Have you heard other vegans talking about TVP and wondered what it was? Maybe you’ve seen this strange product in your bulk food store and are curious about how to cook it. In this post I’ll tell you exactly what TVP is, how to cook it and give you some awesome TVP recipes to get you started with this versatile vegan meat alternative!
What is TVP?
TVP stands for textured vegetable protein. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? You may also have heard it called by its other names: soy curls, textured soy protein, tvp mince, soya chunks and soy meat. All of these names are equally terrible.
As the names make clear, TVP is a soy product. In fact it is a by-product of extracting soybean oil. Once the oil has been extracted, the remaining defatted soy flour is cooked under pressure, extruded into various shapes and sizes (you may see it as crumbles, flakes, chunks or strips) then dehydrated.
As you may have gathered, that makes TVP a processed soy product. Which leads me to my next question:
Is TVP Healthy?
TVP is fat-free and high in protein (about 70% protein), potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and iron. However, TVP has less fiber and isoflavone concentration than other less-processed soy foods such tofu and tempeh.
Of course common sense will tell you that eating whole foods and minimally processed foods is better. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot occasionally include TVP in your diet: it still provides high-quality protein and will always be a better choice than meat.
If using TVP helps you to achieve that “meaty” texture you’ve been craving and keeps you on your plant-based diet, then it’s perfectly fine to consume in moderation.
You may be thinking: but soy has phytoestrogens, won’t I grow man-boobs or get cancer? Um, no. There is no clinical or epidemiologic studies to support those claims. Actually, soy foods have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer. If you don’t believe me you can read the science here. And there’s also the fact that people in Asia eat a ton of soy and still manage to be healthier than Americans, so...
But GMOs. There are many brands TVP made with non-GMO soy if that’s something you’re concerned about. Bob’s Red Mill is a widely-available non-GMO brand.
How to cook TVP
As mentioned, TVP is a dehydrated product. It doesn’t have much flavour on its own, which makes it the perfect vehicle for absorbing all the delicious spices and seasonings you add to your dish.
The most widely-used type of TVP is the small crumbles or granules. Once cooked it resembles ground beef and is often used for spaghetti Bolognese, chili, taco meat, sloppy Joes, soyrizo, shepherd’s pie, etc.
The larger soy curls can be used for chili and tacos as well as stir fry, salads, sandwiches and burritos, and as a chicken replacement in pot pies, butter chicken, chicken and biscuits, etc.
The recipe you’re following will usually tell you how to prepare your TVP. Most commonly this involves rehydrating it in water for about 10 minutes before adding it to your dish. However, you can infuse more flavour into your TVP by rehydrating it in vegetable stock. You’ll want to pre-rehydrate your TVP like this when using the larger soy curls/chunks or when you are preparing a recipe that doesn’t have a lot of liquid in it.
On the other hand, when you are preparing a recipe with a lot of liquid like a chili or a stew, you can add the small dried TVP crumbles directly to the pot. They will rehydrate and soak up lots of flavour while they are cooking. You can see how I did this in my vegan chili recipe video.
So let’s get to the recipes! I’ve scoured the internet to find the most amazing, delicious TVP recipes to get you started with the cheap vegan product. I’ve divided the recipes into two sections depending on the type of TVP called for. First are the TVP crumble/granule recipes and further down you’ll find the soy curls recipes. Enjoy!
TVP granules / crumbles:
Vegetarian Chili Recipe (pictured) – The Stingy Vegan
Vegan Sloppy Joes – Hell Yeah It’s Vegan
Perfect Bolognese Sauce – Davina Da Vegan
Vegan Meaty Shepherd’s Pie (pictured) – Divine Healthy Food
Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup – Vegetarian Times
High Protein Vegan Burgers (pictured) – Full of Plants
Homemade Soyrizo (Vegan Soy Chorizo) – Yup.. It’s Vegan
Chickenless Nuggets – Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen
Vegan Bolognaise Lasagna with TVP (pictured)– Valises et Gourmandises
Vegan Tuna Salad – Make a Vegan Tuna Melt! – The Hidden Veggies
Vegan Nacho Pizza (pictured)– The Stingy Vegan
Strange But Good Vegan Bacon Bits – Sprint 2 the Table
Super Meaty TVP Meatloaf – Kroger
Vegan Sausage – Italian, Breakfast, and Beer Brats (pictured) – The Hidden Veggies
Spicy Vegan Italian Meatballs – Plant Power Couple
Vegan Taco Stuffed Tomatoes - The Stingy Vegan
Basic Vegan Ground Beef – VegWeb
Vegetarian TVP Stuffed Peppers (use vegan cheese) (pictured)– Dietitian Debbie Dishes
Veggie Nachos – Cilantro and Citronella
TVP Tacos – The Buddhist Chef
Soy Curls / Chunks
Vegan Popcorn Chicken (pictured) – The Viet Vegan
Best Vegan BBQ Sandwich with Soy Curls – Nora Cooks
Orange Chicken with Soy Curls – The Edgy Veg
Mongolian Soy Curls – VNutrition
Vegan Chicken Alfredo (pictured) – Vegan Heaven
Vegan Air Fryer Southern Fried “Chicken” Soy Curls – Healthy Slow Cooking
Easy Vegan Teriyaki Bowl – Living Vegan
Vegan Chicken Pot Pie in the Crock Pot – The Hidden Veggies
Vegan Chicken and Biscuits (pictured) – TheVegLife
Vegan Butter Chicken – Elephantastic Vegan
Teriyaki Soy Curls with Pineapple and Bell Pepper – Healthier Steps
Vegan Buffalo Soy Curls Wraps (pictured) – Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen
Instant Pot Vegan “Beef” Stew with Soy Curls – Holy Cow Vegan Recipes
Vegan Schnitzel (pictured) – Elephantastic Vegan
Vegan Fajita Filling with Soy Curls – Vegan Runner Eats
BBQ Soy Curls Bowl with Ranch Dressing – My Darling Vegan
Cajun Soy Curls and Vegan Jalapeño Grits – The Curious Chickpea
Vegan Jerky – The Hidden Veggies
Chicken-Style Soy Curl Salad – Julie and Kittee
Soy Curls Chick’n Enchilada Meat – Helyn’s Plant-Based Kitchen
Peanut Butter Coconut Soy Curls – Vegan Street
Have a favourite vegan TVP recipe that you think should be included in this TVP recipe collection? Leave me a comment below with the link!
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john hyson says
Do you have a recipe for top red beans and rice
Just bought a 1kg bag of it (non-GMO) from a bulk online store as gave up tofu due to plastic packaging. The variety and yumminess of the dishes is unbelievable. Didn't know it was a byproduct (probably that's why so cheap). Thanks for enlightening!
The ground soy, chunks, etc. are all terrific substitutes for meat. Just rehydrate them in a delicious broth and use as you would any meat.
I rehydrate them and then let them dry a little overnight in the fridge, and then they can be sauteed in some oil to give them a nice, almost crispy/crunchy exterior. Then you can use them in spaghetti sauce, stuffed peppers, etc. You can use the bigger chunks in Thai curries or many other dishes.