Tempeh is thought to have originated thousands of years ago in Indonesia. However, in Western culture, it’s only really gained popularity as a meat substitute since the 1970s. It’s made from fermented soybeans that have been pressed together to form a block and resemble a cake-like substance.
What Does Tempeh Taste Like?
On its own, tempeh has an earthy, nutty flavor that is mildly savory, and it often gets compared to mushrooms. The meat alternative provides a neutral base for plant-based recipes, being able to absorb many different seasonings and sauces. In fact, tempeh is so versatile that you can even make it taste like sausage or bacon due to its meaty texture and ability to take on many flavors.
How Do You Cook Tempeh?
Many tempeh recipes recommend softening the plant-based protein before cooking with it or adding it to an already-prepared dish. While you technically can eat it straight from the packet, many people steam, simmer, bake, or use an air fryer so it absorbs all of the sauces and seasonings.
Here, we’ve got a variety of recipes for you to try. From baked tempeh recipes to fried tempeh recipes to a couple of basic recipe options, you’ll be spoilt for choice the next time you want to cook up some vegan, veggie, and gluten-free goodies.
How Much Protein is in Tempeh?
For every 100 grams of tempeh, there are 19 grams of protein. It’s a great meat alternative that is popular with many vegans and vegetarians because as well as being a complete source of protein, it’s also high in Vitamin B12. This means that the plant-based protein contains all nine of the essential amino acids the body needs for healthy muscles and bones.
In terms of MACROS, 84 grams serving of tempeh contains:
Fat: 9 grams.
Carbohydrate: 9 grams.
Protein: 15 grams.
Is Tempeh Healthy?
In short, tempeh is healthy. It has zero cholesterol and is a good way to include fiber, iron, calcium, B vitamins, and other minerals into your diet.
The soya product also has a number of benefits, including:
- It supports gut health: One of the fibers present in tempeh is called prebiotic. This feeds the healthy bacteria in the gut, helping it to increase and thrive. Many of these bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids compounds that are beneficial to the gut.
- It supports bone health: Tempeh is rich in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, all of which are bone-friendly minerals.
- It can help manage cholesterol: Soya products contain isoflavones, natural compounds, which, if consumed regularly have been found to reduce cholesterol levels.
The Best Tempeh Recipes
Now you’re more clued up on the fermented soy product, it’s probably time to start cooking tempeh and experimenting with different recipes.
Baked Tempeh Recipes
Baked tempeh is popular among the vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free communities, so let’s start with a few recipes from this batch. To start, here’s how to bake the plant based protein:
- Start by chopping your tempeh into one-inch cubes.
- Steam the cubes before baking, as it helps to absorb the seasoned or marinated tempeh. You’ll want to do this for about 10 minutes – you can quickly whisk up your marinade while they steam. A popular coating is soy sauce or tamari, maple syrup, sriracha, olive oil, and rice vinegar.
- Now you’ve got the mixture together, you can our it over the cubes and let the tempeh marinate for about 30 minutes.
- Now comes the baking bit! Spread out the tempeh cubes on some parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes on a 425° heat. Remove from the oven after 10 minutes and brush a little more marinade over the cubes. Put them back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes until they’re golden brown around the edges.
Baked Tempeh, Spicy Mango, Black Bean & Avocado Tacos
A perfect mid-week meal for lunch or dinner that serves two!
- 4 – 6 warmed tortillas
- Baked tempeh
- 1 cup of cooked black beans
- 2 limes
- 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder (1/2 if you like things a bit spicier!)
- 1/2 thinly sliced avocado
- 2 cups of green cabbage (shredded)
- 1/2 diced mango
- 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
- sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese
For the spicy mayo:
- 1/3 cup of mayo
- 2 teaspoons of sriracha
Method (aside from the baked tempeh you cooked earlier):
- Mix the black beans with 1 tablespoon of lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 or 1/2 of chili powder together in a small bowl.
- Stir the spicy mayo mixture until the mayo is formed!
- Toss the cabbage and add a few pinches of salt and a squeeze of lime.
- Fill your tortillas with the avocado, black bean, mango, cabbage, cilantro, feta cheese, spicy mayo, and of course your baked tempeh.
- Serve with extra lime slices on the side and enjoy!
And there you go – a tasty baked tempeh recipe ready to eat!
Bok Choy Stir Fry
This one has a minimal prep time, and minimal cook time. Perfect for a quick dinner on a weekday.
- 2 baby bok choy (sliced into quarters)
- Baked tempeh
- 4oz of sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 small head of broccoli (and the stems)
- 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil/olive oil/any oil that can be heated on high
- 2 chopped scallions
- 1/2 cup of edamame
- 1 carrot sliced into strips
- 4oz brown rice pasta for gluten-free or stir fry noodles
- 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds
- Sriracha for serving
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of tamari
- 1 teaspoon of fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup for a vegan version
- 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger
- 1 small clove of minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
Method (aside from the baked tempeh you cooked earlier):
- Start by making the sauce. Stir the rice vinegar, lime juice, tamari, honey, ginger, sesame oil, and garlic together and set aside.
- Cook the noodles in a pot of salted boiling water, adhering to the packed instructions.
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the broccoli and mushrooms, stir to coat them in the sauce, and then cook for 1 – 2 minutes until the broccoli browns and the mushrooms soften.
- Shake the pan and stir the contents, and then add the bok choy, scallions, and edamame. While occasionally stirring, cook for another 2 minutes until the broccoli and bok choy are tender.
- Add the noodles and carrots and toss. Then, add the sauce and toss again. Squeeze some lime, toss, and taste, and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
- Serve with some extra sriracha and lime slices on the side, and enjoy!
There you have it, another baked tempeh recipe filled with delicious flavors!
Fried Tempah Recipes
For those who enjoy fried tempeh, here are a couple of recipes to add to your collection. So, how do you fry this plant-based protein to perfection?
Fried Tempeh Bowl
There are many different versions of a fried tempeh bowl, which means you can be as creative as you like with your ingredients and seasonings.
For this recipe, in particular, there is a 15-minute meal prep time and a 15-minute cooking time. You’ll be referring back when you need to whip up something quick and tasty!
- 200 grams of tempeh
- 2 – 3 tablespoons of high smoke oil (olive oil, etc.)
- 2 small, diced shallots
- 1 clove of finely chopped garlic (you can use garlic powder if you wish)
- 1 stalk of minced lemongrass
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of ginger (finely grated)
- 1 – 2 teaspoons of sriracha
- 4 teaspoons of coconut sugar or any other type of sugar
- 3 tablespoons of lime juice
For the rest of the dish:
- 195 grams of cooked rice
- 200 grams of broccoli (stir-fried or steamed – your choice)
- Pickles – these are optional
- Fresh coriander
- Thin slices of the green part of a spring onion
- Cut the tempeh into chunks. You can either do this with your hands or slice it into cubes.
- In a small pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once it’s hot, add the sliced tempeh and let it fry until it’s brown on one side. Once one side is golden brown, stir the tempeh until it’s browned on the other side. Then, lift the chunks from the oil and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and leave to cool.
- Use the leftover olive oil to fry the diced shallot on a low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Then, add the ginger, garlic (or garlic powder), and lemongrass and, on a very low heat, sauté.
- Then add the lime juice and coconut sugar, allowing the sauce to slightly bubble on a low heat.
- Price the tempeh into the sauce and stir it well so each chunk is covered.
- Serve in a bowl with brocolli, rice, and pickles. Then, garnish with some fresh coriander and the spring onion.
- If you have some remaining marinade, pour it over the top of the dish for some extra flavor. This one’s a real tempeh love affair!