TVP Chili

“What the heck is TVP?” Direct quote from my mother.  Yes, it sounds more like an ingredient in fixing car engines and less like a vegan protein source.  The only ingredient listed on the package (I use Bob’s Red Mill) is “defatted soy flour.”  The jury is out on whether this is a healthy product or not.  I like it because of its high protein, fiber content, and chewy texture. Some argue that it is highly processed, lacks nutritional value, and should be left alone. I’ll let you make up your own mind.  If you’re interested in learning more, Google it. For now, I’ll treat it as a processed product that I’m ok eating now and then as an easy meat substitute.

Ok that being said… Let’s get down to this chili!  I was inspired by the recipe on the bag of TVP and decided to give it a few tweaks and try it out!

Texturized Vegetable Protein. Friend or foe, you decide.

Texturized Vegetable Protein. Friend or foe, you decide.

After prepping and chopping all my veggies and gathering ingredients, it was time to play with this new ingredient.  In order to use the TVP, you have to rehydrate it.  It comes in dry, hard little pellets that smelled a bit like a grain or flour, a bit nutty, a bit sweet.  Rehydrating is where the flavor infusion occurs.  I threw it in a bowl, dolloped some ketchup on top, and poured boiling water overtop per the bag instruction.  Immediately, it started to soak up and disappear into the TVP and it almost resembled the cooking of quick oats.  After letting it soak, the spices go in- I included a picture of this step because it looks like a LOT.  You’re going to think you’re overdoing it, but consider that this is where all of the spices for the entire pot of soup come from.  Don’t be shy about really dumping it in.  Once that’s been seasoned and fluffed with a fork, this looks a lot like you run-of-the-mill chili recipe.

Dry TVP with big blogs of ketchup ready to be rehydrated.

Dry TVP with big blobs of ketchup ready to be rehydrated.

After the boiling water was dumped over.

After the boiling water was dumped over.

Told you it looks like a lot of spices….

Told you it looks like a lot of spices….

Once mixed and fluffed it takes on the texture and flavor of ground beef!.. Almost.

Once mixed and fluffed it takes on the texture and flavor of ground beef!.. Almost.

Get the veggies sautéing in a large pot or dutch oven to cook them down.  Once the onions are translucent, just dump everything else in!  Then pop the lid on and simmer it for about 30-45 minutes.  Stir in the frozen corn and cook for about 15 minutes more or until the corn is cooked through.  That’s it!  This makes about 16 cups of chili which is  TON, so I recommend freezing half if you don’t think you can eat it all in a week. I somehow managed to devour all of it.  But you might not be a crazy soup fanatic like myself.

TVP may not be a perfectly whole, unprocessed food but in my opinion, it beats ground beef in the health department any day!  Plus it’s delicious, chewy, and easy to work with!  Win win win!

Finished product served up with my favorite multigrain chips!

Finished product served up with my favorite multigrain chips!

TVP Chili
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 16
TVP acts as a substitute for ground beef in this hearty, yet super low-fat, chili!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups TVP (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 Tbs ketchup
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalepeño, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs chili powder
  • 2 Tbs cumin
  • 2 Tbs ground oregano
  • 1/2 Tbs Adobo seasoning, optional
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 15oz can dark red kidney beans, not drained
  • 1 15oz can low sodium black beans, not drained
  • 4 14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1-2 cups water, depending on desired consistency
Instructions
  1. Add TVP and ketchup to a bowl and pour two cups of boiling water over. Let soak 5-10 minutes then fluff with a fork.
  2. Add spices to TVP mixture and mix well.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add onion, peppers, and garlic. Stir for about 4-5 minutes, until onions are mostly cooked.
  4. Add TVP mixture to pot and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add beans, tomatoes, and water and simmer covered for 45 minutes.
  6. Add corn and stir, then simmer another 15 minutes until corn is heated through.
  7. Serve in bowl with chips or crackers. Enjoy!
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 150 Fat: 1.2g Carbohydrates: 24g Sugar: 7g Sodium: 250mg Fiber: 8g Protein: 11g Cholesterol: 0

 

Thanks for reading! Enjoy!

