A few months ago, my wife started bugging me about cutting some of the meat from our diet. Inspired by her parents, who recently decided to embark down the vegan path, she persisted with her bugging, as wives do (smile). I've become increasingly concerned with my own health, with the everyday stresses of family life and work, always on the go. My wife more so. I began to research something called TVP®, Textured Vegetable Protein. The local grocery stores don't carry it, but my wife found it at a nearby nutrition stored called Country Nutrition in Waldorf, Maryland.
If you're not familiar with TVP®, according to HealthRecipes.com, "TVP® is also known as textured soy protein, TVP® is not tofu. It is, however, made from soy. TVP® comes from defatted soy flour, which is a by-product of soybean oil, so it is plentiful in supply. It’s also quick to cook and a great source of vegetable protein without all the fat." In essence, TVP® is a meat replacement.
The cost of TVP® is less that $3.00 for a 10oz bag, and you get the equivalent of 3-4 lbs of ground beef. It can also be purchased larger quantity, with additional savings. For me that is very economical for my family budget, on top of the health benefits.
I was skeptical, being a meat and potatoes kinda' person. So I tried it. I decided to use TVP® instead of ground beef in a dish commonly known as Hamburger Casserole or Tater Tot Casserole. This is a very common and popular recipe, the only difference is you will be substituting TVP® for real meat.
Before I get into the particulars of the recipe, I am cooking for 5 adults and a toddler, and leftovers, so will need to adjust the amounts for the number people you are cooking for.
I use a rectangular 4.8 quart glass pan. You will need to use a baking pan appropriate for how much you are cooking.
1 large can of Cream of Chicken soup
1 large can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1 small can of Cream of Broccoli soup
1 small can of Cream of Celery soup
2 cups of dry TVP®
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup of frozen of fresh broccoli
1 medium bag of tater tots
1 bag of shredded cheese
1. Preheat oven according to direction for cooking the tater tots. This is probably 350-400 degrees.
2. In a frying pan or sauce pan, add TVP® and water. Cook on high for a few minutes to reconstitute the TVP®. You can season it like you would ground beef. I like to use Garlic Pepper. The TVP® will NOT look exactly like ground meat.
3. Once the TVP® is reconstituted, pour it into the pan.
4. Add the soups and broccoli to TVP®, stir.
5. Layer with shredded cheese.
6. On top of the cheese, layer with tater tots.
7. Cook about 30 minutes, until tater tots are done.
You can substitute the soup flavors according to your taste.
Other variations include using green beans or peas instead of broccoli and/or celery soups.
To reduce fat, use fat-free shredded cheese or eliminate cheese.
Honestly, you can't go wrong with this recipe as long as you use ingredients you and your family enjoy.
Picture courtesy of kidscooking.about.com
* - TVP - (R) Registered trademark of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).