Fresh meat spoils quickly on the trail, canned and pouched versions are heavy enough to carry, freeze-dried meat expensive and you do not have a dehydrator yet. What to do? Textured Vegetable Protein is an excellent alternative to meat for using on a backpacking trip.
What is TVP?
According to the USA Emergency Supply data, “TVP is a food product made from soybeans. It is produced from soy flour after the soybean oil has been extracted, then cooked under pressure, extruded, and dried.” TVP contains absolutely no meat that makes it suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
TVP nutritional benefits
The nutritional credentials of TVP are impressive:
It’s all-natural and has almost no fat or cholesterol;
It’s high in protein;
Contains minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and all 8 amino acids;
It’s lightweight and can’t spoil;
It’s easy to use and inexpensive.
One serving of dry product (1/4 cup or 0.8oz) contains 80Cal, 12g of protein, 7g of carbohydrates and 4g of fiber!
TVP and gluten
Some varieties and flavors could be derived from corn, wheat, barley or oats. In addition, the flavored versions can have modified food starch, soy sauce, or other seasonings that may contain gluten. So, check the labels carefully.
Trail Cooking With TVP
Textured Vegetable Protein comes in a variety of sizes, flavors, and textures. It can appear in chunks, granules, slices, flakes or bits. This dried product can be quickly reconstituted in equal amount of cold or hot water and rehydration time largely depends on the size of TVP you are cooking with. Adding a little of tomato sauce, lemon juice or vinegar helps to speed up rehydration if you are in a rush.
TVP can be used in a variety of dishes and recipes from pasta Bolognese to Stroganoff or curry. There are some recipes you may want to try on your next trip:
No Chicken Pilaf
1 tablespoon ghee
1 small shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomate paste
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 cup quick-cooking rice
1/4 cup TVP chunks
On the trail:
Melt the ghee in a pot. Add onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft.
Stir in tomato paste and spices. Cook for another 1–2 minutes, and then pour in rice, TVP and 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil. Season to taste with salt.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is done and all liquid is absorbed.
TVP and Mushroom Stroganoff
1/4 cup TVP granules
2 tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms
1 teaspoon dry gravy mix
1 tablespoon milk powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Mix TVP, mushrooms, gravy, milk powder and thyme in a zip-lock bag.
Pack other ingredients separately.
On the trail:
Pour dried Stroganoff mixture into a pot. Add 2/3 cup water, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
Place pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Season to taste.
Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce has thickened.
Serve stroganoff over rice, pasta or mashed potatoes.