Cooking With Meatless Crumbles or Textured Vegetable Protein

Sicilian Supper
Linda Larsen

If you are a vegetarian or just looking to eat less meat, there are a lot of options for you. You can load your diet with vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. If you are looking for some other options, you might be ready to try textured vegetable protein, also known as TVP, textured soy protein, or meatless crumbles. This vegetarian product looks similar to ground meat. It has the same crumbly texture and is a very versatile option for cooking.

What is Textured Vegetable Protein?

TVP is a manmade product that was invented by an agricultural processing company in the 1960's. It is made from a by-product of extracting soybean oil and can contain between 50 to 70 percent soy protein. It's created by extruding the soy protein, which results in a material with a texture similar to meat. It can be formed in a variety of shapes, including chunks, flakes, nuggets, or strips. In its dehydrated form, textured vegetable protein is very lightweight. It is often used in emergency preparedness kits or in camping meals.

How to Cook with TVP

Some household brands have created TVP crumbles that are sold in either dry or seasoned forms. The dry variety comes in a sealed container and must be rehydrated prior to use. It can be boiled like pasta or cooked into the recipe. Seasoned TVP will come with seasonings already added. For example "beef flavored" TVP will taste and look similar to ground beef. TVP can be found in many natural food stores or larger grocery stores. When you cook with TVP, you don't have to worry about cross-contamination in your kitchen or expiration dates on the meat. It's best to taste a few varieties of TVP and decide what brand and form you like best. Some people find that TVP can be a little sweet, so keep that in mind as you use it.

When cooking with TVP, a great place to start is your favorite recipes that use ground meat. You can try them using meatless crumbles. This is an easy swap that will have a lot of health (and environmental benefits).

Cooking With Meatless Crumbles Recipe Ideas

Beyond your favorite ground meat recipes, try some of these. If the recipe has ground meat, just replace the same amount of ground meat with textured vegetable protein