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What is TVP?
TVP (a.k.a. textured vegetable protein) is dried soy protein that can be rehydrated and used as a substitute for ground meat in many different kinds of recipes.
In most cases, the TVP falls apart into a granules. You can use a thickening agent such a egg and breadcrumbs to get it to stick together if you wanted to use it as a substitute for meatballs or as a meatloaf. When used straight, it's best used in recipes where the ground beef is expected to be finely ground—such as in taco meat or these vegetarian sloppy joes.
TVP is fragile. When buying it at the grocery store, try to find the largest flakes you can get. This will get you the closest texture to ground meat. TVP by Bob's Red Mill consistently has the largest flake size that I've found. I recommend their brand and I use it frequently. It's also pretty easy to find in the grocery store in either the organic/natural food section or in the baking aisle.