Butternut Squash and Sage “Soysotto”

One quick thing – have you entered my 4th Blogiversary giveaway? There’s still time! I’ve rounded up FOUR great prizes to thank you for reading. Your support has meant the world to me!

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.

The word, not the dish.
The dish I am sure about. I’m certain it will fill your desires for something carb-y, creamy, and comforting, without being much of a carb at all. I’ve made it twice, both times with Ben’s* loud** approval, so I can pretty much guarantee this is good stuff.
*I’ve been calling him “my husband” or “the hubs” lately, but I think you should be a on a first name basis.
**Now that you’re getting to know him, it might be worthwhile to mention that the guy only knows one volume. Don’t take it the wrong way.

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”
Printable Recipe

1/2 lb peeled, diced winter squash
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
salt and pepper
cooking spray

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.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 245.6
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

I’m sharing this healthier spin on risotto with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free‘s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday for 3/29/2011

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30 Responses to “Butternut Squash and Sage “Soysotto””

  1. 1

    Jennifurla — March 28, 2011 @ 2:22 am Reply

    that sounds so delicious, Love those falvors in general. Great dish

  2. 2

    Cara Craves... — March 28, 2011 @ 7:22 am Reply

    It does looks delicious!I am on the fence with tvp, I don't really know what to think about the stuff.It gets a lot of bad press due to how over-processed it is…but, like you said,a little bit here and there ain't going to kill ya.I prefer my risotto to be made with barley; a good whole grain carb.

  3. 3

    Katie @ HWS — March 28, 2011 @ 1:16 pm Reply

    Interesting recipe!

  4. 4

    Emily — March 28, 2011 @ 1:27 pm Reply

    I don't know much about TVP. But this recipe sure looks good. I love butternut squash risotto (so much that my husband claim's he is maxed out on it!).

  5. 5

    That Girl — March 28, 2011 @ 4:52 pm Reply

    you are so cutting edge. I credit you with introducing me to so many new ingredients.

  6. 6

    Joanne — March 28, 2011 @ 6:05 pm Reply

    I've heard of this TVP business but have never cooked with it and certainly would have never thought to incorporate it into risotto! Genius, my dear. Genius.

  7. 7

    Kelly — March 28, 2011 @ 8:00 pm Reply

    "I’m not any more concerned about occasionally eating soy than I am about artificial sweeteners and chocolate buttercream." — I so agree with you. I think as long as you are eating a varied diet there is NO reason to freak out about any one ingredient.

  8. 8

    Kristin — March 28, 2011 @ 9:05 pm Reply

    Cara,I love your recipes. Thank you so much! I don't know if you are interested in this position, but I immediately thought of your site when I read this:Clean Eating Magazine is looking for an experienced recipe developer and photographer to keep our newsletters packed with healthy and delicious dishes! If you have professional experience in the industry, send your resume, a recent recipe and an accompanying image to webeditorial@cleaneating.com!

  9. 9

    Cara — March 28, 2011 @ 11:33 pm Reply

    I like barley too! Check out this recipe I posted a while back: http://carascravings.blogspot.com/2009/05/cedar-plank-salmon-asparagus-orzotto.htmlIt's incredibly rich without any cheese at all.

  10. 10

    Cara — March 28, 2011 @ 11:34 pm Reply

    No worries, send any extra my way :)

  11. 11

    Cara — March 28, 2011 @ 11:35 pm Reply

    Kristin, thank you so much. This has to be one of the nicest compliments I have ever received, to hear that someone thinks so highly of my work. If only I had some of that "professional experience in the industry!"

  12. 12

    Yellowfish — March 29, 2011 @ 12:30 am Reply

    I've used TVP as a meat sub, but never like this! I actually have that book and didn't make his recipe because I don't like mushrooms, but I LOVE butternut squash and sage… I will be making this for sure!

  13. 13

    janet — March 29, 2011 @ 1:39 am Reply

    I bought TVP for my Portobello Feijoada 9which was great) but I haven't made anything else with it yet… this looks like a great idea to build on!

