May 18, 2009

Vegetarian Chorizo

Chorizo is a sausage popular in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and throughout Latin America. Each area adds their own distinctive taste. In Mexico, for instance, the meat is ground rather than chopped. The recipe I present here is a rendition of the Mexican variety, using TVP as the meat substitute.

I've not met many people who know about or enjoy TVP. Certainly the unappetizing name doesn't help market it ("Textured Vegetable Protein"). It is made from defatted soy flour, a by-product of soybean oil. It is low in fat, high in protein, and is fast to cook. Because of its crumbled nature, it is a perfect stand-in for ground meat.

If you remember a previous article, wadi is also a form of TVP, but it is made in larger, roundish chunks.

I have used TVP in pasta "meat" sauces, pizza toppings, taco fillings, etc. It is also wonderful for backpacking meals. Like tofu, TVP takes on other flavors quite well, and it takes on the chorizo spices perfectly.

TVP is available in many groceries, often in bulk. If you can't find it, Amazon sells it: Minced Textured Vegetable Protein, 1 lb.

Vegetarian Mexican Chorizo

This basic recipe can be used in a variety of Mexican dishes, such as tacos. Below is a quick recipe for enchiladas.


1 c TVP
7/8 c beef broth (I use a vegetarian version)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 c red wine vinegar
1 T chili powder
1 T dried oregano
1/2 T paprika
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground cumin


1. Pour the broth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. dump in the TVP, stir well, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes.

2. Mix the remaining ingredients in medium bowl. Add TVP, stir well. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Quick Enchiladas

I whipped up this dish quickly to use up some left-over corn tortillas. It can be jazzed up a little, like adding some jalape├▒os and beans to the filling, so this recipe can serve as a base.

(Sorry this photo is so bad. The dish smelled so good I started devouring it before I remembered to take a picture! I'll replace it as soon as I make the dish again.)


Chorizo mixture (see above)
1 medium onion, sliced
corn tortillas
½ c (or more) shredded monterey jack cheese
1 c prepared salsa


1. Saute the onions in a skillet with oil until slightly golden.

2. Spray a glass baking dish lightly with oil. Preheat the oven to 350┬║.

3. In each corn tortilla, place 1 heaping tablespoon of the chorizo in the middle. Sprinkle some cheese on, and then top with some onion. Roll the tortilla up and place in baking dish. Repeat with as many tortillas as you have fillings.

4. Pour salsa over the enchiladas. Sprinkle with more cheese if you like.

5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until everything is heated through and the cheese is bubbling.

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