Recipe numero dos is another vegetarian dish. So I feel the need to tell all of you out there that I do follow a semi-vegetarian diet. If we wanna be fancy about it, we can call me a pescetarian! I am a vegetarian who eats seafood. I also eat dairy and eggs. While this is the lifestyle I choose to follow, I am not here to convert anyone to vegetarianism. Having said that, a majority of the recipes I share will be vegetarian. But good news! You don’t have to be a herbivore (plant-eater) to enjoy some tofu every once and a while! Plus, there are some health benefits to being a vegetarian or eating vegetarian occaisonally, including lowering your risk of heart disease! So listen up and let me tell you a little bit about tempeh!
Tempeh, your not-so-average tofu
Tempeh is a fermented food made by cooked soybeans with Rhizopus mold (starter). YUMM! This mold is what ferments the tempeh, binding the soybeans into a compact white cake-like shape. A favorite food choice of Indonesians, tempeh is their staple protein source. This vegetarian protein has a firm texture and a nutty-mushroom flavor. It is usually prepared by frying until golden brown and makes a great addition to stir-frys, soups, sandwiches, spreads, and salads. Tempeh can be easily made at home or purchased from the grocery store.
Tempeh can serve as a great source of protein for vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike! One serving of tempeh generally has 16-20 grams of protein. That’s about the same amount of protein as one serving of meat! And what do we know about protein?! It is such an important part of our diets to help maintain our metabolism and muscle mass, and of course to help keep us feeling full!
Let’s breakdown the health benefits of this lovely protein-packed food:
- high in soy protein (contains ALL essential amino acids)
- low in calories (150 calories for 3 oz)
- low in saturated fat
- packed with as much fiber as beans
- contains isoflavones and antioxidants (temp-huhhh? ill explain below)
- digestive benefits from enzymes naturally produced by fermentation
Isoflavones have many health benefits. They are natural antioxidants to help keep you lookin young! They also help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, improve menopause symptoms, and keep your bones strong.
Now that you are so eager and intrigued to try tempeh..let me share with you the recipe I tried from Whole Foods.com
1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, cut into bite-size chunks
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled (optional) and cut into bite-size pieces
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 finely chopped parsley
Put tamari, mirin, granulated garlic, onion powder and sesame oil into a wide, shallow dish and stir to combine. Add tempeh, toss to coat, cover and set aside to let marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, ginger, cinnamon and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the marinade from the tempeh. Set the yams aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain tempeh then add and cook, turning frequently, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish, toss with sweet potatoes, salt and pepper then cover with foil and bake until sweet potatoes are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Per serving (about 3oz/95g-wt.): 170 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 680mg sodium, 13g total carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 9g protein
The sweet potatoes impart a lovely sweetness to the flavor of the tempeh marinade. A word to the wise: my tempeh tasted a little too salty so make sure you use a low-sodium tamari! Serve with a side of green veggies (I chose green beans) and you got yourself a well-balanced meal! Let me know how yours turns out! I would love to hear!
Enjoy your veg-tastic protein!
Peace, love, and food,
Have you tried any tempeh recipes you would like to share?