How to Calculate TVP

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TVP is made from soybeans by an intensive industrial process.
TVP is made from soybeans by an intensive industrial process. (Image: Soy beans on green leaf image by Monika 3 Steps Ahead from Fotolia.com)

TVP, or Textured Vegetable Protein, is a registered trademark for a shelf-stable, protein-rich soy product made by Archer Daniels Midland. It is used as a meat substitute or a long-lived emergency provision. TVP is reconstituted by adding specific amounts of water, which are easily calculated for the desired recipe. It can be purchased in bulk or repackaged by third-party companies in health food stores, some supermarkets and online.

Calculate the correct TVP reconstitution amount. One ounce of dried TVP pellets reconstitutes to the equivalent of about 3 ounces of ground beef in a recipe. To make a recipe that uses 1 pound of ground beef, for instance, measure out 5.3 ounces of dry TVP. The dry measure of this is about one cup.

Place the dry TVP into a microwave-safe bowl. To each cup of TVP, add one cup water. Stir together just to combine.

Substitute for ground beef. Calculate the amount to use using a 1:1 ratio of prepared, hydrated TVP for ground beef.

To add flavor, optionally add one boullion cube to the mixture. To add color and simulate the dark brown of ground beef, you can also add one-half teaspoon cocoa powder per cup of TVP. This amount will not make your dish taste like chocolate. Chili powder or paprika will also darken the color of the dish, but will also add their distinctive flavors to it. Place the bowl in a microwave oven and cook for six to 10 minutes.

Tips & Warnings

  • After TVP has been reconstituted, it is no longer shelf stable. Store in refrigerator for no longer than a few days, as you would any cooked leftovers.
  • TVP can be used as a meat substitute in a vegetarian diet, but it cannot be considered a whole food or a natural food because of the extensive processing required to produce it.
  • Much of the soy grown in the United States is GMO, or genetically modified.

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