Tempeh and tofu both start with the letter T, they’re both vegan, they both originated in Asia, and they are both loaded with protein. Although far more people know about tofu than tempeh, you shouldn’t miss out on trying either of these soy-based foods. Both are fantastic in an endless assortment of dishes.

Tempeh was invented centuries ago by Indonesian monks in search of a satisfying and nutrient-rich meat replacement. It’s made from cultured soybeans (and often rice or other grains) that bind together to form a sheet a little more than a centimeter thick. Many people shy away from tempeh because they have no idea how to prepare it, but give it a try since it can open the door to a number of great recipes. Tempeh has a unique nutty and slightly bitter taste, and it soaks up marinade easily to take on the flavor of your recipes’ accompanying ingredients.

One of the best ways to prepare tempeh is to cut it into thin strips, about half the length of a finger, then sauté each side over low heat until just golden. Then add the strips to a tomato sauce immediately before serving over pasta. Tempeh sautéed in this manner is also great in stir-fries.

Tempeh can usually be found near the tofu in the refrigerated section of most natural food stores. Tofurky makes a pre-marinated sliced tempeh that you can sautée to perfection in minutes.

Related pages: tofu, vegan meats, and vegan protein sources.

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