Textured vegetable protein is a meat replacement made by isolating proteins from soybeans. The protein isolates are then dried for improved packaging and storage. Textured vegetable protein is most commonly available in the Western world as granules and chunks. The chunk form is preferred by many vegetarians and vegans because its texture resembles that of meat. Although cooking with textured vegetable protein chunks is not complicated, it does require preparation and practice to achieve an appetizing texture and flavor.
Measure about 1 cup of textured vegetable protein chunks using a measuring cup. Place the chunks in a bowl or other waterproof container.
Pour 2 1/2 cups of water over the textured vegetable protein chunks. Allow the chunks to absorb the water for 30 minutes.
Add a marinade such as tamari, vegetable broth or rice vinegar to the reconstituted textured vegetable protein chunks. Allow the chunks to absorb the marinade for 30 to 60 minutes. Leave the chunks in the marinade overnight to maximize flavor.
Add spices and herbs such as cayenne pepper, basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic or ginger to the chunks and mix to blend. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes to allow the textured vegetable protein to absorb the flavors of the herbs and spices.
Transfer the marinated textured vegetable protein chunks to a lightly-oiled frying pan. Fry the chunks over medium heat for eight to 10 minutes, or until they begin to brown.
Mix cooked, marinated textured vegetable protein chunks with vegetables, add them to casseroles and pasta dishes, or sprinkle them over salads. Because this food absorbs the flavors or other foods, it can be used in a variety of entrees and side dishes.
Experiment with various marinades, spices and herbs. Textured vegetable protein has very little taste, so it adapts well to nearly any type of cuisine.