Move Over, Tofu

By Trilby Goouch
Blogs Editor

Most students are familiar with tofu, chickpeas, lentils and beans. As standard meat alternatives, they pack in protein and healthy carbohydrates. Tempeh, though equally nutritional and easy to prepare, tends to fall under the radar.

Although I grew up eating and loving tofu, it wasn’t until recently that I had my first encounter with tempeh. Suffice to say, tofu has got some competition.

What is tempeh?
Tempeh is a whole soybean product that originates from Indonesia. Tempeh boasts more protein, dietary fibre and vitamins than other soy alternatives and boasts a firm texture and earthy flavour. You can find tempeh in health food and grocery stores alongside other soy-based products.

When paired with a simple marinade, tempeh gives chicken strips a run for their money. I find the firm, nutty texture and flavour preferable to tofu’s milder taste and consistency. Here is my go-to tempeh recipe that I highly recommend, which I adapted from vegetarian cookbook, Fresh at Home. I used a specific marinade, but feel free to play with Mexican, Indian, Thai or other flavoured marinades.

Trilby’s Tempeh

• 2 eight ounce packages of tempeh
• 4 tbsp water
• 4 tsp honey
• 2/3 cup of tamari or soy sauce
• 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
• 2 tsp pepper
• 4 tsp garlic powder
• Mix marinade ingredients in a medium size bowl
• Cut the blocks of tempeh into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Soak in marinade for 1 hour
• Pan-fry over medium heat until golden brown and crispy. Freeze half of the tempeh if you don’t plan on using it all right away. Cooked tempeh can stay fresh in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Ways to incorporate tempeh into your weekly meals:

Try throwing a few tempeh steaks onto a bed of fresh spinach or lettuce, along with some avocado, grated carrots, sundried tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts and toasted almonds.

Trade in your beef or veggie patty with a few flavourful tempeh steaks. Sandwich between a whole wheat bun or wrap and dress with Dijon mustard, ketchup and your favourite veggies.

Pair a vegetable stir-fry with some chopped up steaks. Dress with soy, ginger, peanut or lemon grass flavours and toss with a noodle of your choice.

Rice bowls
Cook some brown rice and top with tempeh, steamed sweet potato, grilled zucchini, red pepper, tomatoes, avocado and toasted almonds. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.

Pasta sauces, stews, chilies or curries
Add crumbled, grated, or cubed tempeh.

BBQ style
Swap your meat with tempeh in your next BBQ meal. Pan fry in your favourite BBQ steak marinade.

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