Saturday, February 24, 2007

TVP: A Vegan Stir Fry

Our son Jeffrey is here for several weeks painting our walls and trim and laying tile in the kitchen and bath. In deference to his eating lifestyle, I'm cooking vegan while he's here, a realm of cooking about which I know very little.

Take TVP, or textured vegetable protein. TVP is made from de-fatted soy flour, a by-product of the process of making soybean oil. It's used in place of meat to add needed protein to an otherwise protein-slim diet for vegans and vegetarians.

According to Health Recipes DOT com, a 43-gram serving of TVP contains 120 calories and 21 grams of protein and hardly any fat (less than 1 gram). Compare that to tofu which has 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 90 calories per 85-gram serving.

Although I just had to jump in, go for it, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-because-I-really-didn't-know-what-I-was-doing, Jeffrey liked what I did with this.

TVP Stir Fry Over Steamed Rice Medley
Christine's orginal recipe
Ingredients:
2 heaping cups TVP strips
3/4 cup organic vegetable broth
1/2 of a medium sweet onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon (heaping) dried thyme, crushed between your fingers
1/2 teaspoon 10-yr old balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon (about) Meyer lemon juice
olive oil
Earth Balance
kosher salt
freshly ground tellicherry peppercorns, or other good black peppercorns

Preparation:
Bring the vegetable broth to just under a boil then add the TVP and stir to moisten.

Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and allow to sit until the TVP has absorbed all the liquid, is fluffy and very moist. Set aside.
In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in a combination of olive oil and Earth Balance, about 1-2 teaspoons each, until the onion is soft.
Add the ginger and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Add the bell pepper and stir 2 minutes more.
Add the minced garlic, thyme, and vinegar and stir until the garlic is softly cooked and aromatic.
Add the TVP along with any small amount of liquid remaining in the pan and heat gently, stirring until the TVP is hot and fully incorporated into the saute.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Adjust the taste with kosher salt and generous grindings of good black peppercorns such as Tellicherry.

My use of TVP, which comes from soy, which is a plant, qualifies this post for Weekend Herb Blogging. WHB began when Kalyn... well, you can read the entire story here. This is one of the longest running food blogging events I know of. Food bloggers from all over the planet join in each week, posting about their favorite herb, vegetable, plant or derivatives thereof. This week WHB is being hosted by Anna of Anna's Cool Finds. Check it out on Monday morning!

Cook's Notes:
Along with the rice medley, which I get at Trader Joe's, I roasted an organic butternut squash and made a green salad with roasted red beets to serve along side. Pretty darned healthy, and pretty darned good, even for this avowed meat-eater.
Because the TVP is a very bland product, you may find you need to add up to a teaspoon of kosher salt to bring out the flavors.
Please forgive the pinkish-yellow closeup photo. I took it last night in low light.