In most cases, the TVP falls apart into a granules. You can use a thickening agent such a egg and breadcrumbs to get it to stick together if you wanted to use it as a substitute for meatballs or as a meatloaf. When used straight, it’s best used in recipes where the ground meat is expected to be finely ground—such as in vegetarian tacos or these vegetarian sloppy joes.
TVP is fragile. When buying it at the grocery store, try to find the largest flakes you can get. This will get you the closest texture to ground meat. TVP by Bob’s Red Mill consistently has the largest flake size that I’ve found. I recommend their brand and I use it frequently. It’s also pretty easy to find in the grocery store in either the organic/natural food section or in the baking aisle.
How do I cook with Textured Vegetable Protein?
TVP can be prepared and used in nearly any recipe that calls for ground meat. For each pound of meat required by your recipe, use 1 cup of dried TVP. Start with a little less than cup of very hot liquid—preferably boiling. This liquid can be water, broth, or sauce. Add to that 1 cup of dried TVP and stir well. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.
Stir again after the 10 minute wait and your TVP is ready to use. Be gentle. It’s very easy to turn it into a mash. I recommend using a fluffing or a folding method to stir so you don’t break up the crumbles.
When using TVP as a substitute for ground beef, I like to use at least 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce in the liquid to get that beefy flavor soaked in. For chicken or turkey, I add about a 1/4 teaspoon of dried sage and crushed rosemary to the liquid before I bring it to a boil. Finally, for any uses where a smoky charbroiled flavor is needed, use a dash or two of liquid smoke.
How long does it keep and can I make it in advance?
You can make textured vegetable protein in advance, but since it takes so little time to prepare it, I don’t really recommend it for a tiny kitchen. Mostly because it will just take up precious space. Prepared textured vegetable protein will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 to 5 days. Store it in a well sealed container because it’s very easy for it to pick up extra flavors from the fridge.
If you’re planning on preparing and storing it, it’s recommended to bake the crumbles. Spread out the prepared TVP on a baking sheet and bake at 325℉ for about 20 minutes. Toss and flip them halfway through. This will dry out your mix and will help reduce freezer burn. Let it fully cool then pack it up for the freezer.