What is TVP?
When I first became vegetarian and then vegan, textured vegetable protein – TVP or soya chunks was about the only meat replacement I could get hold of locally.
You could and can get it either flavoured or unflavoured and in either chunks or mince.
As a dried replacement, it lasts for ages and grows when “rehydrated”. It’s brilliant as soaking up flavours and the cheapest meat replacement out there.
Admittedly, it doesn’t look all that appetising, but it tastes just fine.
Is TVP good for you?
It’s low in fat and calories and high in fibre. It’s a complete protein too.
But, it’s also highly processed and so some people may wish to avoid it. It’s good in moderation, like most things in my view
What’s so bad about soya?
The UK imports ton tonnes of soya a year – estimates state thirty to sixty per cent of this is from sustainable sources. One per cent of the UK population is vegan – so it stands to reason we are not the main consumer of all that soya.
Seventy per cent of the soya imports in 2018 came from soya meal – in other words, animal feed.
We also import soya oil and animal products which have already ingested soya.
It’s all explained here
Soya imports are responsible for 47 per cent of the European Union deforestation footprint. Palm oil is responsible for a minute 10 per cent in comparison – yes, soya is a more devastating crop than palm oil – but it’s down to the meat industry, not veganism.
Can soya be grown in the UK?
Yes, in short.
Check out this page from Soya UK – http://www.soya-uk.com/soya/
I would go as far as saying, as vegans are just one per cent of the population, the UK could grow enough soya to feed us easily – it’s the animal agriculture industry which is consuming it all.
Why do I love TVP?
It’s cheap. In fact, in some good independent health food shops, you can buy it as a refill and measure out how much you need.
It lasts for ages in the cupboard.
It’s so adaptable – the mince is good for bolognaise, chilli, shepherd’s pie etc
The chunks are great in a curry, or with pasta – I rehydrate them and fry them with garlic and in soya sauce sometimes – or Henderson’s Relish. And just serve with rice.
I also like to rehydrate unflavoured TVP chunks in vegetable stock, stir fry with onion, mushrooms and broccoli and mix with penne or pasta shells using vegan mayo or pesto as the sauce depending on my mood. A good grind of black pepper also adds a nice kick.
Incidentally, when I did the Ration Challenge last year – Read about it here – I chose TVP as my extra protein rather than tofu as, unhydrated, you get much more TVP for the allowed weight than you do tofu and it lasts longer too.