  14. 14

    That Girl — March 29, 2011 @ 2:03 am Reply

    you are so cutting edge. I credit you with introducing me to so many new ingredients.

  15. 15

    Kerstin — March 29, 2011 @ 4:40 am Reply

    I've never played with TVP before – what a cool idea to use it like this! Butternut squash in risotto is one of my favorites too :)

  16. 16

    Nicole Morrissey — March 29, 2011 @ 10:56 am Reply

    I've never cooked with TVP…I'm ashamed to say that! This sounds wonderful…anything with butternut squash and sage gets a thumbs up in my book!

  17. 17

    Chrysta — March 29, 2011 @ 3:49 pm Reply

    I LOVE this idea! I actually really enjoy TVP since I can make it anywhere and it can go with anything. Its a go to staple for me when Im short on time. I lvoe that you made a risotto out of it. So unique. i cant wait to try this out!

  18. 18

    Cara — March 29, 2011 @ 3:54 pm Reply

    What else do you do with it? I have some ideas but I'd love to know more about your staple recipes!

  19. 19

    Dawn Hutchins — March 29, 2011 @ 6:59 pm Reply

    Wow, when I saw the title I was a bit unsure but it does look delicious. Especially with the butternut squash.

  20. 20

    ASHLEA — March 30, 2011 @ 2:56 pm Reply

    Looks delicious. We have so much fresh sage growing and I've been looking for recipes to sneak it into. I'm gonna have to try this one!

  21. 21

    Olga @ MangoTomato — March 31, 2011 @ 2:01 pm Reply

    not sure about the soy protein, but love the butternut and squash combination. yum.

  22. 22

    shannon — April 1, 2011 @ 11:36 am Reply

    wow, this is so intriguing!! i'm not sure about the whole tvp thing, it seems weird to me… but this would be the way I tried it :)

  23. 23

    shannon — April 5, 2011 @ 1:12 am Reply

    wow, this is so intriguing!! i'm not sure about the whole tvp thing, it seems weird to me… but this would be the way I tried it :)

  24. 24

    Nicole Morrissey — April 5, 2011 @ 1:12 am Reply

    I've never cooked with TVP…I'm ashamed to say that! This sounds wonderful…anything with butternut squash and sage gets a thumbs up in my book!

  25. 25

    That Girl — April 5, 2011 @ 1:12 am Reply

    you are so cutting edge. I credit you with introducing me to so many new ingredients.

  26. 26

    Yellowfish — April 5, 2011 @ 1:12 am Reply

    I've used TVP as a meat sub, but never like this! I actually have that book and didn't make his recipe because I don't like mushrooms, but I LOVE butternut squash and sage… I will be making this for sure!

  27. 27

    Cara — April 5, 2011 @ 1:12 am Reply

    I like barley too! Check out this recipe I posted a while back: http://carascravings.blogspot.com/2009/05/cedar-plank-salmon-asparagus-orzotto.htmlIt's incredibly rich without any cheese at all.

  28. 28

    That Girl — April 5, 2011 @ 1:12 am Reply

    you are so cutting edge. I credit you with introducing me to so many new ingredients.

  29. 29

    Cara Craves... — April 5, 2011 @ 1:12 am Reply

    It does looks delicious!I am on the fence with tvp, I don't really know what to think about the stuff.It gets a lot of bad press due to how over-processed it is…but, like you said,a little bit here and there ain't going to kill ya.I prefer my risotto to be made with barley; a good whole grain carb.

  30. 30

    Yellowfish — April 18, 2011 @ 5:06 am Reply

    I'm glad you posted this! I have Rocco's book but somehow missed this recipe, probably because I saw mushrooms and kept on flipping. I made yours a few weeks ago and my boyfriend loved it, then tonight I made a rosemary gorgonzola adaptation which was also good! http://yellowfishblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/rosemary-gorgonzola-soysotto.html

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