More Soy: Tempeh

More Soy: Tempeh

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  1. When discussing sources of protein commonly utilized by vegans, the subject of tempeh will usually come up. Certainly not a word in every American’s vocabulary, there are many reasons to consider adding tempeh to your diet. Or at least learn a little bit about what it is.

    What is tempeh?

    Tempeh, pronounced TEM pay, is a traditional Indonesian food. It is essentially soy that has fermented, binding the soybeans into a cake form. While it is similar to tofu, it differs in that it is a whole soybean product resulting in different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. It is firm and tender with an earthy flavor.

    You can buy tempeh frozen or refrigerated. Frozen tempeh keeps well for several months, and if it is refrigerated you should pay attention to the sell-by date. Like other fermented foods, a little mold on the surface is harmless.

    Nutritional value

    Because tempeh is made with whole soybeans, it has a higher protein content than that of tofu. Just a cup of tempeh has about 31 grams of protein and is a good source of fiber (about 14 grams in one cup), B vitamins, calcium and iron. As a result of the fermentation process, the soy carbohydrates in tempeh are more digestible as well.


    Tempeh can generally be cooked and served very similarly to tofu in that you can add to almost any dish. It easily takes on the flavor of what it is cooked with and can be marinated or seasoned. It is commonly used for veggie burgers.

    If you’re looking to trick a friend into eating a vegan protein, you can sauté tempeh sticks in a little maple syrup and extra virgin olive oil. Served with familiar dipping sauces, you can convince them they are healthier French fries.

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