Food for Thought: Tempeh

Tempeh, a traditional Indonesian food, is a high protein, high fiber plant-based option made from fermented soybeans. It can also be found combined with whole grains such as brown rice, barley, and millet. Tempeh is a great option for vegans and vegetarians looking for a whole food protein source, rather than a meat substitute. See the chart below to see how it compares to other common vegetarian protein foods:

FoodServing sizeProteinCarbohydratesFiber
Original tempeh3 oz18g12g6g
3 grain tempeh 3 oz19g11g10g
Extra firm tofu3 oz9g1g1g
Black beans4.5 oz6g19g6g
Lentils3.5 oz9g20g8g
Quinoa3.5 oz4g21g3g

What to do with tempeh?

I don’t see too many images of tempeh while reviewing meal photos! Most preparations involve marinating slices of tempeh in a combination of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and spices that work best for the overall meal. It can be steamed, baked or sauteed in oil, such as grapeseed, olive or coconut oil. I hear it is also great in an air fryer. Here are a few options to get you started:

  • Tempeh burger sandwiched with portobello mushrooms or lettuce.  Add tomatoes and onions for the full burger experience
  • Stir-fry with vegetables and cauliflower rice
  • Indonesian gado gado plate, including tempeh slices, hardboiled eggs, cucumber, bean sprouts and peanut sauce
  • Tacos – in this case, crumble tempeh before cooking and stirfry with chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion powder and lime juice
  • Skewers – marinate in soy ginger sauce and grill
  • Curry – cut into cubes, bake or saute, then add to vegetarian curry

Hope this inspires you to branch out! I’d love to hear and see your favorite preparations.

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