Trail Cooking With: Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)

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
TVP and Mushroom Stroganoff


  1. Lauren on January 1, 2022 at 1:30 am

    We used this ‘no chicken pilaf’ on our first hike with the kids and they loved it. So much so I need to prepare it every hike since. Last summer we had it 4 times 🍲😁

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