Tempeh is fermented soy beans. The way it works is with the Rhizopus mold which binds the soybeans into a compact white cake. Now stop your cringing and read on as this is a super delicious and healthful food.
Now don't go getting your soy-fearing-knickers in a bunch over my calling a soy-based food healthful. You would not find plain old tofu, soy milk, soy cheese, soy burgers, soy, flour, soy beans, soy-based cereals or even soya sauce in my kitchen. The main problem with soy is not really that is has phytoestrogens (mimics human estrogen), or that it has enzyme inhibitors (makes digestion a challenge).
The problem with soy is that most conventionally grown soy crops are genetically modified, and our bodies do not respond well to genetically modified foods that are coming out of labs these days. Also, those who are trying to ween themselves off meat or who follow recommendations in many veggie/vegan cook books end up substituting siy for everything. They replace far too many food groups and end up having far too many servings of it, most often in processed veggie friendly foods. Soy is like the plastecine of the food industry and can be molded into anything- from a hot dog to cup cake icing to bread.
So back to my love for Tempeh. Tempeh is a probiotic food, which means it helps the body to produce the healthful bacteria, while at the same time has antibiotic properties which help fight down that nasty guys. Tempeh is a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. It has soy isoflavones that strengthen bones, help to ease menopause symptoms, reduce risk of coronary hearth disease and some cancers. Tempeh maintains all the fiber of the beans and gains some digestive benefits from the enzymes created during the fermentation process.
Tempeh is usually found in the freezer section of the health food store.
Here is one of my favourites. I enjoy this Sweet and Sour Tempeh over brown rice, or mixed greens.
- 1½ Tbs Olive Oil
- 1 8-oz package of tempeh
- 1 Tbs Tamari (or soya sauce)
- 2 Large sweet-tart apples (I love the Honey Crisp), cored and chopped
- 1 Large red onion, chopped
- 8 cups Red Cabbage, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- ⅓ cup Honey
- ⅓ cup pecans
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ sunflower seeds
- Heat 1½ tsp of oil in a skillet.
- Add tempeh and sauté for about five minutes (or until browned)
- Stir in Tamari and ½ cup of water. Simmer for five minutes, or until liquid has absorbed, turning occasionally.
- Cool and cut tempeh into 1-inch cubes.
- Heating remaining 1 Tbs of oil in a medium pot and add apples and onion. Saute for 10 minutes.
- Lightly toast pecans and seeds over medium heat in a pan, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in cabbage, vinegar and honey.
- Reduce heat to medium and partially cover.
- Cook for 25 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.
- Stir in tempeh, nuts and seeds and season with salt and pepper.