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A veggie meal your whole family will love.
As promised in my Ten Green Tips post, today I am sharing with you the wonderful “secret” of texturized vegetable protein (known as tvp) and a simple and yummy taco recipe! If you are going to attempt to go veggie once a week, you couldn’t have a better option than using tvp in recipes that call for ground beef.
First order of business, just what exactly is tvp? According to Wikipedia, tvp is “is a meat substitute made from defatted soy flour, a by-product of making soybean oil. It is quick to cook, high in protein, and low in fat.” You can buy it dry in bulk at all health food stores and co-ops (not the type we’re working with today) or find it in most grocery stores in a wet format that looks (and if seasoned well, tastes) a lot like ground beef. My favorites include the Morning Star Grillers Crumbles (normally in the frozen food near the breakfast items) and the Yves Veggie Cuisine Ground Round (check in the health food aisle or the refrigerated area in the produce section).
Both brands come in packages that are equivalent to one pound of browned ground beef. Cooking time is just minutes and your whole family will benefit from a lower calorie, less fat alternative to beef. I’ve used tvp to make Shepherd’s pie, chili, spaghetti and meatballs and more and have never had a complaint from my carnivorous friends.
The necessary ingredients for your basic tacos are:
A few drops of olive oil
1 package TVP Ground Beef
1 white onion – finely chopped
¼ cup Water
1 package taco seasoning
5-6 medium size Roma tomatoes – chopped
Use a medium sized skillet over a medium flame and heat up the oil. When ready, add in the diced onions. Wait until onions are soft and browned and then add in the tvp. Warning: this can be a bit messy and the oil is hot – so be careful. Break up and stir the tvp until it looks like your normal ground beef. TVP cooks quickly (and you do not want to overcook it) so give this just a minute until the tvp is warm but not hot to the touch. Now, add in the contents of a taco seasoning pack and the necessary water. Stir well and bring water to a boil. Then lower the burner slightly and cook until the water evaporates. I like to add in the chopped tomatoes just minutes before I serve the meal, so that they stay red and plump.
That’s it! You can serve these in heated taco shells and let your family put on all the fixings. We like more chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and fat-free yogurt (instead of sour cream) at my house. Oh, and a little bit of shredded cheese never hurt anything! If I want to avoid the calories in the taco shells, sometimes I will make some brown rice and black beans and stir it all together into a Mexican rice bowl – yum!
Best of all, this simple recipe has thrilled kids of all ages as well as “meat and potatoes” men. If you don’t tell them they’re eating veggie, they may not even notice! Bon appétit !