One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Vegan’s Guide to the Universe – Part 3: Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)

Textured Vegetable Protein, also known as TVP, another funny word to add to your vegan vocabulary. It sounds pretty alien but it might be something you have actually already used. If you’ve perused down the frozen food isle of your local grocery store then you’ve probably seen Boca Ground Crumbles as well as Morningstar Farms Griller Crumbles. Both of these are just flavored TVP. It is also the key ingredient in many commercial meat analogs such as veggie burgers, hot dogs, chik’n patties and vegan sausage. See, it's not so alien after all!

TVP is made of dehydrated vegetables (usually soy) and is a protein powerhouse (15 grams of protein in 1 ounce). It has no real taste of it’s own so it is easily adapted to any recipe that you would have used ground flesh for in the past. My favorite places to use TVP are in Manwhich sloppy Joe's ( a favorite from my childhood), Spaghetti and tacos. But the uses for it are limitless. You can make homemade veggie burgers, mock-meat balls, chili, etc.

TVP is dehydrated so it has a very long shelf life (15-20 years !!!). To rehydrate it use a 1:1 ratio of water to TVP. When a recipe calls for a pound of ground flesh you can easily substitute 1 cup of dehydrated TVP in it’s place.

My personal recipe for re-hydrating TVP is:

1 cup TVP
1 cup vegetable stock (dark)
1 tablespoon hickory liquid smoke

Boil the vegetable stock, stir in liquid smoke and pour over TVP. Wait until all the liquid has absorbed (about 5 minutes), fluff with a fork and use in your favorite recipe.

TVP is found in the bulk section of most health food stores and I have begun to see it pop up in small bags in mainstream grocery stores as well, although it tends to be more expensive there.


  1. Hi Alicia,

    I found your blog through Vegan MoFo.

    Is it important to re-hydrate the TVP before you add it to your recipe? Or can you just add the dry crumbles plus the same amount of liquid to your recipe as it cooks?

  2. Hey Zoey, depending on the recipe you can just add it to the recipe with extra liquid. For recipes where you are using it as a ground beef substitute (tacos, manwich, nachos, etc.) I would rehydrate it first. Play around with it on sauces like marinara sauce, just be sure to add a little less than an extra cup of liquid.

  3. Thank you for responding. I am a TVP beginner so I am still trying to figure it out.

  4. My local Kroger carries it in the Morning Star section.

  5. Oh Goodness lol I just add the Manwhich sauce to the TVP. It does taste rubbery. I just assumed it was the same thing as regular meat. Any other suggestions?

  6. Oh no! I usually make this with TVP (maybe adding a little hickory liquid smoke from time to time) and it taste phenomenal to me. I just rehydrate the TVP in dark vegetable stock, add int he optional smoke and then once all the liquid is absorbed stir in the manwich sauce. I hope that helps!

  7. It does thank you...


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