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Tempeh 101

by jenny sansouci on March 14, 2010

When people think of eating vegetarian food, many people just think “tofu” – and although I love tofu, I understand that can be a turn-off for people who aren’t accustomed to it. Luckily, there are many other deliciously amazing options to use in vegetarian cooking – one of my favorites is tempeh.

What is tempeh!? Tempeh, like tofu, is made from soybeans – but it actually has a higher nutritional content than tofu. It uses the whole soybean, and a fermentation process causes the tempeh to maintain a higher and more easily digestible protein content than tofu. The soybeans are packed into a cake that’s easy to slice and cook with, and the high protein content makes it a fantastic alternative to meat (and it has no cholesterol). And I swear you’ll love the nutty, savory flavor. In this picture below, the brown specks are flax seeds.

Tempeh also contains a high amount of essential fatty acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals.The fact that tempeh keeps the whole soybean intact and is less processed than tofu makes it a more nutritious choice.

Tempeh can be used in place of bacon in a vegetarian BLT, as a substitute for sausage or meat crumbles in tacos or breakfast dishes, and as a mouth-watering addition to stir-fry and quinoa or brown rice dishes. Throw it into a pan with a bit of oil until it is crispy and browned. Add your favorite spices and seasonings and you’ve got a great meal!

There are even different flavors of tempeh – some that add ground flax seeds (high in omega 3’s) and garden vegetables. Make sure you buy organic tempeh so you know it hasn’t been made with GMO soybeans!

So broaden your vegetarian horizons and pick up some awesome tempeh next time you’re at the health food store.

For more fantastic recipes for non-meat dishes, including tempeh recipes, check out this wonderful cookbook:

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen Eoriatti January 27, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Hey, thanks for this clear defination and ideas of how to use. I had never heard of it before as am new to non-meat eating. I will see if I can find it here in the little town I live near. Thanks again


DM December 3, 2013 at 10:39 am

Great article, but just one thing: organic does NOT mean non-GMO. It only means that it has been grown without pesticides. The seeds could still be GMO…


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