You’ve probably tried tofu, you’ve definitely heard of soybeans… But you may not know tempeh. Either way, we’re happy to make the introduction! This exotic product is the cousin of tofu, made from fermented soybeans and it’s making waves in the plant-based world for a number of reasons. So let’s get into it: what exactly is tempeh, why the rave and how do we use it?
What is tempeh?
Long science-y story short: soybeans are soaked, fermented in a certain type of fungus and bound together in a block or ‘cake’, making it easy to store, distribute and cook. While it originated in Indonesia up to one thousand years ago, in recent years it has been gaining more and more popularity among the vegan, vegetarian and plant-based communities.
What is tempeh used for?
Tempeh has quite a meaty consistency, making it a great animal-product replacement in many meals. Its firm texture allows it to be both cut and crumbled depending on your recipe and needs. Tempeh has a nutty flavour and, when cooked, absorbs surrounding sauces, spices and flavours deliciously!
Fresh tempeh (basically an original block of tempeh) can be used across a variety of dishes like pastas or curries, as a filling in a sandwich, or in salads. Nowadays you don’t even have to crumble the tempeh yourself – you can find tempeh mince ready to be used as an alternative to beef mince. You can also find variations in flavour, from smoked tempeh to BBQ tempeh strips!
What are the benefits of tempeh?
This fermented food is more than just tasty and versatile. It has a number of health benefits, too:
Tempeh is one of the best sources of plant-based protein and the core ingredient – soybeans – provide all 9 essential amino acids. This plant-based protein is good for your hair, skin, muscles, bones and supports important functions within your body. Protein can also help with weight maintenance as it keeps you feeling full for longer.
- Gut health
Tempeh provides both probiotic and prebiotics. Many fermented foods are a source of probiotics, which help with digestion and maintaining a balance in the bacteria within your digestive system. Tempeh’s prebiotic benefits come from healthy prebiotic fibre. This fibre is an essential food for the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut.
- Vitamins and minerals
In addition to promoting the health of your gut, tempeh brings a host of important vitamins and minerals to the table, including vitamin B-12, iron and calcium.
So all in all, tempeh promotes good gut health and will have you feeling strong and healthy!
How do you cook tempeh?
Figuring out how to cook a new product for the first time can be daunting. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Tempeh is actually super easy to use and cook. You can eat it raw too, so it just depends on how you like it most: crunchy, chewy, fried, baked… You name it!
If you want to fry it and toss it into a salad, here’s what you can do:
- Chop your tempeh into equal bite-sized cubes or strips
- Grab a frying pan and heat up some oil (we recommend avocado or olive oil)
- Wait until you’ve got a sizzle in the pan, then toss in your tempeh
- You want to fry the tempeh until it is golden-brown all round.
- Toss into salad or mixed veggies as an easy protein-filled meal!
Some plant-based food bloggers recommend marinating the tempeh before you fry or bake it. Here, you can cut it into cubes, add a sauce or marinade and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes before transferring to a baking tray, or frying pan.
We can’t get enough of this healthy, delicious and versatile plant-based protein. So what are you waiting for? Shop tempeh today!