Joined Jan 26, 2001
As a new vegetarian, I have been exploring new meat alternatives with reckless abandon. I cooked a wonderful meal of sweet and sour tofu with sesame green beans.

Then I was reading about TVP, and thought wow, a hamburger substitute, that would be nice.

Ahem. I should have had a clue when one website I found recipes on was a site full or recipes on how to cook during times of emergency rations.

My husband usually eats everything I make, he says I am a good cook. I made TVP "sloppy joes". I added probably twice the seasoning as the recipe called for.

No matter what I did, it still vaguely resembled oatmeal with ketchup. Every spice was absorbed but then never tasted again, even the salt.

Yikes. Has anyone had satisfactory results with TVP, or am I just an optimist? I've used the Morningstar Farms hamburger substitute, and its good, but they use GMOs. I can find TVP that is non-GMO.

Please let me know of possibilities for success!



Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
TVP can be good and bad. Getting good material to start with is critical. Choosing the right dishes is the second trick IMHO. I've also had better results in some dishes with commercial seitan and frozen firm tofu. They can be fairly interchangeable as they are all mainly texture substitutes, not flavor subs.

I don't know how strict a vegetarian you want to be. Most TVP has been saturated with meat extractives for flavor so watch your labels. These also tend to be very high salt.

If you're still tolerant of meat to a degree, you need to rely on quality bases to add the meat flavor or even use some real stuff too, just lots less.

Even without that, spicy ethnic foods tend to be the best in my experience. Chili is usually successful, enchiladas, burritos. Chicken tacos OK, beef lousy. Pork can work. A local vegetarian chinese restaurant does excellent breaded/fried pork dishes in seitan.

If I'm buying flavored TVP, I use these guys. Scroll down, you'll see it. They have an outlet just down the street from me so they're convenient. I've had tolerable results. Better with frozen tofu or Seitan.

Joined Oct 28, 1999
I have used it on school campuses where there was a high % of vegetarians. One of the more popular selections was TVP tacos, smothered underneath all the fixin's. Check out for some creative applications.
In my opinion, it is not so much a substitute for meat, rather an alternative.
Joined May 18, 2005
can I add a little from my personal experience with TVP.
first to use it you have to consider what you want to use
it for, and how it should taste when beginning the dish.

I always reconstitute the tvp first -

a little dr bronners broth, or some chicken broth
if you are not a total vegetarian. then don't forget
that you must add at least 1- 2 tsp of some fat.
my favorites are warm peanut oil, or corn oil;
and even when using it for breakfast sausage patties
I have added butter to it, and an egg white.

you must remember that the consistency of the tvp
will mirror what you use to restore it, to a tofu like
consistency. it's hard to get it there, but here's a
couple more of my tricks

if you microwave. put the tvp, oil, liquid broth all into
a microwave safe glass dish, cover it with a lid;
microwave it on 50% for up to 45secs intervals
until it's crumbly wet texture starts to resemble
grains of tofu, or better put - cooked ground turkey.
I also add tamari or soy sauce to it to help with the

stir it well between heatings to insure even water
absorption and you'll have delicious tender tvp in no time.

HTH - Bon Appetit !!

~RE :bounce:
Joined May 18, 2005
Hi Shimmer
would you like to make your own tvp ?
if so post a reply and I'll post the recipe
in the appropriate folder instead of here
where I know that it's not supposed to be.

Cheers !!
~RE :bounce:
Joined Apr 1, 2005
tofu is a far better alternative. firm tofu can be crumbled and doctored up with spices to your liking and you have the excuse to play around in the kitchen. i have good results using it in conjunction with misos. it colors up nicely and you have a wider range of textures.
tvp tightens up hard when its heated and the texture just sucks anyway. it clearly isnt meat from any planet by looks or flavor. i always thought it resembled nothing so much dont think ill finish that thought.
Joined May 4, 2005
I use TVP for chili, which I rehydrate and simmer in tomato sauce and then add it to the chili stuff, and I also pack on the taco seasoning for my taco salads (one of my favorite things). You can go get a bulk taco seasoning or make you own.

I've also rehydrated TVP with veggie broth and then mixed it with flour and salt and then breaded that with corn flakes. I fried it in earth balance after than and served it with mushroom gravy. OOOH man. That's only to satisfy certain cravings. I don't normally eat like that.

There's really nothing else I use it for, I'd rather use tempeh or tofu for other things. I made my own seitan again the other day, and I like it. You can do anything with it!! If you make your own, you can season it any way you want, other than the traditional soy seasoning.
Joined Apr 1, 2005
actually, that sounds pretty edible harpua! dang.
i seitan rinsed wheat flour gluten?
Joined May 4, 2005
I mix vital wheat gluten with water or broth and then knead it and squeeze the water out. Then, I slice it, flatten it, and boil it in broth. It puffs up nicely and has a good texture. If you rinse it, it would lose some of the flavor. However, I think it is best when you braise it in a dish, like stew or something.

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