Tempeh is a fermented soy bean product that can be purchased in any health store and most other grocery stores. It’s one of those wonder foods that I blurt out as a quick answer when someone asks me how I get protein without meat. For one serving of tempeh, you’ll consume about 15 – 20 grams of protein.
Health wise, tempeh is a fabulous choice. Since the soybeans in tempeh have already undergone a fermentation process, the end product is easy for your body to break down and digest. Plus, it aids in stabilizing blood sugar and lowering cholesterol. The packaged versions can be made with other grains like barley and are easy to cook since they come in patty form. Some people may think the tough texture is strange, but I actually prefer it to tofu.
Taste wise, tempeh has a slightly nutty and earthy flavor on its own. I’m not a fan of plain tempeh, but luckily, it’s a versatile food that can take on many different tastes depending on how you prepare it. Give this Indonesian soy product a try with these seven ways to eat tempeh.
1. On a sandwich
If you buy packaged tempeh, the patty is pre-formed for you, making it easy to use on sandwiches. Try cutting the large patty into sandwich-size pieces and marinating in a sauce of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, and spices. Add some Russian dressing and sauerkraut for a vegan tempeh Reuben sandwich that’s packed with flavor. Or, bake the tempeh patty with some ginger, garlic, and mustard powder for a garden-fresh tempeh tomato herb sandwich.
2. Atop a salad
Tempeh is an easy add-on to salads. Throw cooked tempeh on top of some greens and you’ve got a healthy, protein-packed lunch. For a tangy Asian flavor, whip up some Gingery Maple Glazed Tempeh on Baby Greens Salad. Your salad can be as light, hearty, or spicy as you like. For a heavier, hot salad option, try making Minced Tempeh Salad with Lemongrass, Sesame, and Cashews.
3. Fried into bacon
You can be vegan and still enjoy the taste of bacon! Tempeh is the perfect consistency for cruelty-free, fakin’ bacon. Tempeh bacon is thin and crispy with a consistency that will quell your craving for the real thing. You can buy pre-made tempeh bacon in some grocery stores. Better yet, try making your own by slicing some and frying thin slices in the skillet. Easily make your own marinade with whatever you’d like — perhaps soy sauce, spices, and maple syrup — then soak overnight and wow your meat-eating significant other in the morning.
4. Cubed and sautéed or stir-fried
Step 1: Cut tempeh into cubes. Step 2: Stir-fry or sauté with whatever you prefer. If you have a wok, try this Asian-inspired Pomegranate Sweet and Sour Tempeh, served over rice. With broccoli, sugar snap peas, onion, pepper, carrot, pineapple, and scallions, it’s a colorful, flavorful dish.
5. Mimicking meat
The consistency of tempeh makes it a great vegetable protein to use as a mock meat dish. Try using tempeh to cook some delicious Balsamic BBQ Seitan and Tempeh Ribs. Paired with coleslaw and mashed potatoes, this meal might convince your meat-eater pals to jump over to the veg side. For a quick, cold lunch dish, try keeping some Mock Chicken Salad made with tempeh in the fridge.
6. Cooked into curry
Hearty, spicy, flavorful — get all the benefits of curry by using tempeh instead of meat. If you have some time to dedicate to making it, you can create one mean Vegan Goan ‘Beef’ Curry or Tempeh Do Pyaaza (Tempeh in Spicy Onion Curry).
Lead Image Source: Tempeh Picatta