One of the best things I have came across I happen to stumbled upon just this last month...TVP! Texturized Vegetable Protein. I know what you are thinking "That shit sounds horrendous" but I promise you it isn't. It is a clumped soy flour and is frequently used as a ground meat substitute in many dishes and even fake bacon bits (one of my personal favorites). This stuff is so close to the texture of real ground meat, I really believe it could be used to fool any meat eaters! Plus it seems to take on the flavor of whats around it, so you can use it in almost any dish. It is high in protein and the best part? You can find this stuff in bulk bins for under $2 a pound!!!! So I recommend maybe trying to sub out a meat dish with TVP once a week! Just as much protein without the other things that meat brings to the table (literally).
The cookbook that showed me this awesome great new thing was a wonderful little gem I discovered at the library. Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson. She has such great recipes in that book, with beautiful pictures to boot. I decided to try the Very Sloppy Joes recipe out of it and I couldn't believe what I was eating. Hands down, probably the best sloppy joes I have ever had meat or no meat, and that is a dish I have loved from a little girl. I made the Double Chocolate Strawberry Pie out of it and it was just as awesome. I have checked out a lot of vegan cookbooks from my local library, but that is one I plan on buying and keeping forever. Here is the link to her website and book.
Now on to the recipes! I actually am going to use a few recipes using TVP from The Happy Herbivore. This cookbook holds a special place in my heart as it was my first vegan one. What I love most about it is all the recipes use real, everyday ingredients. They are basic enough that they leave plenty of room to adjust to the user's tastes. Did I mention that the author Lindsay is a sweetheart and will answer any questions you have about her cookbook or recipes via facebook, blog responses, or e-mails? That speaks volumes for her and her work! Almost all her recipes are low-fat or fat free and labeled by things like soy or gluten free, kid or omnivore friendly! Here again is the link to Lindsay's blog and cookbook (she comes out with a new one soon!)
Without further hesitation, I give you the recipes from The Happy Herbivore, TVP Tacos and Bacon Bits...
3/4 cup No-Beef Broth (recipe is in the book, I used organic veggie broth and it worked fine)
2 tbsp steak sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp onion flakes
4 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
hot sauce or cayenne power to taste
1 cup TVP
4 taco shells (we doubled the recipe and used Ezekial live sprouted tortillas so it made 8 tacos)
Bring broth to a boil
Turn off heat and remaining ingredients up to, but not including TVP stirring
Add TVP, cover, and let TVP soak up all the liquid, about 5 minutes. Stir if necessary.
Add TVP mixture to taco shells and top with desired fillings (we used chopped spinach, tomatoes, peppers, onions, salsa, and guacamole).