Homemade Veggie Stock

*This post was originally posted 1-10-14 and has been transferred from my old blog to this new one!*

This has been a weird week.  I was all freaked out for the start of the semester on Sunday and did a serious amount of anxious problem-avoiding.  AKA I chopped veggies, washed grapes, measured, bagged, cleaned, messed, cleaned, messed, cleaned…  Instead of organizing my things for the semester.  Lucky for me, classes were cancelled Monday AND Tuesday.  Literally, this never happens at Ohio State.  Thank youuuu Polar Vortex.  So, needless to say, this busybody had a lot of time on her hands.  Of course I decided to cook.  Nothing makes me more relaxed and happy than cooking.  Except the eating that follows the cooking.  So I ventured out and did a little homemade experimenting…

I have been collecting all of my vegetable scraps from my daily chopping, peeling, and cleaning and tossing them into a huge freezer bag for a few weeks.  It is seriously just as easy as throwing them away but way less wasteful!  Well, after my panic-induced frenzy on Sunday, it was bursting at the seams and begging to be used up.  So I dumped all the potato skins, carrot peels, celery leaves, spinach stems, wilted herbs, onion skins, garlic bits, asparagus stalks, and eggplant scraps into a pot and started making some homemade vegetable stock!  I had about 10 cups of scraps total (That’s a lot.  You can do this with significantly less.) so I used our mega-sized (12-quarts? I’m not sure…) pot and got it heated over medium.  While I was tempted to just dump on the water, close the lid, and let the magic happen, I decided to “sweat” the veggies for a bit.  I sprinkled them with some sea salt and fresh pepper and just let them thaw and cook out a little. This released a lot of the flavors from them, especially the onions and celery.  Once I could really smell some of the veggies starting to release their flavors, I dumped in the water, a bay leaf and some whole peppercorns.  It took about 20 cups of water to cover all the veggies enough that I could stir them up a bit while they cooked.  It took a long time for this to come to even a small boil.  I stared at this big-ass pot for at least 20 minutes- probably why it didn’t want to boil!- before I started seeing consistent bubbles.  Once that happened I popped on the lid and let it simmer for the length of an episode of Law and Order, about an hour.  Then I used a slotted spoon to pull out the big pieces and put them in the blender (you’ll see why in a bit).  After that, I poured the liquid through a colander lined with cheesecloth into a bowl and TA-DA!  Rich, homemade, chemical-free vegetable broth!  To store it, I divided the liquid into 1-quart freezer bags and set them between cookie trays on the porch to freeze.  Mr. Polar Vortex froze them in no time and the cookie sheets gave them flat bottoms and tops so they stack easily in my freezer!
In case you were wondering what I did with the soggy veggies and the blender…. They got wizzed on high for a few minutes with a good bit more salt to make veggie stock concentrate “packets”.  Ever bought those “Knorr homestyle stock” cups that you drop in the water and voila, there’s stock?  Ever wondered what on earth it was?  Yeah, me too.  Well no more wondering over here, I have my own!  I froze them in a mini muffin tin lined with sheets of Press-n-Seal freezer paper and they’re individually sectioned off and ready to use!
WARNING: It looks like poop.  Like greenish nasty baby poop.  It tastes a lot better.

This is a tough recipe to write because I literally had just a mess of scraps from a huge variety of vegetables but this is what I would recommend as a guideline.  Play around with the spices as you desire and use as much or little salt as you want- the great part is that you get to control your own sodium levels!  And any vegetables will do!  You’ll get a different color and slightly different flavor every time but that’s the fun of experimenting!

Happy Homemade!

Homemade Veggie Stock
Recipe Type: Soup
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
An easy vegetable stock using just the scraps you’d throw away anyways!
Ingredients
  • 5 cups mixed chopped vegetables or scraps
  • 10 cups filtered water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs whole peppercorns
  • 1-3 Tbs salt (Pink Himalayan was my choice)
  • 1-2 tsp other seasonings of choice
Instructions
  1. Add all the veggies to a large stock pot over medium and allow to “sweat” but not quite cook, for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add all other ingredients and stir.
  3. Cover pot and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally and adding seasonings and salt to taste.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Drain liquid into a bowl through a colander lined with a cheesecloth or clean dish rag.
  5. Package broth in freezer bags, cans, or jars and store up to 3 months in the freezer, one week in the fridge.
Serving size: 1 cup

 

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