Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is made from soy beans ground into a flour after their oil has been extracted. The flour is mixed with water, then extruded to heat and expand the dough. Air is added, which helps to give a fibrous, spongy texture. TVP can be bought dried as mince in leading health food shops. When unflavored, it tastes very bland, but is good to add other flavorings to.
Ever since TVP was introduced in the 1960s, it has been used as a meat extender by large caterers. TVP is also a common ingredient in many ready-made dishes such as vegetarian sausages and burgers. The vegetable protein is a good source of fiber, is fortified with vitamin B12 and is very low in fat.
To cook TVP, soak it in water or vegetable stock according to the packet instructions. Use it in well-flavored casseroles, pies, sauces or stews. Although it is similar to tofu, TVP is more processed.
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