What is Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)?

What is it?
Textured vegetable protein is a dried soy product. You can keep it on your shelf forever. Those of us who use it a lot store it in great big canisters so it’s always available. It comes in various sizes, from granulated (to use in ground beef dishes) and chunks (to use in stews and casseroles).

How is it produced?
TVP is made from soybeans with the liquid and fat removed. It’s tasteless and will take on the flavors of whatever you marinate it in.

How is it used?
To use it, you prepare a hot marinade of the appropriate veggie juice or fruit juice and spices and herbs, then add the TVP, cover, and wait 15 minutes. Then you proceed with your recipe. The TVP stands in for the meat component of your recipe and, if properly prepared, tastes amazingly like meat.

Who uses it?
Besides home-based cooks, commercial producers of meat substitutes — the products you can buy at Albertson’s and Publix and your health food store — use TVP to prepare meat substitute products, but they cost ten times the entrees you can prepare at home to suit your own tastes.

What can I do with it?
Use it to make meatloaf, burgers, stews, fajitas, meatballs, casseroles, lasagna, quiche, meatpie — the list is endless. I have a hundred recipes, and you’ll probably create lots more of your own.

How does it taste?
When properly marinated and seasoned, the entree tastes so much like the original flesh-based recipe that most people don’t realize they’re not eating meat.

Why should I do this?
Most nutritionists and physicians tell us that adding soy to our diets, as a stand-in for meat, improves our health considerably, lowering our risk for cancer, stroke, heart disease, and other serious conditions.

Instructions for using TVP
1. Heat the liquid appropriate to your recipe.
2. Add to the liquid those seasonings appropriate for your recipe.
3. When the liquid is hot, add the TVP, and turn off the heat. Cover the pot.
4. Let the TVP rehydrate itself. Wait 15 minutes for the granulated TVP, 20 minutes for the chunk-style TVP. (Meanwhile, gather and prepare the other ingredients needed in your recipe.)
5. Complete the recipe. Serve and enjoy a meaty-tasting entree!