All About Tempeh

13 Jul

Originally from Indonesia, Tempeh (tem-PAY) is a fermented soybean patty often used as a meat substitute (source). Though the taste and texture is nothing like meat, it is often enjoyed because of these factors. Tempeh has an earthy, nutty, mushroom-like flavor and can be found fresh in health food stores and many supermarkets, as well as frozen at some Asian grocers. It is loaded with manganese, which is linked to the prevention and treatment of arthritis, diabetes, epilepsy, osteoporosis and PMS (source). 1 cup of tempeh also provides 30.8g protein, 184mg calcium and 4.5mg iron. Tempeh even contains omega fatty acids 3 and 6 (source).

With its unique, almost crunchy texture, tempeh should always be steamed before consuming. Steaming not only moistens the tempeh and renders it more easily digestible, it also enables the tempeh to more readily absorb flavoring. Simply steam the whole block of tempeh for 15-20 minutes, then dice or slice (whatever your recipe calls for). Flavor, then cook as desired. In my personal experience, I’ve found that tempeh is best flavored by marinating for 6-8 hours or overnight. When sliced into strips and marinated, tempeh is excellent on sandwiches, and when cubed and marinated, it would be wonderful in these veggie kabobs. In the vegan world, however, tempeh is most commonly used as a bacon substitute. If you ask me, however, tofaken is much more like the real thing than tempeh.

“So where can I buy tempeh” you ask? Here are a couple companies that sell tempeh commercially:

Turtle Island Foods, Inc.

3 Responses to “All About Tempeh”

  1. MoonRivers July 21, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    I’ve only tried tempeh once and I can’t remember how we prepared it but we found it unedible. That was back in the nineties when I was newly vegan, (1995) and I don’t feel I’ve given it a fair shake. I think we just didn’t know how to cook it or what to do with it. Your post encourages me some but I still feel leery of it for some reason. I was leery of tofu to begin with too but a local health food store used to give out free samples of whatever they had cooked for the day and I then discovered tofu cutlets and found I loved tofu and have since then found a million other ways I like it.

    Thank you for this post; you’ve got me thinking of tempeh a bit differently and marinating it sounds like a great thing to do with it to begin with. I appreciate your input!

    • megmeister July 22, 2012 at 9:41 am #

      My pleasure! To be honest, I didn’t like tempeh the first time I had it either. It was too hard and dry and just weird to chew. I’m hoping you’ll give tempeh another shot though. Personally, I like it best when sliced thin, then marinated and fried. Delicious!


  1. Tempeh Scaloppine with White Beans and Zucchini « Vegan Food Addict - July 21, 2012

    […] crispy texture when fresh. Joining the spotlight is our friend tempeh, which I spoke about in my previous post. I thought, why not create a dish that would help you utilize your new-found knowledge of tempeh? […]

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