One of the most common questions I get, working at a vegetarian food company, is how do you cook tempeh. I find that many people – vegetarian or not – seem to get intimidated by the unique, but healthy food. Perhaps it’s because it’s packaged in a long block, it isn’t extremely common, or maybe it’s the word fermented in its description. But I’m here to tell you not to judge a
book food by its cover. Tempeh is an extremely versatile food and is honestly very easy to cook!
Tempeh has a very distinct taste, but when paired with another flavor profile, it soaks everything in and takes on a new persona. I like to think of it in the same way when tackling how to prepare it. You really can create almost anything.
Slice and dice the tempeh however your heart desires, remember even sized pieces are essential for making sure they cook evenly too! If you really want to have fun, crumble it with your hands into little pieces. A concern I often hear from those trying to reduce the amount of meat in their diet is that they feel like something is missing from their meal leaving them unsatisfied. Crumbled tempeh can be added into many different dishes, such as chilies or sauces to give it that extra somethin-somethin. I promise you won’t be hungry after eating a hearty portion of tempeh!
Once you’ve decided what size pieces you’d like to work with, play with how you want to prepare it. If you think the natural flavor of tempeh is a little bitter for your liking, here is a tip: steam the tempeh before continuing with your preparation. If you’re comfortable cooking with sauces, you can marinate your tempeh before cooking so it takes on the flavor of the rest of your dish. My personal favorite is frying it a little bit of olive oil, drizzling Braggs Liquid Aminos over each of the pieces, and then adding it to my stir-fry of the day.
The key is to experiment. Depending on the dish, sometimes I like it crispy, and other times it works better if I only heat the tempeh long enough to get it warm. Once you become familiar with the product, it can become a useful ingredient that has the ability to transform your favorite recipes.
Want to experiment with the ingredient for yourself? Post a comment here telling me how you plan to try it and I’ll pick a few of you to send free coupons to. And then I want to hear how it turned out! Trust me; it really is worth a try! We even have some great recipes for you to start off with if you aren’t keen on experimenting in the kitchen. 😉
What are your experiences with tempeh? Are you a fan already, or maybe someone who has yet to try it?
Lightlife Team Member