Tempeh: a hearty fermented soy product
This brick of beans is made by the beautiful process of fermentation.
How it’s Made
First the soybeans are soaked and partially cooked. Additional beans or grains can be added to this mixture before the fermentation process begins. Then a bacterial starter (which contains Rhizopus bacteria) is added to the soybeans and the fermentation process begins. The result is a block of protein packed soy full of probiotics. The fermentation process also makes the soybeans easier to digest because the oligosaccharides (what makes you gassy from beans) are greatly reduced by the bacteria used to ferment the soybeans.
Tempeh is one of the most protein dense vegetarian food options. One cup of tempeh is 62% of your daily protein requirement. It also has over 100% of your daily value of manganese not to mention it’s high in copper, phosphorus, and riboflavin. It’s also a good source of iron and calcium.
Tempeh can be found in most healthy food stores or Asian markets and depending on the store it will either be in a refrigerated or frozen section. Packages will indicate whether the product has been pre-cooked, flavored, or seasoned. When selecting a product make sure the soybeans and grains are still tightly packed together and not loose or crumbly. Small black or gray spots on the surface are fine. However, avoid purchasing tempeh that has any pink, blue, or yellow coloration – this means the tempeh is too fermented and is spoiling.
How to Use Tempeh
There are so many ways tempeh can be used in dishes. It can be crumbled and topped on a salad or can be marinated and become the feature of any dish. I love making tempeh reuben sandwiches – or try this smoky tempeh sandwich by My New Roots.
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