26 February 2016
Soya mince, often called soy crumbles or soy ground beef, is a product made out of textured vegetable protein. It is textured and shaped to resemble mince, or ground beef, and is a versatile and very economical food. It can be used in any recipe that calls for ground beef or any other type of ground meat, making the dish suitable for vegetarians or vegans and people reducing the fat and calories of traditional dishes.
Natures Choice Soya Mince has been dehydrated so it can be stored easily at room temperature. It also double in volume when hydrated – so 1 cup dry – will make 2 cups when re-hydrated
The textured vegetable protein used to make the mince is made out of soy beans. The beans are ground into a fine flour, mixed with water, and then shaped into the desired form. For soy mince, the vegetable protein is shaped into small granules and usually allowed to dry before it is further processed.
If you are vegetarian or vegan or just looking at reducing the amount of animal protein you consume – Soya mince is a great way to start with numerous ways to transform it into delicious, tasty dishes. The trick is to cook it with a flavoursome sauce as it will absorb the flavour of whatever it is cooked with.
Soya also has many health benefits:
Soya contains phytoestrogens, chemicals found in plant foods. There are different types of phytoestrogens but the ones found in soya bean products are called isoflavones. Soyaisoflavones (daidzein and genistein) have attracted a great deal of research and some studies suggest that women with a soya-rich diet may have a lower risk of breast cancer.
Phytoestrogens have been found to help block the effects of excess oestrogen in the body, evening out any imbalance in the ratio between oestrogen and progesterone. They appear to work by locking into the oestrogen-receptor sites on cells and in doing so they block out the stronger natural oestrogens. They can therefore be helpful in improving symptoms of oestrogen dominance such as PMS and endometriosis.
Soya is regarded as equal to animal foods in protein quality yet it is thought that plant proteins are processed differently to animal proteins. For example, experimental studies have shown that soya protein isolates tend to lower cholesterol levels while protein from animal sources can raise cholesterol levels.
If you are stuck with an idea of how to cook Soya mince – here is a delicious recipe for you to try!
Veggie shepherd’s pie with sweet potato mash – Serves 4
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 large carrots (500g/1lb 2oz in total), cut into sugar-cube size pieces
2 tbsp thyme chopped
400ml veggie stock
400g can chopped tomato
410g rehydrated Veggie mince (soaked in warm veggie stock)
950g sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
85g vegetarian mature cheddar, grated
Heat the oil in a frying pan, then fry the onion until golden. Add the carrots and all but a sprinkling of thyme. Pour in the stock and the tomatoes, and simmer for 10 mins. Tip in your mince, then cover and simmer for another 10 mins until the carrots still have a bit of bite.
Meanwhile, boil the sweet potatoes for 15 mins until tender, drain well, and then mash with the butter and season to taste. Pile the mince mixture into a pie dish, spoon the mash on top, then sprinkle over the cheese and remaining thyme. The pie can now be covered and chilled for 2 days, or frozen for up to a month.
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Cook for 20 mins if cooking straight away, or for 40 mins from chilled, until golden and hot all the way through. Serve with broccoli.