Hi everyone! Today I’ve got a super healthy recipe using tempeh and an article on why we should include it in our intake of soy foods. I don’t eat soy foods everyday but when I do, I stick with tempeh and miso. In case your not sure what tempeh is, basically its fermented soy beans and a much powerful way of eating soy. In my view on soy, tofu may be popular but overrated. Tempeh on the other hand provides so much more and here is why…
More Protein: Tempeh is an excellent source of plant based protein with all of the essential amino acids and almost double the protein than contained in tofu. Tofu has about 12 grams per 4 ounces, tempeh has about 22 grams for the same serving!
Its Whole: If your going to be on a plant based whole foods diet, one of the most important things to remember is to choose foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed as little as possible. Tempeh is a whole food by nature. The vast majority of soy consumed in the U.S. come from highly processed methods. Some of the most processed foods today include vegan foods! Manufacturing soy includes dehulling, crushing, high pressure heating which can destroy all the enzymes, and subjecting soy beans to solvents such as hexane to separate the oils. What’s left after the oil extraction is called defatted soy flour which is used to make soy protein isolates, soy protein concentrates, TSP (texturized soy protein), and animal feed. These soy protein isolates and concentrates are what’s used to make a lot of packaged foods, including vegan foods.
Less Processing: Have you seen how tofu is actually made? If anything, tofu is a denatured machine based food. Tofu is formed (watch here) through a process of curdling heated soy milk, and then adding coagulant ingredients to make blocks. In ancient times and in traditional recipes, the coagulant is natural. Today, most tofu found at the grocery store are made with chemical coagulants. Many people, including myself, believe that being whole foods plant based means getting most of our diet, if not all, from foods that come directly from the earth, not highly processed from huge tanks and machines.
More Nutrition: Although tempeh is a little higher in calories than tofu (about 60 calories more per half cup), its less processed and contains more protein and fiber. Since we shouldn’t be consuming more than 3-5 servings of soy a day anyway, getting more with less would be a pay off.
Alkaline Protein: Soy tempeh is alkaline. As most of us know, animal proteins such as meat, poultry, fish, and dairy are highly acidic foods. What many may not know is that processed grain filled “mock meats” such as seitan, otherwise known as wheat meat, and TVP (texturized vegetable protein) can also increase the acidity levels in our tissues, which is the root cause of inflammation.
Probiotic Food: Another big benefit to choosing tempeh over tofu is its fermented and easier to digest. Eating more fermented foods helps to build gut flora, something we all could use to help build our immune and improve our health. Personally, I prefer tempeh’s meat like texture over mushy tofu anytime!
More benefits or click here to learn more about Tempeh:
- Excellent source of protein, contains all 9 of the essential amino acids
- Excellent source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron
- High in B vitamins including folic acid (B9)
- High in enzymes which can help to preserve our own
- High in soluble and insoluble dietary fiber
- Low in sodium
- Low in saturated fat
- Cholesterol free
- Better flavor and texture and as mentioned, less refined than tofu
Your in for a surprise with this incredible “chicken” salad recipe because not only does it taste great, its super easy to make! So let’s get started:
- 8 ounce package organic soy tempeh (I use Lightlife)
- 1/2 large cucumber, partially peeled and minced
- 2-3 stalks of celery, minced
- 3/4 cup rainbow tomatoes, chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons minced olives (green or black)
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro or flat leaf parsely
- 2 tablespoons soy free Vegenaise (to avoid processed soy)
- 1 tablespoon non dairy greek yogurt (helps reduce overall fat)
- 1 tablespoon relish
- 2 tsps mustard
- 2-3 limes, juiced
- onion powder and Himalayan pink salt
- Start by chopping the tempeh into small pieces and juicing the limes. In a bowl, marinate the tempeh for about 20 minutes or until you’ve chopped the rest of your ingredients. This helps to brighten its flavor. Tofu is extremely porous and soaks up flavors more quickly, but tempeh needs marinating before cooking for maximum flavor, just like real meat! You can also add garlic for more flavor.
- Drain the tempeh and in a small frying pan sprayed with olive oil, lightly sizzle the soy for about 7-10 minutes with salt and onion powder. Cool for 5 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked tempeh, Vegenaise, greek yogurt, mustard and relish until the tempeh is fully covered.
- Next, fold in the cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, olives, onions, and cilantro. I like cherry or grape tomatoes because they are loaded with flavor and tend to stay firm in recipes. I used these lovely rainbow cherry tomatoes in mine.
- Your done! Now you can serve it by topping it on gluten free toast, making a sandwich, stuffing a pita bread, or wrapping it in greens as I did! Enjoy. 😀
by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer
2. Brown, Susan E., and Larry Trivieri. The Acid Alkaline Food Guide: A Quick Reference to Foods & Their Effect on PH Levels. Garden City Park, NY: Square One, 2006.
4. Daniel, Kaayla T. The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food. Washington, DC: New Trends, 2005.