Soy Crumbles For Tacos, Sloppy Joes, Pasta Sauce

Quick, easy, versatile, high protein meat substitute

Soy Crumbles

Soy Crumbles: Our favorite way to prepare TSP - little bits of machine extruded and dried soy meal or flour found in the bulk bins at natural food stores.

This is an easy basic high protein recipe to make in quantity and keep in the fridge. Substitute soy crumbles for the protein or fillings in these and many other recipes:

Taco and burrito fillings, sloppy joes, pasta sauce (think spaghetti bolognese), veggie burgers or casseroles

The TSP we find here in Mexico are small bean sized bits that cook up to resemble hamburger.

But never mind! The results are so delicious, so versatile, so filling and satisfying, that you and your kids will say "Oh! Soy hamburger again? Yay!!

Total prep & cook time: 45 minutes

3 cups or 6 servings

Nutrition Data per Serving (1/2 cup, 55g): 81 cal, fat cal 24, 3g fat, 2g sugars, 8g protein; 8g carbs; 4g fiber, 148mg sodium, good source vit A, folate, phosphorous, estimated glycemic load 2


  • 1 cup dry textured soy protein - small pieces, soaked in water 1/2 hour, then drained
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, grated OR 1/2 red or green pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp smoked or sweet paprika
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  • 1 tsp gr cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper or chipotle powder
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • Optional: Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Picante or sriracha sauce to taste


  1. 1/2 hour before cooking, soak the dried soy bits in water, then drain well
  2. Heat the oil on medium in a large skillet
  3. Add the diced onions and fry until soft (5 minutes)
  4. Add the carrot, celery and garlic. Fry 5 minutes
  5. Add the spices, fry for 1 minute
  6. Add the drained soy bits, turn up the heat and fry 5 minutes or until dry and lightly browned
  7. Add soy sauce, vinegar, tomato sauce, optional hot sauce, and mix well
  8. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add more soy or tomato sauce to taste.
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Recipe Tips:

Added salt is not included in the nutrition data, because soy sauce and tomato sauce are loaded with salt. Adding just 1/4 tsp salt to the recipe will almost double the sodium per serving.

The recipe as is makes a perfect taco filling with other fillings such as avocado and ranch dressing or yogurt to moisten and stick everything together.

To use soy crumbles for sloppy joes, add another 1/4 or so cup of tomato sauce - until it seems like the right consistency to you.

When adding to a pasta sauce, heat the sauce, then add soy crumbles to taste - perfect for spaghetti bolognese as a quick alternative to lentils.

This recipe will work with any size soy bits - size seems to vary a lot, except maybe in Mexico. Bigger TSP pieces work well with any kind of sauce, served over grains or noodles, added to tacos, or incorporated in stir fries. Just add directly to the stir fry after soaking.

Other saucing possibilites besides tomato sauce are Chickpea Gravy, arrowroot powder + water to make a clear sauce, or Bechamel Sauce (dairy free white sauce). Any of these sauces can be served over noodles or grains.

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