All About Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)

tvp vegan steak dough with tomatoes and onions
TVP mixed with tomato and onion to make a dough for vegan steak. Tiia Monto (Own work) / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Textured vegetable protein, TVP for short, also is known as textured soy protein (TSP), soy meat, and soya chunks.

But What Is It?

TVP is a high-fiber, high-protein meat substitute made from soy flour and available in a variety of flavored and unflavored varieties, as well as different sizes—from large chunks to small flakes.

Because it is cheap and widely available, it is popular among many people cooking on a budget, in vegetarian cooking and is used in some vegan recipes.

TVP can be found in the bulk foods section of many natural foods stores, such as Whole Foods and community co-ops.

Cooking With TVP

Because it is a dehydrated product, TVP needs to be reconstituted in hot water for about 10 minutes or more in the cooking process before being eaten. Most recipes will include this step.

Since TVP has a similar texture to ground meat when cooked, it works well in dishes such as casseroles, pasta sauces, vegetarian soups, and chili.

TVP absorbs spices and flavorings well, much like tofu, so it is an extremely versatile vegan and vegetarian grocery staple.

Try adding 1/2 cup of dry TVP to your favorite soup, chili, or pasta sauce recipe while it's cooking or sauté rehydrated TVP with diced tomatoes, diced onion and chili powder for an easy taco filling.

TVP Recipes for Vegans, Vegetarians, and Carnivores

TVP History

TVP was invented by the Archer Daniels Midland company in the '60s which still owns the registered trademark name of TVP. The product had limited success with the product until the Andreas brothers took over leadership of the Archer Daniels Midland company.

By 1968, TVP was widely used in a variety of food products and in school lunch programs. By 1980, copycats arrived on the scene but the founding company remained the leader in production.

Today, it is an accepted and excellent source of low-fat protein for vegetarians and vegans, and a meat extender for prisons, hospitals, and school food programs.