All About Textured Vegetable Protein

all about textured vegetable protein

Myths and misunderstandings run VERY high about TVP® (Texturized Vegetable Protein). During the last few years lots of things have changed regarding TVP®. This stuff sure "ain't what it used to be!!!" TVP® is a food product made from soybeans. It is produced from soy flour after the soybean oil has been extracted, then cooked under pressure, extruded, and dried. TVP® has a long shelf life if stored properly and is an excellent source of protein and fiber. Many public schools use TVP® as a food source in the breakfast and lunch programs. It meets standards of nutrition but is economical as well. Plain TVP® has zero cholesterol. However, some flavor variations do have partially hydrolyzed oil in them for flavor and texture changes. Hydrolyzing the fat extends the shelf life as compared to using vegetable oil. However, even though the fat content is increased in some of the flavored varieties, with such a high fiber content, the balance is still very much on the healthy side -- especially if you are making a comparison to ground beef or sausage. For example, Sausage TVP® is 17% fat, but it has an incredible 11% fiber! It is a good source of the essential amino acids, and also contributes calcium and magnesium to one's diet. It can be fortified with vitamins, including Vitamin B12. It is very high in potassium, is a good source of the essential amino acids, and also contributes calcium and magnesium to one's diet. TVP® is dry and has a very low bacterial count. On the other hand, meat products can be easily contaminated with bacteria such as E. Coli and Salmonella. TVP® contains absolutely no meat or meat byproducts -- so those who are on strict vegetarian diets can use this to supplement their protein. TVP® products are also Kosher approved when you purchase them by the box, which we sell. The certification is lost, however, if we repackage it in smaller containers for long-term storage. Storage is a breeze -- TVP® can sit in a cupboard in a sealed container for at least a year. If sealed airtight (without oxygen), the shelf life is greatly extended (although, with its great taste and ease of preparation, you won't leave it hiding anywhere for very long!) As always, for the longest storage life it should be kept in a cool, dry place. Due to the moisture in many varieties of TVP®, storage after opening is better in a dry place away from excessive heat.

all about tvpPrice wise, it is very economical and makes an excellent meat substitute in many dishes. After all, you are buying a dry product, and the weight greatly increases with the addition of water. For example, 1 pound of beef dehydrates down to 4 oz of jerky. You are paying for 12 ounces of water per pound of meat when you purchase fresh beef! For another example, a pound of sausage in the grocery store runs between $1.50 to $2.50 depending on how good the sale is. A pound of DRY sausage runs about $1.20, and rehydrated, that would come to a cost of $0.40 per pound. Lean hamburger on the absolute best sales I've found ran $0.99/lb. Beef TVP® runs $1.55/lb DRY -- making it about $0.45 per pound rehydrated. That's an incredible savings -- and no thawing or browning time is required -- just throw it in the dish! One oz of TVP® is approximately equivalent to 3 oz. of meat.

It's hard to top lean protein with a very good amount of fiber for that price. To see what I mean, take 4 oz of dry beef TVP®, rehydrate it and add 15 oz of beans, 8 oz of tomato sauce and your spices. This makes 2.5 lbs. of Chili. So, price wise, a 25 lb box of TVP® will make 250 lbs. of great tasting, spicy Chili when the beans, sauce and spices are added. And talk about a quick meal, if you get home and are in a rush, you can have tacos or BBQ "beef" on a bun or Sloppy Joes in under 15 minutes. TVP® is truly a healthy time saver. It is great for camping as you only have to boil water and you have a dinner. There are no worries about keeping meat cold until you are ready to serve it. And because it rehydrates so readily, you can quickly rehydrate a bit more if needed. This helps limit waste on a camp outing.

TVP® Hamburger patties are a snap to make. Boil 7/8 cup water and add 1 cup TVP®. After all the water is absorbed, set TVP® aside to cool. If you're in a hurry, spread out cooked TVP® on an open plate. After it has cooled enough to handle, mix in 3 tablespoons flour. Form TVP® into patties and fry in a lightly oiled pan on a low to medium heat. Making patties from Taco, BBQ, Sausage or Sloppy Joe TVP® are especially good.

How much water you use to reconstitute TVP® will largely depend on the size of TVP® you are cooking with. The small granules or bits of TVP® are easy to rehydrate: you can add them straight to soups or pour 7/8 cup boiling water over 1 cup of TVP® and let it stand for 5-10 minutes. Adding a little ketchup, lemon juice, or vinegar (acidity) helps speed up rehydration if you are in a rush. Remember, flexibility is a key component to cooking with TVP®. You can, if you prefer, use less liquid to rehydrate it and get a slightly different feel. You can also partially rehydrate the TVP® and then put it in the recipe you are cooking to absorb "some" of the liquid from the dish, and thus also the flavor. You can also change the texture of the pre-flavored items like the taco or BBQ TVP® by adjusting the amount of liquid you add. This can make it more moist or chewy. TVP® holds it's texture and feel in things like spaghetti sauce and stews and will still be good for leftover use. Caution must be used in caring for TVP® after it is rehydrated. It must be refrigerated and treated like a meat.

