What Is Textured Vegetable Protein? Nutrition & Recipe Ideas

Whether looking for vegan recipes or broadening your Meatless Monday meals, TVP protein is it! A great source of protein, versatile, and so much more, learn how to use this unique ingredient here.

What Is Textured Vegetable Protein? Nutrition & Recipe Ideas

What is textured vegetable protein (TVP)? It goes by many names, including some of the “impossible meat” varieties you’ve probably already heard of (and maybe even tasted). TVP protein is still relatively new, so there is a lot to learn about this tricky meat substitute. 

Keep reading for ingenious ways of using TVP, as well as the top textured vegetable protein recipes. 

What Is Textured Vegetable Protein?

Textured vegetable protein or TVP (also known as textured soy protein or TSP) is traditionally a meat alternative. Traditionally, TYP is made of some sort of vegetable protein that is dehydrated or made into flour (i.e. defatted soy flour, soy concentrate, or soy protein isolate). This plant-based matter is then made into a versatile meat alternative used to make burgers and beyond. 

While it may not contain the same nutrient profile as meat, TVP can be a great alternative to meat for vegans, vegetarians, and plant-based eaters. It is usually available as a product that can be hydrated before use. It comes in the following forms: 

• Chunks 
• Granules (i.e. resembling ground beef)
• Powder 
• Slices 

TVP is available for commercial purchase (i.e. restaurants) and for personal use (i.e. grocery stores). It can be found in the freezer or refrigerated section of many larger grocery stores. 

3 Reasons to Eat TVP Protein

There are more than three good reasons to eat TVP, but these are the top ways that convince people to eat vegetable-based protein alternatives throughout the day. 

1. Nutrient Content

TVP often provides the following nutrient profile: 

• High in protein 
• High in fiber
• Low in fat
• Low in calories 
• Fortified with vitamin B12

As with any food, it is advised that you look at the label. Not all TVPs are created equal, and some could be hiding preservatives or unwanted ingredients. Just like meat, it is important to know where your TVP comes from and how it is processed before it makes it to your plate. 

2. Versatility

Unlike meat, which often lends flavor to whatever dish it is being cooked in, TVP takes on the flavor profile of the meal. Spices, herbs, and seasonings can be used on the same TVP to create vastly different flavors.

TVP can be used to create delicious dishes traditionally left up to meat-eaters, like tacos, sloppy joes, stuffed peppers, and chili recipes. It can also be used to create appetizing sides or sauces, like spaghetti sauce. Store-bought TVP is also available at some stores in “beef” or “chicken” flavors, making it easy to substitute in your favorite recipes. 

3. Bang for Your Buck

In terms of the cost, TVP is quite economical. As it is hydrated, TVP gains weight and increases in volume. Additionally, most dehydrated TVP has a shelf life of over 1 year (when stored as directed). 

Textured Vegetable Protein Recipes

Why limit TVP to just one meal? Here are three easy ways to use TVP, no matter the time of day. 

Breakfast

Since TVP is virtually flavorless on its own, you can add it to granola for some extra nutrients in the morning! Fiber and protein, in particular, are two nutrients found in TVP that can help you feel full for longer. 

Add TVP for texture to your yogurt bowl granola, or mix it into some healthy homemade, no-bake granola bars

Lunch 

Ground TVP granules are great for lunches and on-the-go items. Make chili or lasagna ahead of time for a hearty, filling, lunch. 

Simply replace the ground meat with TVP as directed (most packages will have a helpful conversion table or directions for substituting TVP granules for ground meat). 

Dinner

Dinner is where TVP can really shine. Remember that TVP takes on the flavorful taste of the dish, making TVP tacos, meatloaf, and curry ideal for wowing the dinnertime crowd.

Just like with lunch, simply replace the amount of meat in each recipe with the TVP as directed (according to the package or directions). 

Tying It Together With Textured Vegetable Protein

TVP, although relatively new to the scene, has shown great potential and promise. Its versatile nature makes it a powerful ingredient in breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and beyond. 

Try TVP in a recipe today to see if it fits into your favorite recipes, helps you feel full longer, and save money in the long run! 

References:

Beck L. Featured Foods - TVP. Leslie Beck. https://lesliebeck.com/foods/tvp

Brown M. What is Textured Vegetable Protein and How Do You Use It? EdibleIQ. Published December 2019. https://edibleiq.com/articles/what-is-textured-vegetable-protein-and-how-do-you-use-it/.

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