Textured vegetable protein

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File:Textured vegetable protein.jpg
Dry TVP flakes are an inexpensive protein source when purchased in bulk and can be added to a variety of vegetarian dishes or used as a supplement to bulk out a meat dish.
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Textured soy chunks

Textured or Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP), also known as Textured Soy Protein (TSP) is a meat substitute made from defatted soy flour, a by-product of making soybean oil. It is quick to cook, high in protein, and low in fat.

Manufacturing process

TVP is made through a process known as "extrusion cooking". A dough is formed from high PDI (Protein Dispersibility Index) defatted soy flour and water in a "preconditioner" (mixing cylinder) and cooked during passage through the barrel of a screw type extruder such as the Wenger. Sometimes steam from an external source is employed to aid in the cooking process.

Upon exiting the die, superheated steam escapes, rapidly producing an expanded, spongy yet fibrous lamination of thermoplastic soy flour which takes on the various shapes of the die as it is sliced into granules, flakes, chunks, goulash, steakettes (schnitzel), etc., by revolving knives, and then dried in an oven. Had the raw material been high in carbohydrates, extrusion cooking could have produced puffed corn curls or puffed wheat.[1]

Textured vegetable protein was patented in three parts; a process patent, a product patent and a use patent. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) held the product patent and trademarked the trade name TVP. The trade name TSP for textured soy protein is trademarked and held by Legacy Foods, LLC. ADM's ownership came from work by William Thomas Atkinson. A.E. Staley corporation held the use patent and Ralston Purina corporation held the process patent. All of these patents have expired or have been held inapplicable to current use.

Several manufacturers world wide now manufacture and sell extruded "textured" soy protein marketed under a wide array of trade names.


TVP made from soy flour contains 50% soy protein and needs to be rehydrated before use, at a weight ratio of 1:2 with water. However, TVP when made from soy concentrate contains 70% protein and can be rehydrated at a ratio of 1:3. It can be used as a meat replacement or supplement. The extrusion technology changes the structure of the soy protein, resulting in a fibrous spongy matrix that is similar in texture to meat.

When stored dry at room temperature TVP has a shelf life of more than a year, but after rehydration it should be used at once or stored for no more than three days in the refrigerator. It is usually rehydrated with cold or hot water, but a bit of vinegar or lemon juice can be added to quicken the process.

TVP can replace ground beef in most recipes, completely or partly. It is high in protein and low in fat and sodium. It is also a good source of fibre and isoflavones.

Textured vegetable protein comes as small dry chunks or flakes when bought in bulk. It has little flavor of its own and needs to be rehydrated and flavored (both can be accomplished in the same step), then added to cooking.


Textured vegetable protein is a versatile substance, different forms allowing it to take on the texture of whatever meat it is substituting for. Using textured vegetable protein, one can make vegetarian or vegan versions of traditionally meat-based dishes such as chili, sloppy joes, tacos or burgers.

Textured vegetable protein can be found in natural food stores and larger supermarkets, usually in the bulk section.

TVP is also very lightweight, and is often used in backpacking recipes. TVP is often used in prisons for several reasons. Its low relative cost, high protein, and low fat qualities make it ideal, as does its relatively long shelf life, which allows institutions to buy in bulk.


  1. "American Soybean Association: Extrusion" (pdf).

See also

External links

de:Texturiertes Soja nl:Textured Vegetable Proteine fi:Soijarouhe