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TVP, or textured soy protein,is a meat substitute made from soy flour. The product is used in many types of frozen and canned vegetarian products found in health food stores and other retail locations. TVP is also available as a stand-alone product, and can be substituted for ground beef in many recipes.
Only soybeans that have gone through a process to remove the fat are used in the creation of textured vegetable protein. The flour is formed and dehydrated, leaving a substance that has the general appearance of ground beef that has been crumbled and browned. While the fat content is reduced greatly, the product retains all the other nutrients found in soybeans. This helps make this meat substitute an excellent source of vegetable proteins that can help fuel the body and promote good digestion.
A key advantage to the use of TVP is that the texture of the product. Because the texture is very similar to that of ground beef, the meat substitute works very well in recipes for stews, soups, casseroles, spaghetti sauces and even meatless hamburgers. While no one will confuse the taste of TVP with ground beef, the product absorbs flavors readily from spices and herbs. This attribute, when coupled with the familiar texture, makes it possible to prepare meatless dishes that are tasty and satisfying.
For people who do not like to cook, there are a number of frozen and canned products that use TVP to create meat-like entrees. There are canned patties that are somewhat like Salisbury steaks, as well as other products that are shaped and flavored to resemble beefsteaks, hamburger patties, and even sausage patties. For frozen entrees, textured vegetable protein is found in meatless meat loaves, lasagna, frozen spaghetti sauces, and a number of canned soups and stews.
Cooks who prefer to prepare meals at home can also find TVP available in bags and containers that resemble milk cartons. This dry product can be re-hydrated by adding water or vegetable bullion and then added to casseroles or combined with binders to form patties suitable for baking or pan frying. This protein product is also ideal for inclusion in homemade sauces, soups, and stews.
There are a number of recipe books on the market today that make it possible to prepare long-time favorites using TVP. While the product does tend to cost slightly more than ground beef, the shelf life is considerably longer, and the fat and cholesterol content are much less. At the same time, textured vegetable protein is an excellent source of nutrition. For people who want to cut back or eliminate red meats from their diet, TVP is an excellent option.