Time for Tempeh

You’ve probably heard of tofu and all the ways you can prepare it, but have you heard of tofu’s lesser-known cousin, tempeh? If you like plant-based protein and enjoy tofu, but sometimes want something a little chewier, you should try it!

What is it?

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Tempeh is an Indonesian soy product produced by natural culturing and fermentation processes that bond the soybeans together into a patty form. Due to the unique way it’s prepared as well as the presence of whole soybeans, the texture and taste of tempeh differs greatly from tofu. While biting through tofu is smooth and soft, biting through tempeh is a little more eventful and comes with a firmer texture and earthier flavor.

What is an “earthy” flavor?

Tempeh is described as earthy because its natural taste isn’t anything crazy. It’s simple and pretty bland. If you don’t love its taste at face value, you’re in luck. Like tofu, tempeh is excellent at incorporating the flavors you add to it. With spices, you can imagine it into almost anything you want! Its ability to take on different flavors and textures makes it loved around the world as a plant-based meat substitute.

Is it good for you?

Yes! Tempeh is a complete protein that increases muscle recovery, ups bone density, fights diabetes, treats inflammatory diseases, reduces cholesterol, and alleviates symptoms of menopause. In addition to being an excellent source of protein, it contains high levels of probiotics, minerals, and vitamins B5, B6, B3, and B2.

If the vitamins didn’t quite get you there, check out the nutrition facts:

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To top off the vitamins and excellent nutrition facts, tempeh provides muscle-building protein, it contains diabetes-fighting manganese, and it even treats cancer and inflammatory diseases.

How to use tempeh

Most general grocery stores will supply tempeh these days. Since vegetarian foods options have gained popularity in the last several years, you shouldn’t have to go anywhere special. It will usually be next to tofu off of the produce section. You can store tempeh in the refrigerator for about a week. It’s perfectly fine to freeze it for later use as well. While there are a variety of recipes available that incorporate tempeh, it’s fine to eat it on its own. However, you may want to add soy sauce, as it isn’t very flavorful on its own. Personally,  I’ve had more success with tofu in smaller pieces or crumbled. It seems to absorb the flavors better in smaller pieces.

If you’d like a recipe to get you started, check out how we went about making Vegan Hot Wings! If you’d rather stick with tofu, for now, check out how we made Roasted Tofu and Veggie Buddha Bowls, Mini Tofu Quiches, Crispy Tofu and Sprouts Sandwiches, Almond Crusted Tofu Nuggets, or Vegan Tofu Curry. Let us know what you create in the comments!

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