What is Textured Vegetable Protein and How To Use It

T-V-P, It’s as easy as 1-2-3, as simple as Do-Re-Mi, T-V-P…. Sing it!

Now that you have one of the greatest songs ever, in your head, let’s talk about TVP. Textured Vegetable Protein – is a meat substitute that’s been around for a very long time. If you’re used to reading labels, it may sound familiar as one of the main ingredients in meat replacement products such as vegetarian sausages, vegetarian mince and other classic meat-free products.

TVP is basically soy bean meal, or ground up soy beans. You’ll find it in the health food section of the supermarket in packets of dry flakes. It does not look like much but it has great potential in vegetarian and vegan cooking! This is especially true as flavoured TVP is now available, making it a quick and easy meat replacement for Asian, Mexican and Italian meals.

Since Textured Vegetable Protein comes in dry flakes, it needs rehydrating. So to create meat free mince, simply pop TVP in a bowl and cover with the same amount of boiling water (e.g. 1 cup TVP + 1 cup water). Leave it to sit for 5 minutes and voila!

From here, you would add it to a meal whenever you would normally add regular mince. Frying it with some onion and garlic is a good place to start. You could then add tomatoes, oregano and basil for a solid spag bol, or a good dose of smoked paprika, cumin and cinnamon for Mexican stuffed capsicums or taco night; or soy sauce, sesame oil and mirin for a delicious chow mein base.

Not only is it easy to cook with, it’s great for you – high protein, low in saturated fat, high fibre – and it’s very affordable, with a 200g packet of plain Textured Vegetable Protein coming in under $3. This would be enough to make a meal that feeds 8 people!

Also read: 9 Vegetables To Incorporate Into Your Diet To Help Weight Loss

Now you can sing and dance yourself to the shops and then to your kitchen to cook with a bit of TVP (1-2-3, Do-Re-Mi). Below is our 12WBT Vegan Mexican Stuffed Capsicum recipe to get you started!

Serves 4. 373 calories/serve.


  • 1/2 Cups Rice (100g)
  • 100g TVP, Mexican spiced
  • 4 Medium Red Capsicum (560g)
  • 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil (10g)
  • 1/2 Red Onion (73g), chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (8g), thinly sliced
  • 1 Carrot (70g), grated
  • 1 Tablespoons Reduced Salt Soy Sauce (20g)
  • 1 Diced Tomato (400g)
  • 1 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (20g)
  • 8 Tablespoons Hummus (80g)
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (15g)


  1. Pre heat oven to 170C. Line a baking dish with baking paper.
  2. Prepare capsicums by removing the top and seeds. Alternatively, you can slice in half from top to bottom and remove seeds. Place into baking dish.
  3. Cook rice as per packet instructions. Drain well.
  4. While rice is cooking, place 100g of TVP and 1 cup of water into a bowl. Mix gently and set aside for 5 minutes.
  5. Heat a large fry pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic and onion. Stir for 3 minutes.
  6. Add TVP, grated carrot, diced tomatoes and tomato paste to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  7. Stir through rice and remove from heat.
  8. Spoon TVP/rice mixture into capsicums. Dollop hummus on top and place into the oven for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

 Note: In this recipe, we used a Mexican spiced TVP. If you have plain TVP, add 1 Tbsp of Mexican Spice Mix into the fry pan in Step 6.


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