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Erin Huffstetler

TVP: Are You Eating It?

By June 13, 2008

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Incorporating meatless meals into your diet is a great way to save money, but it's not always easy to give up the taste and texture of meat. Well, guess what? You don't have to!

Just substitute textured vegetable protein (TVP) for the meat in your favorite recipes, and you'll save money without making a big sacrifice.

Want to Learn More About TVP?

Poll: Have you ever tried TVP?

1) Yes
2) No
3) I don't know

View Results

Photo Credit: rusvaplauke

June 14, 2008 at 5:45 pm
(1) Kate says:

I am a vegetarian and i have to say i hate tvp as i find it has a very strange texture and taste. I find that most of meals don’t need a meat substitute but if you do like to have something similar then i find quorn far far better, it comes in different forms like mince meat of chicken peices. It is far more like meat and and much better tasting. It may be a little more expensive than tvp but you don’t have to add too much per meal and if is very satisfing.

June 15, 2008 at 4:59 pm
(2) Lisa says:

EW!!! This stuff is GROSS! It doesn’t taste like meat at all. It has a bitter after taste sort of bites you back!!!
Where I live steak is still a pretty good sell! I bought several packages for $1.88 a pound! I suppose some day I will be forced to eat TVP but until then I will still eat my meat and veggies!

June 15, 2008 at 8:07 pm
(3) Eliana says:

TVP is not good. TVP is yuck. TVP has the consistency of soggy cardboard no matter how I’ve even tried to prepare it. I’m all for going meatless (though the boy is adamantly opposed), but beans and brown rices with some veggies and spices provide good nutrition and they have the structure and flavor of actual food.

June 16, 2008 at 4:43 pm
(4) Anita says:

I have to agree with the commenters above, I found it unpalatable. In theory, it seemed too good to just give up on, so I tried every conceivable way to prepare it. No success, even my dog wouldn’t eat it.

June 17, 2008 at 12:51 am
(5) Jennifer says:

It’s yucky and it triggers migraines in me!

June 17, 2008 at 7:18 pm
(6) HubSub_Urban_Mom says:

TVP rocks. When properly seasoned, it works great in certain dishes. I’m not a vegetarian, but eat very limited meat. I’ve added it successfully to my vegetarian chili & spaghetti sauce. You can find it in big chunk form also (more like a texture of ground meat). I use both. I have also added it to my turkey meatloaf. It’s still a great value and helps stretch my grocery budget since, when hydrated, is still cheaper than ground meat. Keep trying various recipes until you find ones that work for you and your family.

June 18, 2008 at 5:42 am
(7) Dianne says:

I am a vegan i have eaten TVP it does need to have good flavouring or seasonings. were i live i can buy frozen TVP mince it is not as cheap as the unflavoured dried varieties but it tastes better. I am concered however about it being used too much in the vegetarian/vegan diet and while it may be cheap at the moment i do not se that continuing to be so as only this morning i heard about floods destroying the soya bean crop in America.

June 18, 2008 at 7:51 am
(8) Cindy says:

Read the ingredients in TVP. There is not ANYTHING healthy or good for your body in TVP. Don’t forget to read and understand the labels on everything you eat. It is a matter of life and death -yours and your family’s.

June 18, 2008 at 8:57 am
(9) Nicole Platte says:

I’m sorry to say that soy is not all it’s cracked up to be. Soy is not a good food for humans, with the exceptions of well-fermemented products like tamari, miso, and tofu, but even these in small amounts. Soy’s estrogenic properties make it a female carcinogen and I would not recommend the use of soy to anyone! Here’s a link for more info:

Read it and decide for yourself!

June 18, 2008 at 11:47 am
(10) Catherine Wiedmann says:

Not only does the stuff taste bad, it is BAD for you. Go to the Weston Price Association website and read their piece called ‘Soy Alert’. You are in for some BIG surprises.

June 18, 2008 at 12:03 pm
(11) Ivy says:

Oh, please, soy is not bad for you. Meat is bad for you. But I don’t like TVP either. If you want to read an unbiased article about soy, try this: http://www.womentowomen.com/nutritionandweightloss/soycontroversy.aspx

June 18, 2008 at 2:24 pm
(12) Joi says:

I use bulgar wheat in my beef dishes, quinoa in chicken. If you bloom it in broth it takes on the flavor and stretches the dish and a little goes a long way. My family don’t realize it’s even in there. I also blend up veggies in as many sauces as I can to add nutrients since my children are picky.

