Trying tempeh

This might be hard to believe, but I have been vegan for 8 months now (plus vegetarian off and on for a couple years prior) and until Monday night, I had never tried tempeh!

Well, I’m sure I’ve had it in some dishes before without realizing it. But I’ve never purchased or made it myself at home before now.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh, or tempe in Indonesian, is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy-foods in that it is the only one that did not originate in China or Japan. It originated in today’s Indonesia, and is especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but tempeh is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamin. It has a firm texture and strong flavor. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue.

Thank you, Wikipedia! The nutritional profile is also outstanding — tempeh is a good source of protein and fiber!

I happened upon this package of tempeh which was on sale at Whole Foods over the weekend.


And since I had some veggies in my fridge to use up, I decided to make a stir fry.


Thanks to my friend Carrie for supplying me with some delicious, local, organic snow peas from her CSA! πŸ™‚

I also threw in my own mix of peppers and onions that I had thawed from the freezer. Also, I drizzled on some soy sauce as I cooked everything.

Et voila!


I absolutely adored the tempeh! I might even go as far as to say I liked it better than tofu. It’s just an entirely different texture and I liked how much easier it was to cook!

Now I just needΒ to figure out what else to make with it, since I only used half the package. πŸ˜‰

Have you tried tempeh?

About Sarah Frankel

I am 29 years old and a resident of Louisville, Kentucky. I've been married to my husband Josh for 6 years and we have a 5 year old beagle named Suzie. Four years ago, I changed my eating and exercise habits, dropping 70 pounds and gaining an entirely new life. I took up running in September 2007 and became vegan in October 2009. I am constantly striving to improve my life so that I can live it to the fullest! I hope you will join me on my life journey.

Posted on June 9, 2010, in Dinner, products and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Yeah – tempeh is great. It’s also the base for Fakin’ Bacon by the same company which is pretty rad and less processed than Lightlife’s actual bacon-looking mock meat. There’s also a recipe for using ground-up tempeh as a sort of mock tuna-salad.

  2. Tempeh is soooo good! You must try tempeh bacon. It’s amazing! Check it out here:

  3. I just received an email from VegWeb with a recipe for Beer Baked Tempeh Reubens. I must make this!

  4. So funny that the ways I’ve had tempeh have been those already mentioned — in Reubens and in to make facon. I also crumbled it and re-formed it into patties similar to crab cakes. That recipe is in Vegan Brunch and it turned out wonderfully for me on my first try!

  5. I’ve never tried tempeh! But if it’s better than tofu I’ll give it a go.

  6. Katherine: What About Summer?

    I’ve been wanting to try tempeh too! how did you pick out which variety to try? they all look the same to me!

  7. Tempeh Wingz – – or the crab cakes in Vegan Brunch.

    Trust me.

  1. Pingback: Earth Balance and Fakin’ Bacon « See Sarah Eat

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