Friday, May 2, 2008

Oh, My TVP-15!

In my ongoing effort to include at least one vegetarian dinner a week in the menu rotation, I decided to prepare a sure-fire classic, Taco Dip with Miracle Mexican Filling, with TVP instead of ground meat. I had heard about TVP, textured vegetable protein, for years as being a decent substitute for meat since it has a similar chewy texture. At our local Ocean State Job Lot, they sell Bob's Red Mill products at a good discount, so I was able to pick up several bags of TVP on the cheap.

Miracle Mexican filling is an all-purpose Mexican flavored stew that can be served in many ways: straight up, wrapped in a burrito or taco, or scooped up with chips. Make a bunch of it and freeze some for later.

I didn't say anything when I served the meal. My husband Mike pronounced it "delish" and went back for second helpings. They boys kind of pushed it from one side of their bowls to the other, but they're in a "we hate everything" phase right now, so it was to be expected. When I spilled the beans about dinner to Mike, he told me he'd suspected it wasn't meat, but that it was really, really good!

I'm looking forward to incorporating TVP into another meal soon. Maybe the next time the boys will give it a try. Or not.

Taco Dip with Miracle Mexican Filling
Flour tortillas
Cooking spray

Cut the tortillas into wedges and put them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Spray them with cooking spray and toast them for about six minutes in an oven set on "broil," turning the chips over midway through cooking. Keep a close eye on the chips so they don't burn.

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1T vegetable oil (omit if using ground meat)
1 lb. ground meat, or 2 c. chopped cooked meat, or 2 c. TVP
1T ground cumin
1T ground coriander
2t Adobo seasoning
1 can beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chopped tomatoes, with juice
1 can tomato sauce
1 c. water or broth (if using TVP)
1 c. frozen or canned sweet corn

Chopped lettuce
Grated cheese
Sour cream
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped avocado or guacamole
Hot sauce

In a large skillet, sauté the onion, garlic, pepper in oil. If you're using ground meat, sauté that as well and omit the oil. When the vegetables are soft and the meat (if using) is cooked, add the spices and cook for one minute more. Add all remaining ingredients. If you're using TVP and the mixture seems dry, add some more water. Cook this for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

To serve Taco Dip, give each diner a bowl filled with MMF. Pass around the chips and toppings.