granules with coconut or almond milk, then add cinnamon, peanut butter, flax and chia seeds to serve up a heart healthy alternative to oats with three times the protein to start the day! Then freeze the leftovers for easy reheating on rushed mornings throughout the week.

A few tips:

  • Store leftovers in airtight container and be sure to use within 3–4 days.
  • Those steering clear of gluten will be happy to learn this product is naturally gluten-free, however be sure to double check where it is processed to avoid cross-contamination.
  • The shelf life of dry TVP, once opened, is 6–12 months. In an airtight container, never opened, it can keep up to 20 years in cool, dry conditions. The longevity of this inexpensive staple will inspire you to stock up and buy in bulk.

So get creative! Once you get beyond the mystery, you will find that this adaptable pleaser quickly becomes a favorite go-to for any favorite dish.

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Here is a healthy version of Sloppy Joes to entice summer to stick around while making the whole family smile!

Stellar Sloppy Joe

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Ingredients:

1 cup TVP flakes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced (extra sliced to serve )

3–4 cloves or garlic (about 2 tbsp)

1 red bell pepper, diced

15 oz can of tomato sauce (one that is seasoned)

1/4 cup ketchup (we like the no sugar added variety)

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp liquid smoke

2 tsp of sloppy joe seasoning (or 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, and a pinch of smoked paprika)

Serve:

Serve on toasted bun with onions! Add some chips and cucumbers (or pickles) for picnic inspiration!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Rehydrate TVP in vegetable broth.

2. Sautee TVP, adding in onion, garlic, and pepper in olive oil or veggie broth over medium heat.

3. Cook for 5 min then add the tomato sauce, maple syrup, and all the seasonings, ketchup, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce etc.

4. Cook until all is combined well and mixture has thickened. Add extra seasoning if desired.

5. Serve on toasted buns.

Will keep in fridge for 4–5 days. If needed add a little broth when re-heating if too thick.

Makes about 4 servings

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