Tempeh

When I first started reading vegan cookbooks, tempeh was one of those mysterious ingredients that I’d never heard of before. Now I enjoy eating tempeh and I prefer its texture over tofu. Tempeh is fermented, whole soybeans. Like me, you may be saying ‘ugh’ to yourself after reading about fermentation, but the process actually makes the soybeans easier to digest. It originated in Indonesia unlike other soybean based foods. Because it is less processed than tofu and it uses the whole soybean, it fits in better with a whole foods diet than tofu. It is also a possible rare source of plant based vitamin B12; although, there is much disagreement about this. Tempeh does contain the following nutrients: manganese, protein, copper, phosphorus, vitamin B2 and magnesium. I use it in place of meat in fajitas, BLT sandwiches, and stir fry meals. I buy it from a health food store. I have never seen it sold in a regular grocery store like tofu is. It comes in a square, vaccuum packed package in the refrigerated section of the store. Some tempeh is made entirely from soybeans and other varieties use other whole grains as well. Like tofu, tempeh needs to be marinaded or used with sauces to be flavorful. You need to steam it before you marinade it, so the tempeh soaks in the flavor. Just stick it in a steamer for 20 minutes. You can also bake tempeh at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes if you want to include it in a baked dish. If you decide to stir fry your tempeh, it will taste better if you steam it for 10-15 minutes first, then add it to your stir fry pan and finish cooking it where it will pick up the flavors you desire. The following are links to websites on this topic that I’ve found informative and also contain recipes:
http://www.tempeh.info/
http://www.vegancoach.com/tempeh.html http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=126#summary

Good luck in your effort to add a new healthy ingredient to your life!

M

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