Tempeh is one of those strange vegan foods that you may not know how to pronounce let alone how you are supposed to prepare and eat it.
The first one is easy enough and it is simply pronounced: tem-pay. And for some, it is love at first bite, while for others this highly nutritious food can be an acquired taste.
Tempeh is a fermented soy product that comes in patty form and it may be one you want to start including in your diet.
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Higher in complete high quality protein than tofu, tempeh has the added of bonus of containing natural probiotics that can support digestive and immune health. The fermentation process actually helps your body digest the nutrients easier making them more available for your body to use.
Unlike tofu, tempeh undergoes minimal processing and is something you could try making yourself.
However, because it involves a fermentation process you may want to stick to store bought varieties. You can find a number of varieties of tempeh in the pre-package refrigerated section of most natural food grocery stores.
Tempeh can be soy-only or a combination of soy and brown rice, quinoa, wheat or another grain. It is a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids and is low in fat, high in fiber and provides significant amounts of calcium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin A and B vitamins including riboflavin and niacin.
Okay, but how does it taste? It has been described as tasting like mushrooms or chicken, but the flavor varies a bit according to the manufacturer, ranging from mildly nutty to a distinctly fermented flavor. Don’t give up if the first one you try doesn’t appeal to you or try a seasoned tempeh like “tempeh bacon” to start with.
Tempeh is a ready-to-use food and like tofu, is versatile, taking on whatever seasonings you add to it.
With a little imagination, you will find tempeh can be used in just about any dish.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
• Crumble tempeh and use it as a ground meat substitute by mixing with minced onion, and garlic. Mix things up and try curry seasoning or soy sauce to taste.
• Try tempeh burgers in a pita bread with sprouts, tomato, avocado or tahini.
• Tempeh can be pan-fried and used in stir-fries, spaghetti sauce or to make a hearty chili.
• Use it as a topping for pizza or slice and sauté’ and serve with barbeque sauce.
Most of all have fun experimenting!