I know the first thing that a lot of readers are thinking is, “What in the world is tempeh?” so let’s cover that first! I read a lot of healthy living blogs and saw several bloggers eating tempeh regularly. As a lover of alternative proteins and grains, I had to give it a try. The best overview I found was from The George Mateljan Foundation.
“Although not a common item in most households in the United States, tempeh, with its distinctively nutty taste and nougat-like texture, is increasing in popularity. It easily absorbs the flavors of the other foods with which it is cooked making it adaptable to many types of dishes. Tempeh can be found in health food stores and specialty markets throughout the year.
Tempeh has been a staple in Indonesia for over 2000 years. It is a highly nutritious fermented food traditionally made from soybeans and its high protein content makes it a wonderful substitute for meat.”
For more information on tempeh, including nutrition breakdown, check out their site.
I picked some Lightlife Organic Tempeh at Harris Teeter. I was surprised that it was so easy to find at my normal grocery. I decided to try a recipe from Whole Foods for Roasted Tempeh and Sweet Potatoes. I thought that for my first time trying tempeh, it would be best to make it as part of a dish. Some of the hardcore bloggers eat it raw but I’m not there yet! :)
The verdict? I really enjoyed it and have made it again several times since. I loved topping a salad with the leftovers. My husband, however, was not such a fan. He ate it (I’m so lucky – he will try anything!) but I don’t think he’ll be requesting it again. I think it’s one of those foods you either like or don’t care for – it definitely has a unique taste and texture – but if you are conscientious about your meat intake and looking for new sources of protein, I definitely recommend trying tempeh.
Roasted Sweet Tempeh and Sweet Potatoes
(Recipe source, Whole Foods)
1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic, garlic powder or 1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder or 1/4 cup onion, minced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled (optional) and diced
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
In a shallow dish, whisk together tamari, mirin, granulated garlic, onion powder and sesame oil. Add tempeh, toss to coat, cover and set aside to let marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. While tempeh is marinating, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, ginger, cinnamon and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the marinade from the tempeh. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain tempeh and then place in skillet. Cook, turning frequently, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish and toss with sweet potatoes, salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake until sweet potatoes are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Yield: 6 side dish servings or 3 main dish servings