Maybe I am a bit slow, but it took me a really long time to figure out what the eff to do with dried TVP. It’s one of those magic vegan things you see everywhere…textured vegetable protein…like nutritional yeast, and I wanted to be in the club too!

Horrid mechanical name aside, my first two attempts were pretty terrible. The first time I had the granulated TVP, the stuff that’s supposed to come out like ground beef. I just threw it into a chili I was making and it came out like gross soggy cardboard. After that I didn’t touch it for 3 years. One day I was at a veggie Chinese food place in Montreal that also sold all the ingredients for their food. After a particularly good Vegan General Tso’s “Chicken” dish I went to buy it and…lo and behold, they had used TVP.

WHAT. I couldn’t escape. So I bought it and vowed to give it another go. This time I knew you had to hydrate it FIRST before adding it to whatever. I poured boiling water over it to let it soak and rehydrate, then flavored. Flavor was delicious, but when I bit into it, it was like an explosion of water in my mouth. Not what I was aiming for.

So, my lovely readers, what have you learned from my TVP failures? The secret to using TVP is:

1 – Put it in a bowl and pour boiling water over it from the tea kettle. Stir so it’s covered and let it sit until rehydrated. Nothing else should be in there yet except water. Depending on the size of the TVP it could need from 1 to 10 minutes. Here is an example of the big cutlets below once they’ve been rehydrated:

2 – Once re-hydrated pour the water out. You can let them cool, or if impatient like me, pour cold water over them to cool them. Now the most important part….SQUEEZE THOSE MOTHERF*CKERS OUT. Use your hands and squish out as much water as you can. They are like little sponges and once they’ve been re-hydrated you want to squeeze out the extra water to make room for your own marinade…and so it doesn’t have the gross water explosion in your mouth effect.

See? That’s not so hard. I don’t know why it took me 5 years to figure this out. Am I the only one? So the summary:

1. Boiling water. Rehydrate!
2. Squeeze water out. No water mouth explosion!

Here are some TVP cutlets marinating:


Anyway…some benefits of TVP…it is really freaking cheap.

I’ve scoured Amazon and found some of the basics:

–Β Dixie Diners’ Club – Chicken (Not!) Strips, 1 lb bag (these are similar to the ones I used for this recipe)
Harmony House Foods Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) Chickenish Chunks (12 oz, Quart Size Jar) (cutlet style)
Minced Textured Vegetable Protein, 1 lb.
Textured Vegetable Protein Chunks, 1 lb.
Butler Soy Curls, 8 oz. Bag (good for making vegan pulled pork)

Some other TVP products I found interesting:

Harmony House Foods TVP Sampler (6 Count, ZIP Pouches) for Cooking, Camping, Emergency Supply, and More
Bacon Flavored TVP (haha what)
TVP Sloppy Joe Mix

In Germany I always find TVP cheap at my local Asia Market, I think that would hold true in the States as well. Here’s some places you can buy TVP online in Germany:

Veganz Soja Medallions
Veganz Soja SchnetzelVeganz Soja Granulat

There’s also this nifty TVP CookbookΒ with recipes galore!

You’re a TVP master now, but not sure what to make with it? How about Mustard Marinated Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) Cutlets?

Here’s a photo teaser to get you hungry…

Want more veggie meat? Try my How to Make Seitan: An Illustrated Guide post or the Vegan Nom Noms’ Cook App, How to Make Seitan Edition to get 10+ vegan meat recipes with illustrated guides on your smartphone! Ready to take on vegan cheese? Then my Vegan Cheesemaking Guide may help!