This chili recipe uses textured vegetable protein or TVP, which sounds about as appetizing as constituted wood chips, dried pellet fillers, or fireplace ash byproduct, all of which I made up.
I did NOT make up TVP, though, and it’s a real thing!
TVP is made from defatted soy flour that has been cooked under pressure and then dried. It’s really a byproduct of the process by which soybean oil is extracted from the soybean. Vegans and other people use it to amp up the protein in a recipe or simply to stand in for meat. Some people think, mainly due to the processing involved, this is a terrible product, and other people think it’s a healthy alternative to meat. I suppose I lean toward the latter opinion, but I use it sparingly. This is only because I find my whole food, plant-based diet interesting and protein-packed enough as it is. I don’t think about meat or meat substitutes all that much.
Only sometimes I like to recreate an “old” recipe, the kind I used to eat as a carnivore. I guess you could say I use it for nostalgic purposes.
Dried, out of the bag, TVP looks like this:
It’s hard and dry. To reconstitute the soy, you simply soak the TVP in hot water for several minutes. Then, the texture is more like ground beef, but without the flavor. TVP takes on the flavors of whatever recipe you are cooking. In this case, chili!
- 2 cups hot water (for reconstituting the TVP)
- 1 cup TVP
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons water (for cooking the vegetables)
- ½ large onion, chopped
- ½ green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, de-seeded and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
- 1 can white cannellini beans
- Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
- In a large bowl, pour hot water over the TVP flakes and mix in the tomato paste. Set aside.
- Heat a large Dutch oven, add the 2 tablespoons of water. Saute the onions, peppers, and garlic for a few minutes.
- Into the TVP mixture, sprinkle seasonings and stir with fork. Add TVP to the vegetable mixture, cook for a few minutes. Stir in tomatoes.
- Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add more water as you go along if you want a less chunky chili. Taste and add salt if needed (optional).
- Add cilantro for garnish (optional).
Sigh! It’s kind of just like the old days!