This taco filling is made with TVP, also known as Textured Vegetable Protein. We buy the stuff dry in 25# bags for only pennies a pound - one bag easily lasts over a year (I keep it in the freezer).
Reconstituted, it has a texture sort-of like ground beef and you can flavor it however you'd like. If you've never tried it, it's easy and pretty much fool-proof. You can purchase TVP in plain, tannish, unflavored crumbles, or in dark brown "beef" or "sausage" flavors. I always use the plain, unflavored, so vary the seasonings here according to what you have.
These tacos are one of our weeknight staples; fast, easy, cheap and my kids love them! For even more of a short-cut, leave the onions and peppers out, dump in a cup of salsa instead and serve over chips as a "Mexican Sloppy Joe" sort of thing.
Fast, Easy, TVP Taco Filling
- 2 cups plain, unflavored TVP (textured vegetable protein)
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup tomato juice, V8 juice or watered down tomato sauce
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp olive oil or margarine (for some reason, I prefer margarine here)
- 1 package or 3 Tbsp. your favorite taco seasoning/spice blend (I buy mine bulk and it's spicy but not overly salty, you may need to adjust to your preferences)
- 1 green, red or yellow bell pepper, chopped (optional)
- 1 jalapeno, finely minced (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
- 1/2 can corn, drained (optional)
- 1/2 can black beans, rinsed (optional)
- flour tortillas or taco shells
In a large skillet, heat the water, juice, soy sauce, ketchup over medium heat to almost boiling.
Add the dry TVP granules, stirring well. Turn off heat and cover. Allow the TVP to reconstitute for 5 - 7 minutes. If any liquid is left, you can drain it off.
Turn heat back to medium, add oil, then peppers, onions and taco seasoning, stirring well. Allow to cook for another 5 - 7 minutes, stirring frequently until vegetables soften and cook, and taco "meat" begins to dry out and clump and even stick to the pan a bit. Add optional corn and beans if you want them in the taco meat mixture (or just add to the taco later). Stir around to warm slightly.
Serve wrapped in a flour tortilla or hard taco shells with all the trimmings. We like our tacos piled high with "extras", it varies depending on what time, budget and the garden allow; favorites include avocados, onions, romaine, black beans, corn, sliced olives, shredded cabbage, cucumbers, vegan cheese and especially the heirloom tomatoes and cilantro that our garden is full of right now!