How to Eat Tempeh
Tempeh is a meat alternative made from fermented soybeans. It’s especially popular in Southeast Asia, but has become a dietary staple for many vegetarians and vegans all over the world.Not only is tempeh super nutritious and packed with protein, it’s also low in fat and calories and has a unique chewy texture and a nutty, savory taste.
Cut an 8 ounce block of tempeh into bite-sized pieces.Cutting the tempeh up before steaming it helps it cook faster than if you were to put the entire block in whole.
- Tempeh is a fairly easy food to work with and can be cut into slices, strips, cubes, or any other shape you like.
Fill a medium-sized pot with 1 cup of water.You’ll want to make sure the pot is large enough to accommodate the water, the steamer basket, and the tempeh.
- Water is traditional, but veggie broth can also be used to give the tempeh added flavor.
Place your steamer basket in the pot and bring the water to a boil.Don’t let it boil for too long before adding your tempeh, since small amounts of water or broth will evaporate quickly.
- If you don’t have a steamer basket, a metal strainer or colander will work as well.
Add the tempeh and lower the heat to a simmer.Drop the pieces of tempeh into the steamer basket and cover the pot with a lid.Use relatively low heat. You want to steam, not boil, the tempeh.
Steam the tempeh for 10 minutes over low heat.Try to avoid lifting the lid while the tempeh is steaming. Just like rice, tofu, or vegetables, lifting the lid while you’re steaming tempeh will release steam from the pot and increase the amount of time it will take to cook.
Remove the tempeh from the heat and drain it in a colander.Be sure to use oven mitts when you remove the pot from the heat to avoid getting burned by the steam. If you used a metal colander instead of a steamer basket, simply remove it from the pot and place it in the sink to drain the tempeh.
- To speed up the draining process, use paper towels to pat the pieces of tempeh dry.
Add soy, peanut, or teriyaki sauce for added flavor.Tempeh has its own unique, savory and slightly nutty flavor, so if you’ve never tried it before, take a bite before adding sauce.However, tempeh pairs well with a variety of sauces and dressings.
- Eat your steamed tempeh over a bed of rice or vegetables for added nutrition and taste.
Slice an 8 ounce block of tempeh into ¼ inch slices.Like tofu, tempeh is naturally very porous and picks up other flavors extremely well.Cutting the tempeh into slices before marinating it will allow the marinade to soak into each piece, maximizing flavor.
Mix ¼ cup of soy sauce and 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar in a large bowl.For extra flavor, also consider adding minced garlic, ginger, thyme, and crushed red pepper to your marinade.
Add the tempeh to the bowl and make sure each piece is submerged.You want each piece to be covered while it marinates to make sure the tempeh fully absorbs the marinade.
- If the tempeh pieces are not covered by the marinade, add more soy sauce and vinegar.
Place the bowl in the fridge and leave it to marinate for at least an hour.When it comes to marinating the tempeh, the longer the better. If you have time, leaving it to marinate overnight is the best way to maximize flavor.
- You may also want to flip the pieces in the bowl halfway through the marinating process to ensure each piece is fully saturated.
Remove the bowl from the fridge and drain the tempeh in a colander.Once the tempeh is completely marinated, you’ll want to make sure you drain it properly. Simply pour the entire contents of the bowl over an empty colander and allow the excess marinade to drain out.
- Once most of the excess marinade is drained, pat the pieces dry with a paper towel or cloth before cooking.Make sure to pat (and not squeeze), as you don’t want too much of your marinade escaping.
Fry your marinated tempeh in a pan over medium-high heat.You want to fry the pieces until they are crispy and golden brown in color.Drizzle a bit of olive oil into the pan, if you like, or simply let the marinade aid in frying the tempeh.
- You can also bake or grill marinated tempeh.
Enjoy it with your favorite dish.You can eat marinated tempeh on its own or as a meat substitute in tacos, sandwiches, salads, or stir-fries.One of the great things about tempeh is how versatile it is, so it can be fun to experiment with different dishes.
Crumbling Tempeh into Other Dishes
Cook crumbled tempeh into pasta sauce.Many people love to mix ground beef or turkey into their pasta sauce. Crumbled tempeh tastes great with most pasta dishes adds the same nutritional value, taste, and added texture that a ground meat would.
Sprinkle crumbled tempeh over your salad.Adding a source of protein to salads is a great way to turn a side dish into the main course. Just as you might add shredded chicken or tofu to a salad, sprinkling crumbled tempeh over your salad adds nutrition, taste, and crunch.
- Crumbled tempeh tastes great atop an Asian chopped salad, kale or spinach salad, or even a taco salad.
Mix crumbled tempeh into a soup, stew, or chili.You can add tempeh to almost any stew, soup, chili, or curry the same way you would meat or tofu. Not only does tempeh add extra texture and taste to stews and soups, but it also replaces meat as an excellent source of protein.
- If you’re dining with other people, you can either stir the crumbled tempeh into your serving dish, or provide it as a topping that can be added to individual servings.
Use crumbled tempeh to make burger patties.Simply crumble the tempeh and mold it into the shape of a traditional burger patty. Grill it over medium-high heat until it browns and stick it between a hamburger bun with some veggies and condiments for a delicious vegan burger.
- Crumbled tempeh can also be used to make meat-free sloppy joes or meatloaves.
Video: 4 Delicious Ways to Eat Tempeh
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