Article

Tempeh

Made from fermented soybeans, tempeh can be a tasty addition to meals or snacks. Dana Tomlin introduces us to this convenient meat alternative.

Find more Co+op Kitchen videos featuring information and easy recipes for making delicious meals at home, as well as handy hints from chefs and food enthusiasts who love sharing their passion for great food.

Video Transcript

Hi. I'm Dana Tomlin. I'm the deli manager at Wheatsville Food Co-op in Austin, Texas. I'm here today to demystify tempeh for you.

What is tempeh and what should it look like?

So, tempeh is made from soybeans, so it's much like tofu in that way. However, it's very different because it is fermented. When you ferment a product, you break down the enzymes in it, and you make it easier to digest.

I'm going to go ahead and cut this tempeh in half so you can see the whole soybeans in it. You can see here that there is some gray. You see some of this little white fuzz in there. I don't want you to be scared of that. That is what makes tempeh tempeh, and it's part of the fermentation process.

Sometimes manufacturers will also use other grains in it, which is a good way to mix up the types of grains that you eat. The item that I have here has flaxseed mixed into it.

So you can see the dark spots. That's not part of the mold process. That is the actual other grain.

How to use tempeh

Okay, so I'm going to go ahead and show you how to open up a package of tempeh. Usually you have cut through about two levels of plastic for tempeh. Take a heavy knife and you're just going to cut through the middle of it. Just go straight through that plastic and then you're going to go this way as well. And what that enables you to do is just pop this directly out of there. Voilà! Just like that.

There are a few different ways that you can use tempeh, because it is so mild. Lots of times people will slice it and then pan fry it.

So when you cut tempeh you want it to be about this thick, so that it's got a little bit of a bend to it. If it breaks when you do this, it's too thin, and it won't hold up to the spatula.

Marinated tempeh is great for stir-fries or pasta salads. Just cube it up and mix it with your veggies or pasta.

So if we were going to marinate this, we'd just drop it in the marinade and leave it there for 20 minutes, remove it, and then fry it.

What makes tempeh special is that it is nearly a complete protein, which is pretty unusual in a plant-based product. So it's really good for vegetarian and vegan diets. And also, because of its versatility, it's really good for meat eaters as well.

Another way to use tempeh is to crumble and use it as a substitute for ground meat in sloppy joes, chilis or tacos. In another video, I show you how to make simple and delicious tempeh taco filling. Be sure to check that out. It's an easy, delicious recipe your whole family will love.

I'm Dana Tomlin for Co+op, stronger together.