Thursday, March 06, 2008

Cheap Eats: TVP (and a recipe for TVP Gyros)

TVP is textured vegetable protein made from defatted flour. It's ridiculously inexpensive bought in bulk in supermarkets or health food stores (e.g. I pay around $1.00 for 2-3 cups of the chunks from the local health food store's bulk bin). It's quick to cook and is usually used as a meat substitute. It comes in granular form or a variety of chunk-like shapes. Usually tasteless by itself, it will readily absorb the flavour of whatever liquids and seasonings are used to rehydrate it.

It's loved and used by vegans, as well as by people interested in frugal living. It's light and stores well, and is also sometimes used by campers and backpackers because of this.

The granular form is fantastic in chili, Sloppy Joes, tacos, cabbage rolls -- anywhere you'd use crumbly hamburger in that sort of way. The chunks are great in stews and casseroles. A quick Google search will bring up all kinds of recipe ideas. For example, you can find a bunch here, including instructions on ratios to follow to substitute the granular form of it for hamburger. One of my favourites is
is a recipe adapted from Dorothy R. Bates' TVP Cookbook. I've made it for omnivorous friends and they've liked it as much as I have.


Soak for 10 minutes:

1 cup TVP chunks or slices
1 Tbs ketchup
1 cup boiling water

Cover tightly and nuke in a microwave on high for 5 minutes. Check to see if tender and then chill in refrigerator.

Mix the following ingredients for the marinade / dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs red or white wine vinegar
1 tsp each basil and oregano
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix marinade with the cooked, drained and chilled TVP for a few hours. You can also increase the amount of marinade and let the TVP marinate overnight.

Get the veggies ready:

1 large tomato, diced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
2 Tbs fresh mint leaves, chopped or 1-2 tsp dried mint (fresh is better)
3 cups lettuce, shredded

You'll need:

Six (6) pita breads, cut in half (you can warm these in the oven in advance if you prefer). Toss the veggies w/ the TVP and fill the pita pockets. I usually opt to cut a pita bread and tuck one half inside the other to make a stronger bread. Alteratively, I also like to take a whole pita bread and treat it like a wrap (i.e. the way pita is usually wrapped around donair meat in the Maritimes), securing it with aluminum foil or waxed paper to hold it together and to keep it from dripping. If you fill half-pockets, you'll get 12 gyros, and if you use either of the other two methods, you'll get 6.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this recipe.


M said...

You're welcome! Sorry that I didn't respond sooner. I'm just seeing this now.