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The Low-down on Textured Vegetable Protein (with Product Picks and Recipes!)

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Whether you are a seasoned meatless monster, or just dabbling in plant-based foods, chances are you will find yourself craving something traditionally meaty at one time or another. Whether it’s tacos, lasagna or sloppy Joes you’re reminiscing about, the good news is that foregoing meat doesn’t have to mean giving up these classic comfort foods altogether. Textured Vegetable Protein (or “TVP”) is an easy and affordable way to give your favorite meals a facelift, without sacrificing on flavor or texture.

So what exactly is TVP?

TVP is a plant-based meat substitute made from high-protein, defatted soy flour that is pressure cooked and then dried. This versatile ingredient comes in a variety of shapes and sizes including chunks, strips, flakes and granules, with a texture similar to cooked beef or mincemeat. As well as being high in protein and fiber, it is low in fat and cholesterol free, making it a healthy alternative to its animal-based counterparts. TVP’s long shelf life means that it can be kept on hand at all times, and simply re-hydrated as needed for each recipe.

If you’re on the hunt for some tasty TVP, look no further. The following products are all 100% vegan.

1.     Bob’s Red Mill

Bob's red mill TVP

Bob’s Red Mill offer two varieties of TVP flakes, both of which are GMO-free, gluten-free, and certified kosher. Their Organic TVP contains nothing but organic soy, and their High Protein TVP is made from defatted soy flour. No colors, preservatives or additives in sight! Both products are perfect for these Tacos Sin Carne or this Vegan Lasagna, and can be used as a savory filling in these Steamed Chinese Bao with Peanut Butter.

2.     Elianni Veggie Cutlets

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If it’s hearty chunks of TVP you are after, Elianni Veggie Cutlets have got you covered. Made from a combination of non-GMO soy and pinto beans, these cutlets are low in sodium, high in protein, and contain no additives of any kind. Their size and texture make them an excellent filling for these Pineapple Jack BBQ Sandwiches, or as a gluten-free alternative to seitan on this Grilled “Cheesy Mac n’ Rib” Pizza.

3.     Butler Soya Curls

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Butler Soy Curls are made from select, non GMO, whole soybeans, and nothing else. Butler Foods use a low drying temperature to preserve the nutritional quality of the whole soy bean. Their unique shape make them ideal for recipes that require strips of meat, like Fajitas, stir-fries, or this Vegan Chik’n Salad with Cranberries and Pistachios.

4.     Betta Foods TVP

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Betta Foods offer a wide range of TVP products to suit every mock-meat occasion. Their chicken chunks, Soyabeaf® chunks and minced Soyabeaf® are all free from chemical additives, flavors and preservatives, with no added salt or sugar. Perfect for adding texture and taking on flavors in any dish, these products make a great gluten-free substitute for seitan in this Bourguignon and this “Chicken” Green Chili, and Hominy Posole.

 5.      VegeUSA Vegan Pork Shreds  

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VegeUSA’s Vegan Pork Shreds may not look the same as other conventional TVP varieties, but these wonderful little strips of soy and wheat protein can be prepared and used exactly the same way as regular TVP. With no added colors, flavors or chemical preservatives, Vegan Pork Shreds make an exciting addition to Asian-inspired salads, sandwiches and stir fries.

If you loved these recommendations, you can browse through some more amazing product recommendations here!

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