June 18, 2008 at 2:55 pm
(13) slavin says:

Let’s not forget that plenty if not most soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified, and how appetizing is that?

June 18, 2008 at 6:05 pm
(14) Linda says:

I think tvp tastes ok when seasoned well in ground beef recipes, but since I learned that unfermented soy products are harmful to the thyroid I have stopped using it.

June 18, 2008 at 6:52 pm
(15) Robin says:

Yep, soggy cardboard is a very accurate description. I took two bites, the second only because I had to be sure it was really that bad. Yep, it’s bad! In the trash it went.

June 18, 2008 at 8:00 pm
(16) Robin Moore says:

I have used TVP for a while and I find that if I make a tea of herbs, like savory, bay, garlic, thyme, etc… or soak it in yogurt and tandoori seasonings after doing a tandoori seasonings tea soak, that it improves immensely. I usually do not bother and just eat beans and whole foods or foods that I have processed myself like tempeh and soymilk. Making soymilk at home is very very cheap. Ditto for tempeh.

June 18, 2008 at 10:14 pm
(17) Jackson says:

I really love TVP — but we don’t ever eat it plain. I think that would be kind of like eating *flour* out of the bag.

June 23, 2008 at 3:53 am
(18) Scott Allen says:

TVP plain? Ugh!

I use it frequently in ground beef recipes — spaghetti, chili, etc. I even made TVP sloppy joes one time and the kids didn’t know the difference!

The secret? Soy sauce! TVP is too light-colored. Soak it in a little soy sauce for a few minutes before cooking with it. That also embeds some flavor (namely salt) in the TVP.

If you’re not completely vegetarian, you can also use beef boullion to give it more flavor.

July 12, 2008 at 9:55 pm
(19) Suresh says:

Well as JACK LALANE SAYS “If it is man made ,i wont have it “,because it is not found in nature ,and probably your body does not recognize it as food!

October 16, 2008 at 9:21 pm
(20) Roz says:

I use TVP and I think it’s brilliant. Properly prepared with good spices and flavourings it is indistinguishable from meat – better for you – much cheaper than meat – and a whole lot kinder to animals and to the planet. Keep experimenting – Mexican, Indian and Italian flavours are good to start with. Lots of garlic and herbs, tomato paste and onion – and even a dash of wine – make it superb! Love it! :-)

February 9, 2009 at 6:14 pm
(21) Burton says:

Like anything else, TVP included, educate yourself about the product with information from medical journals or other legitimate sources–not by reading hundreds of peoples personal opinions–and then make your choices. As with most everything, TVP is good for some, not for others–so many factors determine such results. Done!

November 4, 2009 at 12:29 am
(22) minority says:

TVP has no taste in its re-hydrated form, one must use skilful techniques of shadow-boxing to flavour TVP. steps to success:
1. re-hydrate, then wrinse THOROUGHLY
2. take by the handful and squeeze excess ‘juice’
3. sear (on high-heat) in olive oil with spices, garlic etc- until browned on the outside; crispy on the edges
4. re-hydrate with a well-flavoured concotion + veggies
5. allow dressing to be absorbed yet keeping the firm consitency by cooking on a high heat. stir your pot regularly.
6. serve
7. digest

November 4, 2009 at 1:07 pm
(23) donna says:

We use on third to one half tvp instead of ground beef in spicy and seared beef dishes. Perhaps a total vegetarian would find the texture objectionable but for us it works and is lower in cost as well as lower fat.Lots of information out there regarding food safety….hit snopes for some fact-checking.

December 19, 2009 at 6:35 pm
(24) MaritDW says:

I think you are all wrong. Most have eaten TVP in tacos at cheap mexican restaurants.

TVP is NOT like meat. It can not be a direct replacement and prepared in the same manner. However, it can be delicious. It is like comparing apples to dried apple chips. Not the same. That doesn’t mean my family doesn’t LOVE when I cook TVP. I don’t make it often – that may help – and I have been known to mix it 50% with meat in meatloaf, taco meat, spaghetti, chicken rice dishes, etc. However, TVP comes in many flavors and though I can’t stand the bacon bits, I like using some. My kids eat some flavors straight. So, loosen up, learn to cook it right and mix it so it is NOT the star player in the dish, and you can have a successful TVP experience. Good luck!

