April 5th, 2012

How to Cook with Tempeh

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Groovy Green Livin Tempeh

The first time I tried tempeh I wasn’t a fan. I didn’t like the texture or the taste.  A few years have passed and I can honestly say I’ve come full circle. Tempeh has become a food I can’t live without.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh is relatively new to those of us in the west, but it’s been a staple for hundreds of years for many living in Asia. Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a rectangular patty. The consistency is similar to that of a veggie burger. Many use it as a meat substitute in dishes. It has a nutty, grainy flavor.

Soy products have gotten a bad rap over the past few years and fallen victim to controversy. Fermented soy products, such as tempeh and miso, have been touted as healthier soy selections. As with any food, all soy products should be eaten in moderation.

Health benefits of tempeh

Tempeh is an excellent source of protein and fiber. It also is high in nutrients like manganese and copper. The fermentation process makes the soybeans soft and easy to digest.  Tempeh also acts as a natural antibiotic.

Cooking with tempeh

There are generally two types of tempeh out there:  fresh and vacuum-sealed. Both are found in the refrigerated section of your store. Tempeh is fairly simple to cook with. Here are few suggestions for incorporating tempeh into your diet.

Stir fried tempeh

Stir fry tempeh

I add tempeh to stir fry on a regular basis. It’s a great meat substitute and soaks up the flavor of any sauce or seasoning used.

Tempeh is generally sold in blocks or bricks. Cube the block of tempeh into 1 inch pieces.  I use Bragg’s liquid amino in my stir fry’s instead of soy sauce or tamari (Japanese soy sauce).  Stir fry the tempeh in a little olive oil and some Braggs. The tempeh will turn slightly brown. Add tempeh to any stir fry in place of tofu, chicken or shrimp.

Baked tempeh

Baked tempeh

Tempeh on its own, without any sauce or seasoning, doesn’t have a lot of flavor. If you plan to bake it I would suggest marinating the tempeh overnight in your favorite sauce.  After marinating, pop it in the oven for 20-30 minutes on 350 degrees and you will have a great dish.  Another idea: dice up the baked tempeh and add to stir-fry!

Whenever possible choose organic tempeh.

Have you tried tempeh? What did you think? How do you cook with tempeh?


[Photos used under Creative Commons from ilovebutter and KushiInstitute/Flickr]

Linked with: I Thought I Knew Mama, The Green Backs Gal, Simplify, Love, Life

16 Responses to “How to Cook with Tempeh”

  1. Thanks for linking up, Lori! I’ve never used Tempeh. Might have to give it a try! 🙂

  2. I love Tempeh! I use it in my tomato sauce! Yum Yum!

  3. I have never tried it. Too scared of soy after it messed up my thyroid but I know fermented soy is supposed to be okay.

  4. I have eaten it roasted with vegetables, delicious! I have never tried cooking it myself so I hope to put this information to good use and see if I can get anyone else in my family to eat it with me.

  5. Hi Stephanie, how do you add it to your tomato sauce?

  6. Tiffany, I can understand your concern with soy. I try to steer clear of processed soy. I really love tempeh-but I make sure to eat it in moderation.

  7. If you decide to try it Michelle let me know what you think.

  8. Hi Marsha, My kids don’t love it. My oldest will tolerate it. We keep putting it on the table hoping that someday they’ll love it. Let me know if anyone else is willing to try it.

  9. I lurve tempeh…sometimes I shred it up and use it in tomato sauce. Nice bolognese.

  10. My husband grilled tempeh after marinating it in soy sauce. Delicious!

  11. Grilled tempeh is delicious Katie! such a simple way to make it taste so good.

  12. Hi Deirdre, what a great idea. Thanks for sharing-I’ll have to give it a try in sauce.

  13. I crumble it up and put it in the sauce to cook. I don’t precook it.. Nom Nom

  14. I marinate mine in a homemade plum and ginger sauce or occasionally I make a sinfully delicious peanut spicy satay to go with it! First discovered it when I back-packed through Indonesia in the 80’s. Thank you so much for sharing this with us on Seasonal Celebration- Have a great weekend! Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network x

  15. Hi Rebecca, that sounds delicious. Tempeh with any sauce is usually yummy. I want to hear more about your back-packing excursion through Indonesia. What an experience!

  16. […] formed into a rectangular patty. The consistency is similar to that of a  veggie burger and it has a textured and nutty flavor. Many use it as a meat substitute in dishes. I’ve used it in chili, stir-fry and on the grill. As […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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