Tuesday, February 2, 2010

But Is She Really Thirfty: TVP

A few days ago I found myself at one of my favorite out-of-town grocery stores (Sharp Shopper).  I love their bulk foods (many are organic) and needed to stock up on a few things.  To my surprise, they had TVP there!  I'd heard of TVP before--when you lived a thrifty life and dabbled in vegetarianism it's not a huge surprise.  What IS TVP I hear you ask?  TVP stands for textured vegetable (soy) protein.  Basically, it's dehydrated soy flour that can be flavored (the kind I bought happened to be "hamburger").  Do you like imitation bacon bits?  Yep. That's probably TVP, my friend.  You use it in the same way you would use tofu.  It doesn't have very much flavor on its' own, but cook it with something that has lots of flavor and you add texture, bulk and nutrition!  And it is CHEAP.  It's very light (once again, think of fake bacon bits) and it only cost me under $2 for a POUND of it.  So, here's how I used it tonight with dinner.  As I experiment and learn more I'll continue posting.

I added 3/4 cup of boiling water to 3/4 cup of TVP (don't be TOO jealous of my half-melted awesome bowl).  I let it sit for about 10 minutes (to rehydrate) and then added it to a jar of spaghetti sauce.  Done.  Phew!  I know. I know. There goes my Domestic Goddess award.  It's just that EASY! It does look funky. But really, it adds a lot of nutrition!  And honestly, my boys did not even notice it.  They just gobbled up the spaghetti and asked for 2nds (even my 3 year old loved it).  I grew up with hamburger meat in my spaghetti sauce but I never add it here in an effort to cut cholesterol and cut costs.  I liked it though!  Here's the finished product (with some of the worst homemade garlic breadsticks I've ever made.)  And paper napkins that were leftover from Joey's birthday party.  We never use paper napkins (always cloth)! 


  1. I used TVP in Shepherds Pie once. It wasn't bad. I think I mixed it half and half with ground meat the next time I used it, though. LOL

  2. I use TVP in our chili because Drake is always saying, "You know what would be really good in this chili? MEAT!" lol When I add TVP (or bulgur if I don't have any TVP on hand) he can sometimes be tricked into thinking I actually added turkey or something to the chili. :)

  3. I've heard of TVP for ages, but never tried it.

    For one, I'm not sure where to find it. For another, I'm concerned about what kind of texture it has (grainy, squishy?)

  4. You should be able to find it at any health food type stores or co-ops. It's not grainy. Or squishy really. The bits were so small they really didn't have much texture, kwim?