What is tempeh, you ask? Well, if you were living in Indonesia, you might be buying a block of it wrapped in a banana leaf from a street vendor. Maybe your family would have a secret tempeh recipe handed down from one generation to the next. Tempeh is a soy product made from fermented soybeans, similar to tofu. It’s produced by a culturing and fermentation process, which binds soybeans into a cake-like form. Tempeh has an earthy, nutty flavor and a firm texture.
Why Our Bodies Love It
Widespread interest in tempeh seems to be exploding lately. Many vegetarians and vegans love tempeh for its nutritional content and versatility, but lots of meat eaters enjoy this non-animal protein source, too! Unlike animal protein, the soy in tempeh has been shown to help lower cholesterol and better control blood sugar levels. The natural fermentation process makes tempeh easy to digest and helps our bodies more efficiently absorb various minerals. Tempeh itself is rich in iron, calcium, and fiber!
If you haven’t eaten tempeh before, look for it in the refrigerated section of Asian or health-food stores. It will come pasteurized, vacuumed-packed, and ready to eat. It’s become increasingly available in many local grocery stores, too! Some commercial brands add oats, barley, and various spices to their tempeh.
Preparing and Enjoying
Have fun experimenting with tempeh! Cube and toss it into a stir-fry, crumble and add it to a pasta sauce, slice and layer it on a sandwich, or marinate and grill it on the barbecue. The options are endless! Tempeh grates nicely and can be used in place of ground beef. If you like a bit of a challenge, try making your own tempeh! Interested in recipes that use tempeh? Click here!