I’ve never been a big meat eater. In fact, when I was a kid I used to hide the meat served to me at my meals underneath the table in a little ledge. That is until it started smelling and my Dad found my stash. Needless to say, I was in a lot of trouble for that!
I no longer hide my meat under a table but I still don’t love it. Therefore, I love finding vegetarian protein alternatives. I never knew much about legumes and when I figured those out it was like a whole new world opened up to me. Lately, my newest exciting discovery has been tempeh.
What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is a fermented soybean product. It’s found in a block or “cake” form. The colour is slightly brown and you can see whole soybeans. The texture is firm and the taste is slightly nutty although it takes on the flavour profile of marinades and spices very well. It may not look super appetizing, but trust me it’s delicious!
How does it differ from tofu?
While both products are made from soybeans, they are vastly different. Tempeh has a different taste, texture and nutritional profile than tofu. Tempeh is higher in protein & fibre than tofu. Additionally, because it’s fermented, it may help with improved gastrointestinal functioning, immunity and the nutrients are more bioavailable.
Where do you find Tempeh?
Tempeh is usually found in the refrigerated section of a grocery store, often alongside the other vegetarian options. Occasionally it can be found in the freezer section as well as it can be frozen for longer storage.
One struggle I had was finding tempeh that wasn’t already seasoned. The pre-seasoned varieties can be very high in sodium and I wasn’t a fan of the taste of them. I found unflavoured tempeh in a natural food market
How do you cook with Tempeh?
I’ve been loving experimenting cooking with tempeh. It’s incredibly versatile.
The easiest and most common way to eat is by pan-frying it. I added olive oil with a selection of spices, herbs or vinegars and cook it about 5-10 minutes in a frying pan. It can also be baked, added to salads, stews, soups or casseroles. I made an omelette with tempeh the other night and I even saw my friend Jo made a Tempeh sandwich.
If you struggle to wrap your head around how to use tempeh, think of it like you think of chicken. It can be prepared in multiple different ways and take on a variety of profiles.
Roasted Sweet potato, broccoli & tempeh salad
I wanted to share this salad recipe with you guys that I made the other night. It was so delicious, I literally wanted to lick the plate! Plus, with the combination of vegetables, healthy fats & tempeh, this salad is a nutrition power house!
However, in true to me form, I threw this recipe together without really measuring ingredients or timing the cooking process. But it is so simple, it’s basically foolproof. So I’ll still provide you with the general steps to recreate it.
- Broccoli slaw (shredded broccoli, carrots & cabbage mix)
- Sweet potato
- Hemp Hearts
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Minced Garlic
- Maple Syrup
- Black Pepper
- Chop sweet potatoes and drizzle with olive oil & pepper. Roasted in the oven for about 20-30 minutes or until soft.
- Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic & a bit of maple syrup to chopped tempeh.
- Panfry tempeh 5 minutes
- Add broccoli slaw (shredded broccoli, carrots & cabbage mix) to pan with some additional olive oil & balsamic vinegar. Sautee to your preference (A couple of minute if you prefer broccoli to remain crunchy or longer for soft broccoli)
- Add roasted sweet potatoes to mixture & top with hemp hearts for added protein.