A Healthy Meat Substitute

Deborah Taylor-Hough

What if I told you I'd found a food you can use like meat that's not only dirt cheap, but also healthier than many other food items on the market? You'd probably think I also had some swamp land in Florida to sell you cheap.

Well, TVP (texturized vegetable protein) is the "wonder" food in question. TVP is basically an inexpensive, relatively tasteless meat substitute which can be added to many dishes you're probably already fixing for your regular family meals.

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TVP's texture is similar to that of ground meat, it's very low in fat and has no cholesterol. Since TVP is nearly tasteless, it absorbs the flavor of whatever you're cooking. I've found TVP tends to work best in fairly spicy dishes rather than bland recipes. We use TVP in spaghetti sauce, chili, soups, Sloppy Joes, skillet meals and tacos. For skeptical family members, you can even try sneaking TVP into your recipes mixed half-and-half with ground beef or turkey. The first time I snuck it into spaghetti sauce, my family commented on how good the meal was ... and no one suspected that the meat-like granules in the sauce weren't ground beef or sausage.

TVP comes in dry form (several different shapes/sizes: flakes, chunks, granules) and there are now also several flavored varieties. Since it comes dry, TVP needs to be reconstituted before using. To reconstitute, simply pour one cup boiling water over one cup dry TVP, letting it sit in a bowl until the TVP absorbs all the water (this just takes a couple minutes). If I'm adding TVP to something with a high water content such as spaghetti sauce or soup, I don't bother rehydrating it first since it will absorb the flavorful liquid from the sauce/soup.

I purchase TVP in the bulk food bins at my local health food co-op, but I've also seen it carried in several major grocery store chains. Just call around and find the stores in your local area that carry it.

About The Author: Copyright 1999/2004 Deborah Taylor-Hough
Used with permission. All rights reserved.

--Deborah Taylor-Hough (free-lance writer, wife and mother of three) is the editor of the Simple Times (join-simple-times@hub.thedollarstretcher.com) and Bright-Kids (join-bright-kids@hub.thedollarstretcher.com) email newsletters. Debi's also the author of several books including "Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month" and "A Simple Choice: A Practical Guide for Saving Your Time, Money and Sanity" (Champion Press). Visit Debi at: http://hometown.aol.com/dsimple/

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May 10, 20040 found this helpful

I HAVE USED TVP ON AND OFF FOR YEARS. I LOVE HOME MADE CHILI AND I ALWAYS USE TVP IN IT!!

ALSO, I USE IT IN SPAGHETTI. WITH ALL THE MAD COW NEWS WE HEAR I AM SO HAPPY THAT I FOUND

THIS YEARS AGO.

THANKS FOR A WONDERFUL ARTICLE. HOPE READERS WILL GIVE IT A TRY. THEY HAVE IT HERE AT

KROGERS IN KY. AND ALL THE HEALTH FOOD STORES CARRY IT!!

WOULD LOVE TO HEAR MORE GOOD HEALTHY FOOD

HINTS LIKE THIS ONE.

THANKS,

GERI

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May 11, 20040 found this helpful

I'm a happy, healthy carnivore but even I don't need to eat meat at every meal. I discovered TVP a couple of years ago and, as noted, have found it fantastic for chili. At potlucks at work, where there are some veggiphiles, I provide a meatless chili as an alternative.

Thumbs up!

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May 15, 20050 found this helpful

Thank you for posting this article! Now I too have discovered the joy that is TVP! I've already used it in spaghetti sauce, I'm ready to try making "burgers" next with it. We only have the small granule variety here where I live, I can't wait to find the flavored and chunk styles.

I was pretty much delighted the first time I poured boiling water into the granules and right before my eyes I had a bowl of "ground beef". My wife and kids couldn't tell it was anything but meat in the sauce (I let my wife in on the secret).

I've found it for $1.99 (for the first pound I tried) then at another store for $1.59 a pound (so we bought 2 more pounds).

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November 2, 20050 found this helpful

Would Any one know if SHAW's or HANNAFORD carries TVP? thanks Annette

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March 2, 20060 found this helpful

Oh, how cool! I'm giving up meat for lent, and it upset my father because he doesn't want me only eating sides, and he didn't know of any substitutes. This helps alot, thank you! ^.^

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June 10, 20060 found this helpful

I tried using this years ago, and several times since. Quite frankly, I ate it, but I didn't really like it. It was best in spicy things (spaghetti, chili taco meat, etc)--to cover the taste. I bought plain TVP, and YES, it does have a distinctive taste to it that I simply did not like.

However, I've also tried flavored TVP. It also comes in beef and chicken flavors, which are much better in my estimate. I think it's best when added to meat and used as a meat extender. While most meals will still contain some meat, this drastically brings the price of meals down.

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June 10, 20060 found this helpful

I will definitely have to try this, but I don't recall seeing it in stores. Do you only find tvp in health food stores?

By the way, has anyone here tried vegetarian turkey?

I've loved vegetarian turkey sandwiches since I got

one out of a vending machine at a Seventh Day Adventist hospital when I was a teenager. The slices used to only come in a can. Now they have them in the produce section at Publix. I just use them the same as I would turkey from the deli.

I tried some vegetarian canned meat product that was supposed to be like beef. Honestly, it looked like Alpo dog food and tasted horrible. I wonder if anyone can recommend some good vegetarian products. I'm not a vegetarian. I just enjoy the variety.

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June 10, 20060 found this helpful

We got veggie burger mix (may be the same thing) but it seemed to be better used in our house to stretch ground meats, like for meatballs or loaf. We could never go vegan exclusively, but it was nice to have the extra soy protien and stretch our dollar more!

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June 10, 20060 found this helpful

TVP sounds very interesting to me! Is it available in Canada as well as the USA?I live in Western Canada and would like to try it.

Thanks

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June 11, 20060 found this helpful

Someone asked (quite a while ago) if Hannaford carried TVP. The Hannafords in my area do, in the bulk section of the Natural Foods section.

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June 17, 20060 found this helpful

i think this is exciting info I wish more people knew about as it could make an impact on less animals being slaughtered!

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