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Textured vegetable protein or TVP is gaining in popularity and it has every reason to be! In addition to being an excellent source of protein, it also has the advantage of being very economical and versatile in the kitchen. TVP is a perfect substitute for ground meat in your favourite recipes and helps make your meals more plant-based!
TVP is produced from soy flour that has been cooked through pressurization, has had most of its fat removed (65%), been extruded and then dehydrated to ensure the best storage. It comes in different forms: chopped, granules of various sizes, in patties and sometimes even in strips.
It is a food that has undergone various transformations but it consists of only one ingredient so it can be part of a balanced diet especially since its nutritional profile is very beneficial: high in protein, fiber and low in fat. It is a great item to have in your cooking repertoire.
A serving of 1/2 cup, or about 50 g of TVP, provides 24 g of protein (compared to 50 g of ground beef which provides 13.5 g of protein). It also provides 9 g of fiber and 0.5 g of fat, plus more than 40% of your daily iron needs.
This textured plant protein can easily be purchased in the organic section of traditional grocery stores, health grocery stores and even bulk grocery stores.
TVP must be rehydrated before being consumed. In order to do this, for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking with this product, you can rehydrate it in an equivalent volume of boiling water or broth. If you see that the TVP still appears dry, gradually add some extra fluid.
Once rehydrated, it will have doubled in volume and you can replace the meat in a recipe with TVP according to the 1:1 ratio.
If you don’t want to rehydrate it in advance, you can also incorporate it dry into recipes that contain a liquid such as a broth or tomato sauce. Remember that the TVP will absorb the liquid so make sure to adjust the recipe as needed.
You can also use TVP in a slow cooker. In this case, liquid should be added as an equivalent amount to the dry TVP used.
TVP perfectly replaces the minced meat in tacos, chili, sauces, lasagna… I also like to use it to make veggie burgers.
Don’t forget that TVP doesn’t have much taste so it’s up to you to flavor it according to your desires!
TVP keeps very well but be careful because it still contains 35% oil so it can turn rancid if you do not store it properly. You’ll therefore need to store your TVP in a dry place and keep it at room temperature. Once the package is opened, it should be put in an airtight container. You can still keep it for up to 6 to 9 months.
Once rehydrated, it will not keep for more than three days in the refrigerator.
The bad news is that even a small amount of 15 g of textured vegetable protein is rich in FODMAPs, more precisely in GOS (galacto-oligosaccharides) and fructanes. So, if you’re on a diet low in FODMAPs or you’ve discovered that you don’t tolerate GOS or fructans well, I advise you to stay away from TVP. Use tofu or tempeh instead to add more veggies to your recipes, and as a meat-substitute.
*FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that are partly responsible for causing symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For more info, read this article.