The Joys of Tempeh

April 4, 2011

By Megan Kian

A few months ago I decided to become a vegetarian. My recent reading of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, which offered both moral and environmental reasons to go veg, inspired my foray into a meat-free diet. Since becoming a vegetarian I’ve discovered a whole new world of food! There are so many meat substitutes (and so many great vegetarian restaurants in NYC) that I don’t find myself really missing meat. One of my greatest discoveries since becoming a vegetarian has been tempeh.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the soy-based product before, tempeh is cooked and slightly fermented soybeans. Unlike some other soy based products, such as tofu, tempeh is more flavorful and can stand on it’s own. Tempeh can be described as having a nutty flavor and is usually formed into a patty that has a firm texture — think of a firm veggie burger. Tempeh is a great meat substitute because it is high in protein and low in fat. Another great thing about tempeh is that it contains an abundant amount of isoflavones. Isoflavones have been shown to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of some coronary diseases!

Tempeh can be found at most health food stores — I like to get mine at either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. There are plenty of ways to use tempeh to create nutritioulicious dishes, such as in stir frys or added to salads.

Have you ever tried tempeh? Stay tuned for a delicious tempeh recipe!

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  1. I am working my way to vegetarian eating but still enjoy eggs and dairy (all recommended by the Cornucopia Institute) and weaning from chicken/turkey. Eating Animals is on my Amazon wish list but have to finish reading a few other books first (Fast food nation, Omivores Dilema) I just bought my first Tempeh from WF this weekend and look forward to trying it tonight!

    1. Carie, that is great that you bought tempeh this weekend! Megan will be sharing a recipe tomorrow night – sorry we don’t have it in time for you to try it tonight. Good luck w/ your preparation and please come back to share what you did! – Jessica

  2. Congrats on deciding to eat a more plant-based diet. My hubby doesn’t like tofu but he doesn’t seem to mind tempeh too much. I like to lightly brown using a rice vinegar/soy sauce mixture in a saucepan and serve it over salad or rice. A recipe I posted a while back braised it with beer and served it with mushrooms.

    1. Trish, thanks for the serving recommendations. I have actually never made tempeh, but my husband and I eat tofu a fair amount. Megan (my intern who wrote this post) has peaked my interest though!