Monday, April 15, 2013

TVP and Veggie Fajitas


They're easy enough to make -- take some refried beans, warm 'em up, sautee some veggies, and you're done! Right?

But what if you want something a little more exciting. Something just slightly out-of-the-ordinary?

Then, my friends, I give you: TVP Fajitas (or Tacos)
My partner bought two giant bags of soya mince (TVP) a while back, and promptly realized he wasn't exactly sure how to use them. We were hungry one night, the computer was nearby, and we had a bunch of bell peppers on hand, so the idea came to us: a-ha!

What is TVP? I hate getting this question because the answer sounds so unappetizing, and I'm sorry about that. But trust me: TVP is really good. TVP, otherwise known as "textured vegetable protein," "textured soy protein," or "soy(a) mince," is basically dehydrated soy. It looks like small dusty pellets, and once rehydrated (with hot broth or with regular hot water), it can be made into ... just about anything. Add some flour and spices, and you have TVP Cutlets (a staple in my house). Add some tomato sauce and soy sauce, and you have a filling for delicious tacos and fajitas. Add some other things, and you can make sloppy joes. (I usually make my Joes with lentils, but I could be persuaded to change my mind).

We've stolen this recipe from about a dozen sources online, so I'm not going to credit any of them. It's basically the same as the Mince filling used in my Quesadillas recipe. Suffice it to say, we were not as original in our design as we'd like to believe ourselves to be. Lest I delay us any further, I give you:

TVP Fajitas (and/or Tacos)

serves however much you want to eat. It's so tasty that we usually have waaaaay too much in one night. But, typically lasts the two of us about 2 - 3 meals each = 4 - 6 servings.

2 Cups TVP
2 Cups hot water
1 - 2 bouillon cubes (vegetable broth)

1/4 - 1/2 of an onion, minced finely
1 - 2 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 - 2 tsp oregano or "mixed herbs"
2 cloves garlic
1/4 red bell pepper, minced finely
1/4 green bell pepper, minced finely

1/3 Cup tomato sauce (or salsa, or several chopped tomatos)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
black pepper, to taste

Add bouillon to water and stir until it dissolves. Add TVP and let sit for 10 minutes as it "reconstitutes."

Heat some oil over med-high heat in a large pan with sides, and add onions. Once they start to soften, add chili flakes and cumin. Saute for about 30 seconds, then turn heat down to medium and add the herbs and garlic. Saute for between 30 seconds and a minute, and add bell peppers (and probably a bit more oil). Once the bell peppers have begun to really soften, add the reconstituted TVP. Stir together, and then add the tomato and soy sauce. Let any extra liquids boil off, but make sure to keep the mixture from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Pepper to taste (you should have plenty of salt from the soy sauce and bouillon).

You'll also need some vegetables!

Fajita Vegetables

1/3 onion, thickly sliced
3 button mushrooms, sliced
red and green bell peppers left over from TVP mixture, thickly sliced or chopped

Season the vegetables with:

optional: dash of soy sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano or "mixed herbs"
1 tsp paprika
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Saute the vegetables, beginning with the onions, over medium heat until all veggies are soft. Make sure they're all coated in the herbs, as well. Don't over-do it. If you wanted, to could hold back on all the herbs, even, since the TVP mix is pretty heavy on the spices.

and, finally, the guacamole. The problem with guacamole is that it doesn't keep very well. So I always make it fresh every time we have our fajitas or tacos -- even if we're eating leftover filling.


Serves 2 - 4

2 avocados, peeled and pitted
1/2 - 1 tomato, chopped into small bite-sized chunks
1/4 onion, chopped
2-3 sprigs cilantro (coriander), chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or chopped jalapeño)
1/2 - 1 Tbsp lime juice
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
* optional: 1 small garlic clove, minced

Mash the avocados with a fork and add everything else! Mix it all up well. Enjoy!

If you've never heard of Vihart, the creative popularizer of math concepts on YouTube, you ought to fix that problem now! She has a tutorial on creating amazing fajitas using a "hexaflexagon" made of tortilla. Her new creation? The Flex Mex.

Her original hexaflaxagons video can be found here.

And here is our valiant attempt:

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