What follows are some suggestions for using the different varieties of TVP® and directions for proper rehydration:

Beef/Chicken TVP®:
To rehydrate, add 1 cup boiling water to 1 cup TVP® and cook 6-10 minutes in the microwave. Using a good, salt free bouillon in the water perks up the flavor even more. Throwing the TVP® partially rehydrated into a heated salsa also works (or any other flavored/spiced liquid). For quick rehydration, add 3/4 to 1 cup boiling water to 1 cup TVP®. No extra cooking time is really needed -- just let it soak up the water for a few minutes. This can also be tossed into spaghetti sauces, taco meat, soups, chili, sloppy joes, meat loaf, enchiladas and more. The list goes on as far as your creativity can reach. TVP® can be used as a meat extender but remember to add extra liquid in the recipe if added dry. Or if necessary, it can be used to help thicken it up.

Italian Sausage®:
This TVP® is good thrown into white sauces, casseroles, muffins, scrambled eggs, gravy, biscuits or pizza pockets. To rehydrate, use 3/4 cup boiling water to 1 cup TVP®. Microwave for about 2 minutes, remove and let stand for several minutes.

Ham TVP®:
This TVP® is good rehydrated or dry. Toss into salads, dips, muffins or biscuits, omelets or quiche. To rehydrate, add 3/4 cup boiling water to 1 cup TVP®. In moist dishes you can put them in dry and they will pick up the moisture and flavor the dish, so add extra liquid to accommodate for dishes such as stews, casseroles and potato dishes.

Bacon TVP®:
This is the same as the artificial bacon bits purchased in the grocery store and is used much in the same way. Toss them onto salads, into muffins, omelets, casseroles, over green beans, cooked broccoli and baked potatoes. Again, you are only limited by your imagination! This TVP® is so good it's hard not to eat it by the handfuls right out of the can.

Taco TVP®:
To rehydrate, add 3/4 cup boiling water to a cup of the TVP®. If you like, you can rehydrate it to the feel you want by adding a small amount of water at a time to get the consistency you desire. Like Bacon and Ham TVP®, it is great tossed on salads, potatoes, and toppings on casseroles. Try with refried beans, in cheese sauces and meatless taco dishes.

BBQ and Sloppy Joe TVP®:
Mix 1 cup TVP® to 1 cup boiling water and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until the excess moisture is absorbed. Serve as you would BBQ beef; in rice, as an open face sandwich, on buns or with potato salad. This is very flavorful and extremely low in fat -- you'd think by the feel and flavor that is was loaded with fat.

Pepperoni TVP®:
Rehydrate by adding 1 cup boiling water to 1 cup TVP®. Pepperoni TVP® goes great on Pizza, hash browns, Italian salads and Italian sandwiches. It makes great pizza roll ups in any type of dough. Experiment - you'll like it.

A Parting Comment...
TVP® can create some gas. Beano would help. However, if you work into it gradually your body will get used to it which generally takes care of any problems.

Cheryl's Recipes
Chicken Filled Roll Ups
1 cup chicken TVP®
1 tbs. chopped onion
1 tbs. cream soup base
2 tbs. cheese powder
1 1/2 cup boiling water

Simmer in small kettle until mixed and blended, 5-10 minutes. Roll pieces of bread dough into rectangle shapes. Spoon a small amount of filling along center of dough. Pull up sides and pinch to close as well as ends. Turn over and place on greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot. May serve with white cream sauce poured over.

Green Beans
1 1/2 cup dehydrated green beans
3/4 cup cream soup base
1 tbs. butter (opt.)
1 tbs. dehydrated mushrooms
2 tbs. chopped onions
1 tbs. bacon or ham TVP®

Cover with 3 cups hot water and simmer approximately 20 to 25 minutes until beans become tender. Stir occasionally.

Beef Stew
2 cups dried potato slices
1 cup beef TVP®
3/4 cup vegetable stew blend
1 tbs. chopped onion
3/4 cup dehydrated garden peas
1/2 cup tomato powder
4 tsp. bouillon beef

Place in crock pot and cover with 2 quarts hot water. Cook for several hours until tender. May add more water if needed.

Cream of Chicken Casserole
2 cups dried potato dices
1 cup chicken TVP®
1 1/2 cup cream soup base
1 tbs. chopped onion
1 tbs. celery
1 tbs. butter powder (opt.)

Place in crock pot and cover with 2 cups hot water. Simmer several hours on low. May add more water if needed.

Wheat Chili TVP®
3-4 cups sprouted or steamed wheat
1 cup beef TVP®
1/2 cup tomato powder
2 lbs. dried onion
1 tbs. brown sugar
3-4 tbs. chili seasoning

Place in crock pot and add 4-5 cups hot water. Simmer for several hours before serving. May add more water if needed.

*TVP - (R) Registered trademark of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).