All About Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)

TVP or TSP, textured vegetable protein
TVP or TSP, textured vegetable protein photo by Westend61 / Getty Images

What is TVP? Looking for a definition of TVP? Textured vegetable protein, or TVP for short, 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 amongst many people cooking on a budget, in vegetarian cooking and is used in many vegan recipes.

 TVP is virtually interchangeable with TSP, which stands for textured soy protein, and is sometimes also called soy meat, or in the UK, soya chunks.

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. It's quick cooking, and can add a great source of cheap and low-fat protein to many dishes. 

Since TVP has a similar texture to ground meat when cooked, it works well in dishes such as vegetarian 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 and Vegetarians