How to Use Textured Vegetable Protein: A Comprehensive Guide

By: Bob's Red Mill | September 4 2021

If you've yet to hear of textured vegetable protein, you're not alone. Textured vegetable protein, also known as TVP, is a common ingredient used by plant-based cooks to recreate the meaty texture of traditional comfort food recipes. Used to make everything from vegan lasagna to plant-based chili, knowing how to cook with TVP will undoubtedly take your plant-based meals to the next level. To help you get started, we've asked the Bob's Red Mill Food experts to share their favorite textured vegetable protein recipes as well as tips on how to cook with it properly. Keep scrolling to learn more about this vegan meat alternative.

How to Rehydrate Textured Vegetable Protein

When made, textured vegetable protein is extracted from soybeans, filtered and processed to create a protein-rich flour or paste. That flour is then heated and pushed through a machine nozzle to create different shapes like strips, chunks and flakes that are then cooled and dehydrated to use in cooking.

When learning how to cook with TVP, you must first rehydrate it in liquid. Luckily, rehydrating textured vegetable protein is incredibly easy. To rehydrate your TVP, pour boiling water or broth over the desired amount and let it soak for 5-10 minutes, or until it's reached the desired texture. Because textured vegetable protein is quite bland on its own, we recommend rehydrating it with a broth to boost its flavor before combining it with a meal.

Don't feel like pulling out the pots and pans? Textured vegetable protein can also be cooked in a microwave oven. To do so, place your TVP in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and cook on high for 5-6 minutes. For the best results, check the TVP after 2 minutes of cooking to see if it needs more liquid. Once prepared, textured vegetable protein will keep in the refrigerator for several days. For more extended storage, freeze the cooked TVP and thaw it later in the microwave or refrigerator. 

How to Add Textured Vegetable Protein to Recipes

There are several ways to cook with textured vegetable protein. Keep scrolling to discover a few of the most common ways to use this high-protein ingredient. We're confident that after mastering these methods, you'll begin cooking with TVP regularly.

Use TVP to Replace Ground Beef

Vegetarian chili con carne with lentils, beans, lime, jalapeno

Textured vegetable protein is most commonly used as a vegan meat alternative. Because its texture closely resembles meat, TVP can be used in similar ways that ground beef would be. Work it into a delicious chili recipe or use it as a meat replacement in homemade lasagna. Adding TVP to your plant-based recipes will boost protein and texture while also adding bulk to a meal. 

Use TVP as a Meat Extender

When it's not used as a meat alternative, textured vegetable protein is commonly added to meat-based recipes as an extender. Used to thicken soups and add heartiness to burgers, adding TVP is a great way to bulk up a meal on a budget—which is why it's a common ingredient in many processed store-bought foods. The next time you visit your supermarket, check the ingredients on some of your favorite pre-made foods, and you'll likely find TVP listed as one of them. Additionally TVP has a long shelf life, which means that you won't have to worry about it spoiling before you have the chance to use it all.

Use TVP to Provide a Boost of Protein

Soya Vegan burger on wooden background with vegetables

Aside from being used as a meat alternative and extender, textured vegetable protein is widely known for adding a significant protein boost to meals. Because of this, it's commonly added to health food bars, cereal and even sprinkled on salad to increase the nutritional contents of foods. When cooking with textured vegetable protein, we encourage you to get creative! Smoothies, sauce and even pancakes are all delicious recipes that you can work TVP into for an added protein boost.

Now that you know more about the many ways you can use textured vegetable protein, it's time to put that knowledge to the test. We've tested several different TVP-based recipes at Bob's Red Mill and found a few that we love. For a boost of inspiration, check out these 5 Satisfying Recipes That Use Textured Vegetable Protein. From burgers to breakfast sausage, we're confident they won't disappoint. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, we hope you have a tasty food-filled day!

Know of another fun way to use textured vegetable protein? We'd love to hear more about how you work this plant-based ingredient into your homemade recipes. Let us know the many ways you cook with TVP in the comments below. We can't wait to hear from you!



  1. Teresa
    New vegan. How to cook with TVP?
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Here's the basic prep instructions! You can use them in place of cooked ground meat in all kinds of recipes, from tacos to casseroles.

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