Quick self-promotion: I am very excited about my upcoming teleclass: Stop Stressing, Start Living! I’m taking the most common road blocks that my clients have struggled with and overcome and packing all that info into a free hour. It’s in a few weeks; I hope you can join me.
Normally I don’t apologize for not posting, but this gap was a little longer than I planned. I had an amazing weekend in New York at a conference hosted by my health coaching school right after a house full of guests, and I didn’t get things ready before I left.
But enough about me; let’s talk about tempeh.
Tempeh (tehm-pay) is a fermented soybean cake. Before you run screaming into another room, let me assure you that it’s completely unlike tofu and utterly delicious. Where tofu has a bad rap as a bland and mushy horror, tempeh is dense, chewy, and flavorful. It’s hearty enough to stand up to strong sauces, sturdy enough for grilling, and tasty enough to satisfy hungry vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
Finding tempeh can be tricky — not because it’s unavailable, but it’s sometimes hidden in the grocery store. Look for it shrink-wrapped and refrigerated, usually near the tofu and fake hot dogs, or somewhere around the mushrooms and wonton wrappers.
The best deal I’ve found is the organic tempeh at Trader Joe’s (it’s about $1.69), but I’ve found it at Whole Foods, the natural foods co-op, and better grocery stores. You can freeze it, so I often get several packs and toss a few in the freezer for later.
What can you do with tempeh? Try light wheat flatbread wraps with BBQ tempeh and red cabbage slaw or vegetarian tempeh lettuce wraps.
It’s great in stir fry, as a vegetarian reuben, or in chili. I’ve even marinated it in a little olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, and lemon juice, then used a grill pan or George Foreman grill to cook it, slice it, and serve it on a bed of grains.
Tempeh is one of my favorites sources of protein and iron (along with black beans and lentils), and it’s fermented, which alleviates some of the concerns about excessive soy in our diets.
It’s a great way to start the day.
My preferred meal plan is eating a filling breakfast, a light lunch, and a reasonable dinner. By front-loading my day with veggies and protein, I don’t have to worry about fitting all my fruits and veggies in lunch and dinner.
Sweet peppers, summer squash, purple carrots, and garlic are sauteed before the tempeh is added and browned in a little more oil. I didn’t feel like peeling a new onion, but that wouldn’t have been out of place.
This particular mix is summery because of the squash and peppers, but it can easily transition to fall with sweet potatoes or mushrooms. I make variations of this several times a week, but this mix was especially tasty.
I blame the sriracha.
- 1 tablespoon (plus a little extra) olive oil
- 2 small carrots, cut into coins
- 1 medium summer squash, diced
- 2 sweet peppers, diced
- 4 ounces (~1/2 package) tempeh, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 eggs
- sriracha or other hot sauce to taste
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings