Soy protein is a meat substitute you can easily find in the health food section of your grocery store. Sometimes known as textured soy protein or soy protein isolate, it comes in a variety of forms that can be incorporated into your usual recipes. Whether you're attempting to eat less meat in your diet or you need to save some money by stretching your meat budget, soy protein can be incorporated into a number of dishes without much change in the texture or flavor.
- Textured soy protein
- Soy protein isolate
Pour one cup of hot or boiling water over one cup of textured soy protein and leave in a bowl for five to 10 minutes. Soy protein is typically dehydrated and sold in flake form. As you soak the soy, it will become plump and look more like ground beef. If you're reconstituting slices or large chunks of soy protein, cover with hot water and leave for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender. Replace the water for broth or sauce and the soy protein will absorb the flavor.
Measure out how much you need to cook with. One pound of textured soy protein will yield an amount similar to three pounds of ground beef, so you can adjust your recipe according to how much soy protein you're using versus how much meat you're using.
Combine soy protein with meat in order to make your meat stretch farther. The soy protein will absorb the cooking flavors, spices and seasonings so it will taste like the other ingredients in your dish. You can also remove all of the meat and use soy protein only.
Add soy protein to dishes that traditionally use ground beef or chicken. Dishes like spaghetti bolognese, chili, soups, meatloaf stews, stroganoff and meatballs all work well with soy protein in place of meat or combined with meat. Garnish and serve as you would normally and your family may not even notice a difference in the dish.
Stir the powdered form of soy protein, called soy protein isolate, when you want to add extra protein to soups and smoothies without altering the texture. Soy protein isolate can work as a protein powder to increase your protein intake without a change to your diet.
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Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.