Textured vegetable protein, also known as TVP, is a manufactured soy product. The generic name is Total Soy Protein, or TSP, which is actually a more accurate description since it contains a derivative of soybeans rather than actual vegetables. TVP is a trademarked brand name that has become the frequent identifier.
TVP is frequently used as a meat replacement, or in some cases, a meat extender. It has a texture that resembles ground beef, so it’s an ideal meat substitute in spaghetti sauces, chili, tacos and even hamburgers. TVP can also be used as an additive in meat dishes to help a little meat go a long way.
TVP is a factory-made food that originates from a soy protein isolate. The process involves separating the protein from the whole soybean. During this process, a slurry of soybeans is mixed with an alkaline solution that removes the fiber, which is separated from the protein in a large aluminum tank through an acid wash. The final product is a curd, which is then spray-dried at high temperatures. This results in a protein powder, which is put through a high-temperature and high-pressure process in a machine called an extruder. The result is TVP.