First and foremost, let’s talk about what tempeh actually is?
What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is typically fermented soybeans (although you can get all sorts of different tempeh like chickpea tempeh, grain tempeh, or green pea tempeh).
Tempeh is like tofu’s more nutritious sister.
Why is tempeh so nutritious you might ask?
Well for starters, tempeh is fermented – and we all know how important including fermented foods in one’s diet are! Because it’s fermented it has a whole host of additional benefits to regular tofu.
Not only is it known to be easier to digest, it’s nutrients are made more bioavailable, and a lot of the potentially negative impacts of soy are mitigated with tempeh (especially helpful for those who have trouble with soy)!
On top of this, tempeh is also known to be higher in protein and fibre than traditional tofu and even contains pre-biotics which act as food for our important gut bacteria (1)
How Do You Cook with It?
I often ask my nutrition clients if they have ever had tempeh, and often the response I get is “I’ve tried before but I have no idea how to cook it.” Or that they have no idea how to actually make it taste good!
So let’s talk about ways you can cook it!
- You can pan fry it with simple spices and oil (this is my favourite way – see below)
- You can marinade it (just like you would with chicken or tofu)
- You can bake it in the oven
- You can BBQ it and eat it as a burger patty
- You can crumble it up and use it in veggie scramble’s or pasta
- You can cut it into thin strips, marinate it, bake in oven, and use as ‘tempeh bacon’
- You can enjoy it in just about anything! Nourish bowls, rice paper wraps, pasta, on sandwiches, and SO much more!
I truly love having tempeh as a protein option because not only do I feel amazing from eating it – it can be SO quick to whip up as a part of a healthy, blood sugar balancing, anxiety easing meal!
Now it’s time to share my favourite way to cook tempeh (the best & easiest way imo)!
– 1 block of tempeh (approx. 200g)
– A generous few drizzles of oil (avocado or olive work best)
– Approx. 1/8th of the following spices (I typically just use a few generous shakes of each): cumin, paprika, turmeric, and sea salt*
*NOTE: curry powder also tastes excellent in it!
– Chop tempeh up into cubes
– Pre-heat your pan (preferably cast iron) to medium heat
– Generously drizzle with olive oil and then place your cubed tempeh into the pan
– Add each of the following spices: cumin (be extra generous with this one), paprika, and turmeric
– Then generously coat with sea salt
– Allow the tempeh to cook, mixing around as needed (it cooks quite fast!) – typically 5-6 minutes
– You’ll know it’s done when it’s golden browned on all sides
– Add more oil as needed while it’s cooking (you don’t want the tempeh to look too dry)
– Once it’s finished, remove from heat and serve on a bed of greens with some complex carbs (brown rice or yams) and a healthy dressing (I love tahini sauce) for a completely balanced meal! You can also enjoy on it’s own as a little snack!