I know what you’re thinking. What the heck is soysotto? Well, let’s discuss. Soysotto is not risotto with tofu. That would just be weird (as if what’s to follow isn’t.) Soysotto is a word I made-up to describe “risttoto” made from TVP, or textured vegetable protein. I can’t decide if it’s perfectly fitting and catchy, or needs a complete overhaul.
Anyway, back to this whole soysotto thing. The idea came out of Rocco Dispirito’s new book, Now Eat This!: 150 of America’s Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories. I won a copy when Elina had a giveaway. Thanks, Elina! One of the recipes that stuck out for me was a chicken and mushroom risotto made from, you guessed it, TVP. How off-the-wall and incredibly exciting and genius is that? Why hadn’t I thought of it myself? That’s obvious. I had no idea what TVP was. But just the fact that the nutritional stats showed way more protein and less carbs than traditional risotto was made me want to find out.
TVP is a high-protein food made from soy flour. It is extruded into tiny little nuggets and dried out. Much like a grain, these little chunks of soy flour absorb about two times their volume in liquid. However, TVP is not often substituted for grains; rather, it is more commonly used in place of meat. Specifically, ground meat, for things like tacos, spaghetti sauce, and chili. I figured this out when I went searching the internet for other recipes like Rocco’s (just to get some more ideas.) Nonetheless, as a meat-eater more concerned about eating less carbs, I thought it was an idea worth pursuing. It’s also worthy to point out that soy is fairly controversial in the realm of healthy eating; there are numerous studies that suggest the ill-effects of too much soy, not to mention disdain over the fact that it is processed into so many different forms. Personally, I’m in the “everything in moderation” camp, so I’m not any more concerned about occasionally eating soy than I am about artificial sweeteners and chocolate buttercream.
As you can see I didn’t make Rocco’s recipe for mushroom risotto, instead I used his idea to make my favorite kind of risotto: roasted butternut squash and sage. I left out the traditional butter and wine, but made up for it with a splash of sherry which really compliments both the sweet roasted squash and the earthy sage. Pecorino romano adds a touch of creaminess, and you only need a small amount to get plenty of flavor. But truly what stands out here is the texture of the TVP when cooked just right: it has the same tenderness with just a teeny bite as a perfectly cooked risotto. It easily beats out traditional risotto in terms of nutritional breakdown, and it’s got another big bonus too: it takes a lot less time! Traditional risotto, carb-laden and time-sucking, would leave me feeling a lot more guilty and aggravated on a week night.On the contrary, I welcomed making this TVP risotto two weeks in a row, first with lamb and then with scallops. With all that good stuff going for it, why not?
Butternut Squash and Sage “Soysotto”
1/2 lb peeled, diced winter squash
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup sherry
1 1/2 cups textured vegetable protein (TVP)
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 ounces grated pecorino romano cheese
Preheat oven to 375ºF. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with the sage and season with salt and pepper. Spray with nonstick cooking spray, and roast for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook the shallot for 5-8 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute.
Increase heat, and pour in the sherry and TVP. Cook until sherry is absorbed. Add the broth, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for about 12-15 minutes, until the TVP is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the cheese and the squash, and let stand for a few minutes before serving.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 5.7 g
Cholesterol: 12.5 mg
Sodium: 467.9 mg
Total Carbs: 21.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.2 g
Protein: 23.4 g