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What is Tempeh?

Tempeh is one of the healthiest and tastiest ingredients in my fridge. It’s a fantastic source of protein and a great meat substitute. If you’re wanting to try cooking tempeh, you need to check out these recipes. 

overhead of sliced tempeh on a wood cutting board

Tempeh has quickly become one of my favorite ingredients in the kitchen. And I’m not the only one! It’s still not a super common ingredient, but its popularity has been steadily growing. I can usually find tempeh at any grocery store, and I’ve even seen it on a few menus at local restaurants! 

It’s easy to see why it’s becoming more popular. Tempeh is an awesome replacement for meat in vegetarian and vegan cooking and it’s really enjoyable to cook with. Plus, it’s super healthy and a very affordable protein.  

A lot of people aren’t familiar with how to cook tempeh. If that’s you, then have no fear! I’ve put together 7 of my favorite tempeh recipes. They’re easy to make, so you can jump right into cooking this unique and delicious ingredient. If you’re anything like me, you’ll love cooking – and eating! – tempeh.

What is Tempeh? 

Tempeh is made out of fermented soybeans. I know what you’re thinking: fermented soybeans don’t sound delicious! But trust me when I say that they are. Tofu is also made out of soybeans, but tempeh is a lot different. Tempeh has a more pronounced flavor and a much more solid texture. The consistency is actually quite similar to meat! 

What Does It Taste Like?

I really love the unique and complex flavor of tempeh, which is chock full of umami flavor. I think it has a super earthy flavor that’s similar to nuts and mushrooms. But even though tempeh has a strong flavor, one of my favorite things about this ingredient is how much flavor it can absorb when you’re cooking with it. It makes it so versatile in the kitchen! 

Is It Healthy?

Tempeh is super healthy, which is part of why I eat it so often! It has tons of vitamin B12, but no cholesterol at all. It’s a really popular meat substitute because it’s loaded with protein. And best of all, tempeh has all 9 of the essential amino acids that your body needs, which makes it a complete protein! 

Soy is one of the healthiest foods that you can eat, so I try and make it a big part of my diet. It’s known to improve cholesterol, heart health, and bone health while lowering inflammation and blood pressure. Plus, soy products are even proven to help fight cancer

Check out the impressive nutritional data for a 3-ounce piece of tempeh: 

  • Calories – 160
  • Protein – 18 g
  • Total fat – 5 g
  • Total carbs – 10 g
  • Fiber – 28% of your daily value
  • Iron – 10% of your daily value
  • Calcium – 6% of your daily value

Is It Healthier Than Tofu?

I eat a lot of tempeh and also a lot of tofu because both ingredients are yummy and healthy. There are a few key differences in the nutrition of these ingredients, though. Tempeh has loads more protein and fiber than tofu does, but it also has more calories and carbs. 

How Much Protein Does Tempeh Have?

I always have tempeh around, in large part because of the sheer amount of protein it has. In a lot of recipes where other people would be eating meat, I prefer to eat tempeh. It only takes 3 ounces of tempeh to give you a whopping 18 grams of protein. What does that mean? It means that a 155-pound person can get a third of their daily protein requirement with just 3 ounces of this tasty ingredient! How cool is that? 

How to Store It

Don’t worry, tempeh is super easy to store. All you need to do is keep it in an airtight container or wrap it in wax paper and it will last in the fridge for 10 days. You can even freeze tempeh! It will last for a whole year in the freezer. 

Healthy Tempeh Recipes You’ve Got to Try 

I really love to cook with tempeh. The flavors you can get with some of these recipes are absolutely fantastic, and these dishes are all super healthy. You’ve got to try them!

close up of four strips of cooked tempeh bacon

Tempeh Bacon

Tempeh is very commonly used to make vegan bacon. It’s a great option for a bacon substitute because of how much flavor it can absorb. In this recipe, the tempeh is marinated in soy sauce, maple syrup, nutritional yeast, hot sauce, liquid smoke, olive oil, and paprika, and the flavors are explosive.
Check out this recipe
overhead of a bowl with layered vegan cobb salad and creamy dressing

Vegan Cobb Salad

The strong flavors of tempeh bacon work so well in a big salad. Avocado, chickpeas, and tomatoes balance out the sweet and smoky flavor of the tempeh bacon. This salad is topped with a creamy and rich vegan ranch dressing. It’s fantastic!
Check out this recipe
sheet pan balsamic vegetable quinoa bowl recipe for meal prep

Balsamic Tempeh and Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Bowls

This is one of the healthiest recipes I know. It’s just tempeh, quinoa, some veggies, and a few seasonings. But it’s just as tasty as it is healthy. The tempeh is baked with the vegetables and has such a succulent texture. It pairs perfectly with the quinoa.
Check out this recipe
Easy Buffalo Tempeh Salad Bowls

Buffalo Tempeh Salad Bowls

I’m a huge fan of foods that are buffalo flavored. And tempeh absorbs buffalo flavor even more than chicken does. These salad bowls are decadent but super healthy. The lemon tahini dressing ties all the ingredients together, but the buffalo tempeh is the star of the show.
Check out this recipe
Creamy Kale Salad with Smoky Baked Tempeh Croutons

Creamy Kale Salad with Smoky Tempeh Croutons

Tempeh is usually used as a meat substitute. But in this gluten-free recipe, it serves as a bread substitute. And let me tell you: tempeh croutons are awesome! They’re crunchy and smoky, and add the perfect hit of flavor and texture to this outstanding salad.
Check out this recipe
Cashew-Free Vegan Caesar Salad! Made without any nuts, no soaking required and it's SO FLAVORFUL!

Vegan Caesar Salad with Baked Tempeh Strips

This is one of my favorite caesar salads. The dressing is complex and tangy, and cherry tomatoes add a burst of sweetness. But the real star is the tempeh strips, which are savory, spicy, and tender. Plus, the recipe is vegan and gluten-free, which caesar salads usually aren’t!
Check out this recipe
overhead of a marble platter with two vegan tempeh fajitas

Vegan Fajitas with Tempeh

Everybody loves fajitas. But what if I told you that they were even better with tempeh than with meat? It’s true! The tempeh absorbs all of the Mexican spices in this recipe and picks up so much flavor from the onion, garlic, and peppers. It’s tender and juicy, but bursting with flavor.
Check out this recipe

More Healthy Vegan Recipes to Make

Tempeh is one of my favorite ingredients to use when making vegan food. It’s the perfect substitute for meat. But make sure to check out the rest of my recipes to find more healthy vegan foods to cook!

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