Ok so I decided it was time to leave the seafood alone and try my culinary skills in making true vegetarian food! So yesterday I went and visited my local health food shop and came home with a bag of TVP (or textured vegetable protein) which is essentially just hyrdolised soy flour. Once I got home I then had to decide what the hell I was going to do with it and this is what I came up with…TVP chilli con “carne”!
Sounds interesting right? So basically TVP can me used a vegetarian replacement for just about any meal containing mince (beef, chicken or pork). The trick with using TVP however, is to make sure you use it in conjunction with plenty of other strong flavours, as it is pretty bland on its own! I think this product is fantastic as it allows veggos to enjoy some of the same tasty dishes of their meat loving counterparts but without the meat! oh and did i mention a huge bag which would last you for weeks only costs $6!!!! When comparing this to the amount I would spend on meat and seafood each week…well there really is no comparison from a financial perspective! TVP is also almost fat free so is a great, healthy alternative to meat every now and then if you are looking for ways to cut down on your calorie intake!
So how did my invention turn out you ask? Well I am proud to say that this dish won approval from two of my male roommates who just so happen to be very strong meat advocates and were extremely skeptical of my “meat free” invention! That is until they tried it of course! So here it is..one delicious meat free meal that can be whipped up in minutes!
TVP chilli con carne with crunchy potato skins: (Serves 4 people)
1 cup dry TVP
1 cup vegetable stock
1 brown onion (diced)
3 large cloves garlic (crushed)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp mexican chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 red capsicum (chopped)
1 large carrot (diced)
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1 tin kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1 fresh tomato (chopped)
1/4 cup tomato paste (salt reduced)
1/2 cup tinned/fresh corn
2 spring onions (sliced)
4 large washed nadine potatoes (or any large variety you like)
salt and pepper
dried mixed herbs
1/4 cup fat free natural yoghurt
1/4 cup grated low fat cheese
What to do….
Boil your vegetable stock then add to a bowl containing the TVP, cover and set aside to rehydrate.
For the potato skins, cut the potatoes in half and cook in the microwave for approx 8mins, or until soft. Set aside to cool until you can handle them. Once they have cooled down grab a spoon and scoop out the centre of the potatoes, leaving about 0.5cm around the edges. Place the skins on a lined baking tray and then sprinkle them with olive oil, the mixed herbs and salt and pepper. Put them in a moderately high oven (180 – 200 degrees) for 10-15mins or until slightly crisp and golden on the outside. You may want to turn them over about half way through so they become crispy and delicious all over!
Meanwhile, heat a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan and saute the chopped onion, chilli and garlic until onion is translucent. (HINT: add your garlic last and don’t have the heat up too high or it will burn and become bitter!). Next add your carrots and capsicum, then once they are cooked, add your your spices and cook for 1-2 mins. Then add the tinned/fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, beans and corn.
Drain the TVP and squeeze out any excess fluid before adding to the frypan with all the other ingredients and allow it to simmer over medium heat for 5 or so mins.
Grate your cheese and then you are ready to assemble this veggo masterpiece to your liking! Enjoy!