Tofu is one of the most popular ingredients in Asian cuisine, and has been around for over two thousand years. In North America, it is arguably an important source of protein for those who follow a plant-based diet. But even so, many are still not accustomed to the soy product. I get it, the silky and squishy texture is throwing you off, which is why you need to try tofu’s estranged cousin, tempeh.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh was thought to be an accidental creation when the Chinese brought the tofu industry to Indonesia, but somehow flourished in its own way–kind of like your sibling who was an accident but ended up being way smarter and more likeable than you. Just like tofu, it is a soy product, but comes with an entirely different set of textures and nutritional values due to its fermentation process.

In terms of texture, tempeh is essentially whole soybeans that have been cooked and pressed down into a patty, making it extra meaty, grainy, and filling. The fermentation process also gives a pleasant and slightly tangy flavour.

The nutritional value will vary depending on the specific product and brand, but tempeh’s use of whole soybeans and fermentation process overall provide a high content of nutrients. In just 100 grams, the soy product packs about 19 grams of protein, and is high in minerals including manganese, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, and various vitamins.


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How do you cook it?

Tempeh is a super versatile ingredient that can be easily incorporated into just about any dish. It provides an excellent texture in tacos, fajitas, and chilis. It’s a also great substitute for tofu or meat for your favourite stir-fry. Or even enjoy it as a snack! Breaded strips of tempeh as a snack to appeal to everyone in your family.

Try our delicious vegan tempeh fries recipe.

Have you tried this unique fermented soy product? Love it? Hate it? Share with us your thoughts and your favourite ways to cook it.




Daniel is a Digital Marketing and Content Strategist at SPUD. He graduated from UBC with a degree in English and International Relations with a focus on environmental topics. A wordsmith by day and a bookman by night, he's a self-proclaimed gastronomic snob, a buck-a-shuck addict, a sub-par skier, and a devoted kingsguard of the oxford comma. He also frequents the dog park with a schnauzer named Duke. | Instagram: @dannnyellow

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