Soy Tempeh, Super Tasty Superfood!

Spiced Tempeh with Confetti Vegetables

Superfoods, by definition are nutrient-dense and considered especially beneficial for health and wellbeing. A food that is rich in compounds, such as antioxidants, fiber or phytonutrients that can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and may help prevent cancer and other diseases is regarded as a superfood.

Soyfoods are nutrient dense and deliver on all of the criteria necessary to be regarded as a superfood! Soybeans are loaded with complete protein, antioxidants and phytochemicals and contain plenty of soluble and insoluble fiber… all of which have been credited with numerous health benefits.

For decades, scientists have conducted numerous studies demonstrating that soybeans provide all of the essential amino acids and unique phytonutrients credited with the prevention of many chronic diseases.

According to Dr. James Anderson, chief investigator on the landmark meta-analysis on soy and heart health, soy foods are some of the healthiest foods you can put on the table. This is because they help fight what Dr. Anderson calls The ‘Big Five,’ heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and high-blood pressure.[1]

Tempeh is a whole soyfood made from cooked, fermented soybeans that may be made exclusively with soy or combined with grains, such as brown rice, barley, millet or rye.

Tempeh is hearty and delicious and not at all like tofu.  These tender cakes of cultured soybeans have a chewy texture and hearty consistency that even meat eaters enjoy. Because tempeh is fermented, it is easier to digest, even for people who have a sensitivity to soyfoods.

While once only sold in the refrigerated case in health food stores, Japanese groceries or specialty stores, like Trader Joes tempeh is available these days in many supermarkets. Look for tempeh in vacuum packages (shrink wrapped)  in the cold case and can be frozen right in the package.

Like all soyfoods, including tempeh in your diet has many health benefits and a tasty alternative to animal products. You can replace traditional ingredients with tempeh in a one-to-one ratio, in any recipe.

Tempeh is easy to prepare and I recommend that it be cubed and steamed for 15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. Steaming will tenderize tempeh and allow it to absorb the flavors of other ingredients more readily.  You may store the steamed tempeh, covered in the refrigerator and ready to pop into your favorite dish for up to 5 days.

Spiced Tempeh with Confetti Vegetables makes the most of tender, thin asparagus and mixed with lots of shredded carrots for a colorful effect. Serve over brown Jasmine rice, cooked with a touch of turmeric, granulated garlic and lemon juice.

Spiced Tempeh with Confetti Vegetables
Serve this hearty dish on a bed of brown Jasmine rice and soft corn tortillas
Six Servings

2 (8 oz. pkg)  tempeh, cubed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
5 scallions, with all but 2 inches of green, sliced thin
2 cup shredded carrots (packaged)
16 ounces spring asparagus (very thin stalks)
1 cup boiling water
1 Edward and Sons not chick’n bouillon cube
2 teaspoons hot curry powder (or mild to taste)
1/2 cup Teriyaki Sauce (Soy Vay or Trader Joe’s Soyaki)
1/4 cup Sriracha Sauce
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Steam cubed tempeh over boiling water for 15 minutes. Saute garlic, scallions and carrots over medium high heat for 3 minutes or until softening. Push to one side and add steamed tempeh to the pan, turning and cooking until lightly browned. Combine the bouillon cube and boiling water and add the to the pan.  Add asparagus and cook mixture a few minutes until liquid is almost absorbed. Add curry powder, stir and add teriyaki sauce, sriracha sauce and nutritional yeast. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Nutrition Analysis per serving: 2 cups
Calories 230, Protein 19g, Carbohydrates 26g, Fiber 11g, Fat 7g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Calcium 109 mg, Sodium 484mg

Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV. Her latest book is The Skinny on Soy.  Follow Marie on Facebook and Twitter


[1] James W. Anderson, M.D., Bryan M. Johnstone, Ph.D., and Margaret E. Cook-Newell, M.S., R.D. N Engl J Med 1995; 333:276-282