An Intro to Tempeh

My husband and I received a great vegetarian cookbook over the holidays, which, in addition to his veggie challenge this month, has inspired me to branch out a little bit and try a few new things in the kitchen.  This week, my new challenge in the kitchen has been tempeh.

I think I remember trying tempeh a while back and I hated it.  I have no idea what I did to it then but with a little guidance (and a great recipe) from The New Laurel’s Kitchen cookbook, I am happy to say that I am now sold on tempeh.  And, after much convencing and delicious recipe, it received Brian’s stamp of approval too.

Tempeh is a fermented food, usually made under very controlled conditions.  It’s basically the result of the fermentation of cooked soybeans and a Rhizopus mold.  Sounds yummy, right?  That’s just about where I lost my husband on the idea too.  But, like good cheese and yogurt the “culture” is what makes it special. Because of this fermenting culture, tempeh is more easily digested than plain soybeans.  And it’s high in protein, low in fat, and made up of the whole soybean, so all of its nutrients remain intact which makes it better for you than your other typical meat substitutes like tofu.

Look for tempeh without any black spots; while it’s okay to have a few, the culture goes from white to black as it ferments, so a lot of black spots means it’s on its way downhill rather than at its peak.   You can probably find Litelife tempeh at your local grocery in the organic section near the tofu. Plan to cook it quickly at a high temperature as the culture will grow very fast in a warm environment.

Stay tuned for a tempeh recipe.

Posted in Chew On This by Liz on January 17, 2009 | Permalink | 2 Comments

2 thoughts on “An Intro to Tempeh

  1. Allison says:

    Inneresting info. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 6 years, and have NEVER tried tempeh. It always sounded too freaky. I’m looking forward to your recipe. Maybe you can sway me!

  2. Alline says:

    I, too, never expected to like tempeh. Now, I LOVE tempeh! Try it sliced up and baked with a really good barbeque sauce (served over rice) or if you’re feeling particularly indulgent, you can dip it in a thick pancake (or tempura) batter and deep fry it. Serve it with mashed potatoes and gravy (recipe for vegan gravy here: and it’s pretty amazing. Enjoy!

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