TVP, or textured vegetable protein, is produced from soy flour after the soy bean oil has been extracted, then cooked under pressure, extruded and dried. Available flavored or unflavored, in chunks, flakes and small granules, TVP resembles the texture of ground beef when rehydrated and absorbs the flavors of whatever is added to it. Versatility and a high protein and fiber content have made TVP a vegetarian favorite for meatless recipes. Quick-cooking and lightweight, TVP can also be a great source of protein for backpacking meals. An economical alternative, TVP can be used to extend and cut the cost of beef.
Things You'll Need
Purchase TVP in bulk at the grocery store or a natural foods store. If you want to buy flavored TVP, it may be easier to find online. Some of the flavors available are beef, chicken, Italian sausage, ham, bacon, taco, BBQ and pepperoni. All TVP is meatless; flavors are derived from spices and other additives.
Rehydrate the TVP. If you have small flakes or granule-sized TVP, you will want to rehydrate it with 1 1/2 times its own weight in water. If you have chunks of TVP, you will rehydrate it with 2 1/2 times its own weight in water. You can change the texture depending on how much water you add. Adding a small amount of lemon juice, vinegar or ketchup will speed up the rehydration process. Adding a bouillon cube can add extra flavor.
Measure out your TVP and water separately. Pour the water into a saucepan or microwave safe container and use the stove or microwave to bring it to a boil. Add the TVP to the boiling water. If you are using TVP flakes or granules, you will need to let it sit for 15 minutes or simmer for 3 minutes. If you are using chunks, let it sit for 30 minutes or simmer for 6 minutes. Depending on the recipe you are using the TVP in, you may want to just add the dry TVP straight into the sauce or stew, allowing it to soak up the spices and flavors. One oz. of TVP is approximately equivalent to 3 oz. of meat. Any rehydrated TVP leftovers will need to be refrigerated.
TVP can be used in spaghetti sauce, taco meat, soups, chilli, sloppy joes, meat loaf, enchiladas, “hamburger” patties and any other recipe that calls for ground meat. Its texture holds up great after cooking; the spice and flavor are up to you.