Oh tempeh. You’re a little bit misunderstood as far as “health food” goes.
Tempeh has a bit of a bad rap. It’s kind of like kale. If you try it the wrong way, you never want it again. Much like kale, tempeh doesn’t taste wonderful all of the time, and definitely doesn’t taste that great on its own.
It’s one of those things people buy and are like “Yay, look at the protein content! This is healthy! I’m going to try it” and then they go home, take it out of the package, take a bite, and are like “Oh noooooooo.”
Said tempeh goes in the trash can, and said person is scarred for life.
But there’s good news here.
Tempeh CAN taste good. If you don’t like tempeh, keep reading to learn how to cook tempeh so you can enjoy it along with it’s hefty protein content. It’s one of my favorite non-meat protein sources and soon it might be one of yours too.
It takes a little bit of seasoning, some oil, and voila! You’ll have a tasty protein source for your meal. (Word to the world: don’t try to cook it in the slow cooker. It was a nightmare haha.)
How to Cook Tempeh So That It Tastes Good
1. Bake it. I love baked BBQ tempeh (just coat in BBQ sauce and bake for 20 minutes at 350), or even plain with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika.
2. Pan-fry it. This is my favorite method! Take the sliced tempeh and marinate in this following mixture: 3 tablespoons Tamari, 1 tablespoon olive oil, splash of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon each of garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, and season well with salt and pepper.
Pan-fry in olive oil (don’t skimp on the oil; it makes it so crispy as good!) for about 3-5 minutes each side.
For the AMAZING tempeh sandwich I made a couple of weeks ago, I added slices of the pan-fried tempeh onto gluten-free bread. Next, I spread homemade Thousand Island dressing (avocado mayo, orange juice, a little ketchup and chopped fresh herbs), and topped it with kimchi. For the soup, I used this vegan tomato soup recipe. You’d never know it was made without heavy cream.
3. Crumble it into dishes like you would with ground meat. Ground tempeh holds seasonings and sauces beautifully, so consider it a blank palette in stir fries and stovetop veggie dishes.
(You have to try these tempeh taco lettuce wraps!)
Even though I personally don’t eat a ton of soy, I do enjoy tempeh on a semi-regular basis.
Things to Love About Tempeh
Tempeh is fermented soy, and the fermentation process makes it easier to digest.
Tempeh also has a whole bean structure, so it’s less processed and retains more protein, fiber and vitamins.
This is a great article comparing tempeh and tofu if you’d like more insight. For me, I also prefer the taste.
You can even buy Fakin’ Bacon if you want to take any guesswork out of the seasoning, making it even more convenient to prepare!
So tell me friends: are you a tempeh fan? What are some of the *healthy* foods you dislike?
I don’t like corn. It’s good on the cob in the summer (or in popcorn or kettle form), but otherwise, I’m not a huge fan.