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I made some vegan lasagna today, despite initial doubts it turned out pretty good.

However the soy meat I used was a bit tasteless. I am not expecting it to taste like meat, I am completely happy with it having its own taste. However I think I could have gotten a bit more out of it.

How I prepared it:
I soaked the soy meat in water, I didn't completely fill the bowl but dredged it until most of the water was soaked in.
Then I heated olive oil in a pot and added chopped red onions. Then I added the soy meat and some salt. After that I added the other ingredients of the tomato sauce (strained and chopped tomatoes, spices etc).

The sauce itself was pleasing, just the meat missed something, maybe it was too soggy, maybe not enough salt. Maybe I should have separately fried it, adding it to the sauce after cooking?
So how do I correctly prepare soy meat for lasagna?

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Can you clarify which soy meat you used? Are you referring to tofu? Or to tempeh? TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)? "Soy crumbles"? Or possibly the westsoy brand seitan (primarily made with wheat but also contains soy?) Not trying to be nitpicky, but each could be used slightly differently. –  Matthew Sep 3 '13 at 21:10
    
@Matthew The product is labeled in German and I am not completely familiar with the English names of different types of soy products. However, the link in the question leads to the wikipedia article on TVP, it basically looked like this, chunk sizes were about 1cm-2cm. I guess TVP is right, definitely neither tofu nor seitan. –  Baarn Sep 3 '13 at 21:20

2 Answers 2

Assuming TVP is what you used... it is essentially a byproduct of the production of tofu, and as such is largely tasteless on its own. Generally, to use it you first rehydrate it with a 1:1-1.5 ratio of TVP to liquid. The liquid can be pretty much anything, from water, to broth, mustard, ketchup, liquid smoke, etc. Very similar to tofu, it will absorb the taste of whatever you prepare it with. When cooking it for vegans I usually use vegetable broth, water, vegan worcestershire sauce, a dash of liquid smoke and Bragg's Liquid Aminos (the liquid aminos and worcesershire sauce add some of the savory that you REALLY need to simulate beef). A small amount of sherry works well here too.

Stir the liquids, and add them to the TVP and allow to rehydrate for about 10 minutes. Check about 5 minutes in and ensure you have enough liquid. It's usually better to have too much than too little as you can pour off the excess. You'll have to play around with what flavors you use in the liquid - as mentioned, TVP is more or less a blank palette. This is actually both a boon and a burden compared to store bought "meat crumbles" which are already seasoned.

After rehydrating, it is ready to eat. You just need to warm it. So in the future, you can sweat your onions while it is rehydrating, add the sauce, and add the TVP last (just to bring it to heat). You'll have to play around with flavors that work best here. Sorry I can't be more specific, I usually don't use TVP for lasagne.

HTH

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TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) is a great meat substitute. It's easier to season than tofu, seitan, and tempeh (IMHO).

Sautee a half onion add in some spices to match the dish then add in 1:1 ratio of vegan beef stock, chicken, or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then cover and remove from heat for 15-20 minutes.

TVP is the left over protein strands from the process of making tofu. Because it's essentially dehydrated, letting it soak up a broth base like I've described above means the flavors are now absorbed into the TVP pieces, marinating and cooking at the same time.

Try adding a diced poblano pepper, 2 Tbs ground cumin, 1 Tsp chili powder, 2 Tbsp cilantro, and 1/2 Tbs of garlic powder for a tasty taco filling.

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