How Is Textured Soy Protein Made

Following a plant-based diet is anything but boring. In fact, if you recently transitioned to plant-based, chances are you’re trying more foods (and recipes) than ever before. Knowing what foods to substitute in to create your favorite meals might seem challenging at first. However, once you figure out a few meat alternatives that you genuinely enjoy, making vegan and vegetarian versions of your favorite dishes becomes easy.

Choosing a meat substitute that satisfies your nutritional needs and flavor preferences is key to creating a recipe that you love. Instead of filling your plates with a meat substitute overflowing with artificial ingredients and preservatives, we recommend sticking to a more wholesome choice like textured soy protein. If you have ever wondered, “How is textured vegetable protein made?” you have come to the right place. Keep scrolling as the Bob’s Red Mill food experts walk you through how textured soy protein is made and the many different ways you can use it.

What Is Textured Soy Protein?

As one of the first commercially available meat replacements for vegans and vegetarians, textured soy protein is made from a defatted soy flour mixture processed into various shaped pieces and then dehydrated. Dehydrated textured soy protein‘s long shelf life and versatility have made it a favorite amongst plant-based cooks. To cook with textured protein, it has to be rehydrated and used as a meat replacement in many dishes.


Textured vegetable protein is a meat substitute known by many names. Commonly referred to by its initials, TVP, is also called by other names, including textured soy protein, soya chunks and soy meat—and you’ll often find it listed on food labels under all of these names. Because soy is a high-allergen food, in the U.S., all food products that contain it, including textured vegetable protein, must state that they contain soy.

How Is Textured Soy Protein Made?

Now, we mentioned that TVP is made from soy, but how is textured soy protein made? TVP is a food product produced by separating soy protein from the other elements found in soybeans. After separation, while the soy paste is still hot, it’s compressed into various shapes such as flakes, chunks, nuggets and strips. Once it cools, the textured vegetable protein is dehydrated. To use it in recipes, it must be rehydrated before cooking.

What Is Textured Soy Protein Found In?

If you’ve been following a vegetarian diet for some time now, you’ve likely tried textured soy protein before. By itself, textured vegetable protein has a bland flavor, and while it can be enjoyed as is, its light flavor makes it easy to add to diverse cuisines. A common ingredient found in veggie burgers, hot dogs and many other vegetarian meat substitutes, TVP can be mixed with many ingredients and flavorings to imitate the meat products you’re used to eating.

Even if you’re not entirely plant-based, it’s not unusual to find textured soy protein in dishes that contain meat. With a texture so close to meat, it’s often added to meals like pasta as a meat extender making it appear as if the dish has more than it does.

Nutritional Information: Textured Soy Protein

Textured vegetable protein is a highly nutritious soy product. Loaded with protein and low in fat, TVP makes an excellent alternative to meat. Aside from being a vegetarian meat alternative, textured vegetable protein is also safe for those with celiac disease to enjoy as it’s naturally gluten free. Our textured vegetable protein is packaged in our separate, dedicated gluten free facility at Bob’s Red Mill and routinely tested for cross-contamination using R5 ELISA testing protocol to ensure its gluten free status.

While TVP may not add much flavor to your recipes, it will boost the nutritional value. Low in fat and calories, textured soy protein is an excellent source of dietary fiber, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Because soy contains all of the amino acids which the human body cannot synthesize, it’s a complete protein essential to human nutrition.