Basic TVP Pilaf §

Pilaf originally was nothing more than rice in a seasoned broth. Its history can be traced back to the fifth century BCE in the middle east. Since then, it has become very popular throughout the world, and today almost any type of whole grain may be used, though rice is still the most common. The term is thus commonly joined with the grain used: rice pilaf, wheat pilaf, barley pilaf, quinoa pilaf, etc.

Most recipes follow a process in which the grain, usually dried, is sautéed in oil, fat, or butter to brown it slightly. Then a liquid, such as broth, is added for flavor. Sometimes a variety of vegetables and meats may be added. Depending on its composition, it may be a side dish or it can be a whole meal. Jambalaya, for example, is a variant on pilaf.

Unfortunately, rices, bulgar wheat, and other such grains that are commonly used in pilaf have very high glycemic indexes and must therefore be severely limited in the lower G. I. diet. Fortunately, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) has only 3 net grams of carbohydrate per quarter cup, and hence makes an ideal substitute. The side dish recipe below very well accompanies meat or fish, depending on the stock and condiments used.

  • 1 cup TVP
  • 1 tbsp <butter>
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1* cup broth (chicken, beef, pork, fish, or vegetable)
  • 1 tbsp dry onion soup mix
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 1 tsp dried garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Toast the TVP in the <butter> and oil a few minutes until the oil is absorbed into the TVP and the TVP is slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Note: you can use fresh onion, chives, garlic, and parsley, here if you wish; if you do, cook them in this step until onions are limp.

Add dried condiments to the broth and microwave on the high setting for about 1½ minutes or until the liquid almost boils. Stir to mix thoroughly and then add the TVP. Wait a few minutes until the liquid has been mostly absorbed. Then return to the microwave for another minute. Put aside and wait 10 minutes. Note: you can also make this on the stovetop–just add the liquid back into the pan used for browning the TVP.

Serves 3–4.