February 24, 2010 at 1:57 pm
(25) Andrew says:

TVP is great!!!makes good of Anything. it does taste like Cardboard if u eat it solo. Jst mix it with some sauces or sesoing let the TVP absorbe the souces!!!!

August 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm
(26) Lindsay says:

As for TVP, I do not condone OR condemn its use… I use it, albeit very infrequently due to the estrogen levels, and also its nutrient-binding properties. If done correctly, you can make wonderful meals out of it.

In regards to the above comment of cheap beef. People should not be eating meat in the quantities they do, and when meat becomes more affordable than veggies, you should be highly concerned. Cheap meat can only be produced by factory farming.. improperly fed, diseased stock crammed in quarters and standing knee-deep in feces. A documentary everyone should see… http://www.foodincmovie.com/

February 22, 2011 at 10:27 am
(27) Barbara Noon says:

Thank you #(11) – Ivy! The article makes sense.

March 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm
(28) Laura says:

I think TVP is great. I love to cook and have never had a problem using it to substitute ground meat and feeding it to everyone from vegans to meat & potato types. Boiled hamburger doesn’t taste good so why would boiled TVP? And thanks for your insightful comment, Lindsay!! The idea of beef for $1.88/lb is frightening.

June 1, 2011 at 9:35 pm
(29) Tabitha says:

Honestly? I love TVP meats. I’ve stopped buying premade meats and I make my own. (and for those who are complaining that it tastes bad, Do you know 60% of premade mock meats (boca AND Morningstar) are made with this?
Seitan is also pretty good, however its pretty chewy and alot of people dont like the chewiness texture of it.
TVP plain DOES taste horrible and like cardboard.
However, soaked in sauces and spices its very yummy!

June 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm
(30) frugalandhappy says:

TVP is NOT healthy! Although it is made from soybeans, most of the soybeans are now GMO, and/or heavily dosed with weed killers. Additionally, most TVPs contain high levels of salt and MSG.

March 30, 2012 at 9:41 am
(31) Dee says:

Seasoned TVP are the ones you have to be careful about MSG and additives, but the plain ones only have Textured vegetable soy protein – no added ingredients. It gives you the ability to season it to your taste. We have had much SUCCESS with TVP in our cooking classes. It’s just a matter of knowing how to season it. Soak the TVP in water mixed with 2 T. Nama shoya (unpasteurized soy sauce), Beef-style seasonings, salt and your favorite herbs – I love Cumin in mine. After the water has absorbed, saute with a little garlic, onions. Add bell peppers, if desired. Use in your favorite Chili’s, meatloafs, stir-frys – it’s very good.

October 15, 2012 at 8:50 pm
(32) Sarah says:

I am a vegan and use TVP in my food pretty often, adding it to veggie burgers, pasta sauce, chili… etc, taste great to me! and I agree with Ivy (11) it is definitely better for you than to consume meat. All these “study researches” about unhealthy soy products are just the promotion of meat industry! (unfortunately)

March 9, 2013 at 3:51 am
(33) Tara says:

well, I am confused, because my family eats it! as does my mom and her hubby, my mother in law and a few others that I know. BUT the catch is that I took a lot of time to develop some really good recipes that we all use. TVP does take a little prep to make it taste good, but if you take the time to learn how to cook it, you can.

May 4, 2013 at 11:12 am
(34) Herb says:

TVP………..Should Never Be Consumed By Humans Because It`s Made From “Soy” (Soybeans) To Make TVP They Soak The Soybeans In Water…….No!!! They Soak The Beans In A Petroleum Chemical Called “HEXANE” A By-Product Of Refining Gasoline! I`m A Vegan And Would Never Put TVP On My Plate. Firends The EPA List “HEXANE” As An Air Pollutant And A “NEUROTOXIN” You Know A “Neurotoxix SUPPRESSES YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM” Did You Also Know That “SOY” Is An “ANTI-NUTRIENT” I Could Go On And On, Imagine Giving An Anti- Nutrient….To A “BABY” In The Form Of Soy Milk….REALLY!

God Bless You On Your Journey To Good Health…..Herb

January 31, 2014 at 11:44 pm
(35) TVP is great! says:

I just read over the anti-tvp comments on this page.

I’ve been eating TVP for 20 years, and have researched all the anti-tvp claims.

Basically, they boil down to complete nonsense.

Please do your research yourself, and *pay attention to the sources*. There are a lot of wingnuts out there – even some very articulate, educated people – who simply don’t understand even the most basic science behind their pet food dogmas.

TVP is good.

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