You might see TVP, or texture vegetable protein, labelled in your local grocery store as "soy meat." Made from soy flour, TVP can be used as a ground meat replacement in recipes. You can find TVP in health food stores, vitamin shops and some supermarkets and bulk food stores.
Low Cost and Long Shelf Life
Compared to meat proteins, TVP is extremely cheap. Because the product is sold dried, you can store it for long periods of time. You don’t need to worry about it spoiling or becoming contaminated by bacteria. Once rehydrated, however, it will spoil within days.
TVP is a good alternative for vegetarians who miss the texture of meat. Certain dishes, like tacos, sloppy joes, chili and burritos, are simply not the same without the meat component. TVP can replace beef in all those recipes. Once rehydrated, it has a chewy texture similar to meat.
Bland and Flavorless on its Own
Although some companies sell flavored TVP, most products contain no flavor at all. This means you will need to season them either as you rehydrate them or later as you cook them. Spices and herbs alone sometimes don’t provide enough flavor, and you might need to add sauces or other prepared products in order to make TVP palatable.
Low in Nutritional Value
TVP contains no fat and no cholesterol, and it's low in carbohydrates. However, it’s also very low in nutrients. A 1/4-cup serving of TVP contains just 15 percent of your daily iron needs and only 8 percent of your calcium needs. It contains no other vitamins or minerals, although it does contain some protein, at 12 g per 1/4-cup serving.
- chili con carne image by Silvia Bogdanski from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.