Okay, so you're a little unsure about tempeh. That's natural. I get it.
You're like, "Umm... fermented soy loaf?"
Trust me, that's how I felt too. After all, why eat a vegan meat substitute if you're not even a vegetarian? Well, let me give you a few excellent reasons!
Why You Need to Try Tempeh
1. It's a whole food. Many soybean products in the US come from highly processed soybeans, but in the form of tempeh, they're in their whole, naturally nourishing form. (WHF)
2. The fermentation process makes it easier to digest than other high-protein foods like beans, legumes, or tofu. (WHF)
3. During fermentation, soy compounds are broken down into smaller peptides that serve as antioxidants, boost immune function, and prevent inflammation. (WHF)
4. It's extremely low in sodium and extremely high in fiber.
5. It contains natural antibiotics, helping protect you from disease. (Tempeh Info)
6. Lots of protein and fiber mean it helps prevent high blood sugar levels and keeps blood sugar levels under control. It's an especially great source of protein for diabetics, who often have problems with animal protein. (Tempeh Info)
So you've decided to try tempeh. Now what?
1. Buy some at the grocery or health food store.
2. Make the delicious Asian-inspired tempeh stir fry below!
Look for tempeh near the tofu. It often comes in vacuum sealed packs like those below, and once opened, can be kept tightly wrapped in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Some great tempeh brands to try are Lightlife (wild rice and flax varieties are quite good) and Soyboy (5 grain – don't go for their plain soy kind). See package images below.
Once you've got your tempeh in hand, follow this easy recipe!
Asian-Inspired Tempeh Spaghetti Squash Stir Fry
Prep Time: 30 min. Cook Time: 1 hr. Difficulty: Easy
Recipe adapted from Eating Well
What You'll Need
1 3-pound spaghetti squash
1 package of pre-cooked tempeh
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
5 medium scallions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Asian red chile sauce, such as sriracha
What to Do
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut squash in half. Scoop out and discard seeds. Place each half, cut-side down, on a baking sheet. Bake until the squash is tender, about 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes then shred the flesh with a fork into a bowl. Discard the shell. Meanwhile, cut tempeh into bitesize pieces.
2. Heat a large wok over medium-high heat. Swirl in oil, then add scallions, garlic, ginger and salt; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tempeh; cook, stirring constantly, until just heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the squash threads and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar and chile sauce (or chile oil); cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
Serve hot with a side of steamed veggies. Enjoy! :)