Now that marathon training has officially started, I’m looking forward to my first track workout tonight– three miles, 6:01 pace, with a minute rest in between each. When I did this same workout back in January right before I got injured, I could only complete the first such mile. After that, I think I had to do a 6:30 and a 6:50. I can’t wait to put this veggo diet to the test tonight and see the difference!
TVP Chili with Chipotle
Also as part of marathon training, I’ve decided to make even more of an effort to get the right foods in me. We’ve been slacking a little on the grocery shopping, planning meals the day-of instead of shopping for the week. When that happens, I tend to make what’s convenient, not what best supports my body. This is how I fall into those three-days-in-a-row pasta ruts!
So yesterday when the electricity was strangely out for three hours, I got out some cookbooks (no power means no internet) to get some ideas for the week. It always feels so great to do this, because when I plan my meals for the whole week I can make sure I’m getting a variety of vegetables, different types of whole grain carbs, and enough protein. Even though I’m normally not too concerned about protein, I do want to make sure I’m not deficient now that it’s marathon season.
For dinner last night, I found a Fine Cooking recipe for Beef and Black Bean Chili. And since TVP tacos turned out so well, I had no doubt that TVP (textured vegetable protein) would be perfect for de-beefing the chili. TVP is a soy product, which I’m not huge on because of the potential dangers of too much soy (lower sperm count? not good eats.) but I look at it this way. If I eat soy every single day, in smoothies for breakfast, and for dinner as my primary protein source, then that’s too much. Hell, if I eat carrots that often, there will probably be some weird side effects. I think going crazy with soy consumption is what most of the fuss is about. But if I eat soy only as often as I eat any other single vegetable, choosing to get my protein mostly from other beans and the occasional dairy product, then I’ll be just fine. And with TVP, I can make chili, tacos, and sloppy joes taste and feel like the real thing. (“I made ‘em extra sloppy for ya!” — who can tell me where that nugget comes from?)
This chili turned out really well, considering I just sort of winged it with the TVP. It had a great smoky heat, not that burn-your-tongue, wash-your-hands-BEFORE-you-go-to-the-bathroom heat, but a slower burn in the back of your throat that creeps up on you, so that halfway through the meal you wonder why you’re sweating. Erin even liked it, and she’s not a spice person at all! I don’t think the chili had quite the depth of flavor that real-meat chili does, but Erin said she thought it was indistinguishable. I just added a little soy sauce to give the TVP a little bit of a meaty flavor; if you have other tricks for this I’d love to know about them. Also, I like a little sweetness in my chili, so next time I’ll probably add a little brown sugar. But there will definitely be a next time; it was that good. Yet another four cows out of five!
Vegetarian Chili With TVP Recipe
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
- 1.5 cups of dry textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3 15-oz cans of black beans, rinsed
- 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 chipotle pepper with 2 Tbsp adobo sauce from the can
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- juice of 1 juicy lime
- big handful of chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 avocado, diced
- salt and pepper
- grated cheddar cheese (optional)
Boil a cup and a half of water and pour over the TVP in a bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes.
In a food processor (I suppose you could use a blender), process the chipotle and adobo, the tomatoes, and about a third of the beans until smooth.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add about three quarters of the onion and saute for 3 minutes, until translucent and lightly brown. Reduce the head and add the chili powder and cumin and saute for another 30 seconds or so, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t burn. Add the TVP and soy sauce, black beans, and the mixture from the food processor. Add a cup of water and let everything simmer for about 10 minutes.
While the chili simmers, combine the avocado, the remaining quarter or so of onion, and half the lime juice in a bowl.
Once the 10 minutes are up add half the lime juice and half the cilantro to the chili. Add salt and pepper until it’s seasoned to your taste, and add more water if necessary to thin it out. Serve, topped with the avocado mixture and garnished with cilantro and optional cheese.