Meatless Mondays: Tempeh

Posted on April 23, 2012 by Mickey

Whether you’re a hardcore vegan or you’re just the type who likes to mix it up and skip the meat every now and then, tempeh is where it’s at. Tempeh is made from soy, but unlike its trickier-to-get-right and often maligned cousin, tofu, it uses the whole soybean. It’s basically just fermented beans formed into a cake. To use, it can be crumbled, sliced or grilled like a patty. Like tofu, it takes well to marinades. The reasons to go with tempeh, however, are its superior texture (in my opinion; it’s not squishy like tofu) and its vastly superior nutritional profile: Tempeh, because it employs the whole bean, is loaded with both protein and fiber. Oh, and it tastes good.

My favorite way to eat tempeh is in a stir fry. It’s not necessary, but I like to steam it first in a steamer pot for about ten minutes before I brown it a bit with everything else in the stir fry. That just seems to open it up to taking on the other flavors better. Lately I’ve been tossing the vegetables and tempeh in a peanut sauce before serving over brown rice for a killer meal. Here’s how the peanut sauce goes:

In a blender place 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/8 cup white vinegar or rice vinegar, 1/3 cup water, 1 Tablespoon maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 2/3 cup peanut butter (I like chunky), 2 Tablespoons sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon paprika,  and crushed red pepper flakes (to taste). Blend until smooth.

If you’d rather try to slip the tempeh into a meal hidden behind some pretty serious distractions, another dish I recently tried out was Slate’s Black Bean and Stout Chili (pictured above), which also features dark chocolate in the recipe. Your father’s chili, this is not.

My local grocer, Publix, carries tempeh in the organic foods section, unfortunately right next to all the meat analogs (not a fan.) It’s a little expensive there, going for around $4 for 8 ounces. If you’ve got a Trader Joe’s nearby, though, they sell it for half that, maybe less, making it a great value for a protein-packed food.


  1. Great Write up! Gonna have to try me some Tempeh! sounds great!

    April 23rd, 2012 at 4:16 pm
    Comment by Bobby
  2. OK. I’ve never tried it, but you’ve convinced me. You make it all sound so yummy!

    April 23rd, 2012 at 8:54 pm
    Comment by Lynn

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