Did you know that soya is the cheapest and most widely eaten supply of plant protein on the planet?
Soya is an excellent source of protein, providing all nine of the essential amino acids we need for growth, repair and functions like immunity. It is also low in saturated fats and rich in fibre, it contains vital fatty acids plus a wide range of important vitamins and minerals. Plus, dishes that use soy as a substitute for meat often have fewer calories and less fat.
No wonder soya is a perfect meat replacement for vegetarians, vegans or anyone wanting a healthier alternative, or to eat more sustainably!
What is Soya?
Soya foods are made from the soya bean plant, which is native to China, it’s been a staple part of Asian diets for many years and is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. The beans extremely versatile texture makes it easy to be processed into a variety of foods including milk, soya protein, plus fermented foods such as tofu, miso and tempeh.
But we’re here today to talk to you about the wonderful world of soya meat replacements!
You may have heard soya meat substitutes referred to in many ways - Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Textured Soy Protein (TSP), Soya chunks and sometimes Soy meat. They are made the same way, from defatted soya flour which is created by removing the oil from the soybeans. The soybeans are ground into a fine flour, mixed with water, and then moulded into the preferred form - usually either mince or chunks.
As your one stop shop for organic wholefoods, we currently sell a range of soya products for you to peruse. Let’s take you through the main types of meat substitutes, and the best ways to use them -
Soya Mince, also known as textured vegetable protein (TVP) or textured soy protein (TSP), has been textured and shaped to resemble mince, or ground beef. TVP was created back in the 1960s by Archer Daniels Midland, a multinational American company, who still hold the trademark name for the product today. Soya mince can come unflavoured or flavoured, but it’s generally seasoned and coloured so that the look and taste is similar to that of mince beef.
Due to soya mince being a dehydrated product, it needs to be soaked in hot water or broth for around 10 minutes (depending on the amount) for it to become appetizing.
Being an immensely versatile food, soya mince can be used in any recipe that calls for mince or any other type of ground meat. This makes it the perfect meat replacement to make classic favourites such as spaghetti Bolognese, chilli con carne, cottage pie, lasagne or even tacos!
Soya Chunks are another version or TVP or TSP, the soy is just moulded into bigger cubes or chunks – hence the name.
Much like the mince, the soya chunks will need to be soaked before using. As with all soya products, they’re pretty much flavourless so tend to take on the flavour and taste of whatever they’re cooked with making them incredibly adaptable. Given their bigger size, they’re a great meat alternative in curries, stir fries, stews, pies and salads, or how about adding a batter and turning them into a vegan version of popcorn chicken!
Soya chunks boast numerous health benefits, it can enable quicker muscle building and may aid in a faster metabolism. Soya is full of polyunsaturated fats, proteins and omega 3 fatty acids. They are rich in calcium and iron while containing no extra sodium or sugar, additionally, they’re lower in calories and fat than meat. Soya chunks are packed with fibre, which promotes food passing more slowly through the system and keeping you fuller for longer, whilst aiding digestive health.