When I got to the States I had a hard time finding TVP or anyone who knew what it was so I thought I'd do a brief tutorial on TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein). It is literally just made out of soy beans (usually nothing else listed on the ingredients) and is a great and cheap substitute for ground/mince meat. It's much cheaper than the ready made vegan meat substitutes, and well worth it if you're adding it to something that already has a lot of flavour. It also comes in a variety of sizes so you can use it in your pasta sauces, soups, chillies, nachos & tacos etc.
TVP comes dry so you need to soak it in hot water (I use the measurement of 1 cup TVP to 1 Cup boiling water). It will double in volume. I let it soak in a bowl with a tea towel covering until it soaks up all the water (around 15-20mins).
TVP doesn't taste like anything, so if you want to substitute if for ground/minced beef or chicken etc you just use the appropriate flavour vegan stock (and amount of stock) when you soak it.
If I'm using it in a soup or sauce I'll just add it straight in once the TVP has soaked up the water/stock and it will soak up the flavour of that sauce or soup.
If I'm using it as taco/nacho mince then I'll fry it with some onion and taco seasoning. It will brown if you fry it and become chewier.
Because it tastes like nothing on it's own you can add it to anything and it will never over power the dish. It will just make it more heartier.
It's hard to use TVP in place of ground/minced meat for the purposes of burger patties or anything that needs to bind because it won't bind the same way. If you need it for this purpose I recommend buying vegan sausages/hot dogs and blending them in a food processor as they will already have binding qualities added to them.
You can buy it online or from health food stores.
And that concludes my mini-tutorial on TVP - a vegan's friend :)
My recipes for TVP in;
Spag Bol with Beans