Eat Empowered, Healthy Recipes

Why This Plant-Based Protein Is Better Than Tofu (and How to Cook It)


Sometimes, when faced with a piece of protein, the obvious question in front of you—How should I cook it?—can feel daunting. Good news: Whether it’s steak, shrimp, or tofu, there’s definitely an easy way to do it that will result in a delicious meal.

To prove it, we asked Nutritious Life-Certified holistic health coach and culinary nutrition expert Erin Parekh to show us how it’s done. Parekh coaches clients, hosts cooking classes, and does kitchen makeovers, and her website hosts a treasure trove of flavorful recipes that fit into her philosophy of “Living Well, Simply.”

In this series, “Simply Cooked Well,” she’ll be sharing simple ways to prep and cook different proteins. Up now: Tempeh!

Simply Cooked Well: Tempeh

When it comes to vegan sources of protein, my guess is tofu is old news. But tempeh? Maybe you’ve tried it once or twice or have at least heard the word?

Tempeh is a soy-based product that is originally from Indonesia. Think of it as tofu’s cooler, more nutrient-dense cousin. One three-ounce serving contains 15 grams of protein (60 percent more than tofu). It’s also rich in calcium, iron, and prebiotic fiber, which supports gut health. And thanks to the fermentation process used to make it, tempeh is generally easier to digest than other soy-based products.

RELATED: The Best Fermented Foods and How to Add Them to Your Diet

After the soybeans are fermented, they’re pressed into a firm cake, resulting in a dry but chewy texture and a mild, slightly nutty taste.

how to cook tempeh

How to Eat Tempeh

Nowadays, most major grocery stores and supermarkets carry tempeh. Look for organic brands in the refrigerated section, typically next to other vegan products like tofu and non-dairy cheeses.

It can be steamed, sautéed, or baked and often benefits from a marinade to add more flavor.

Try adding sliced tempeh over salads, as a deli-meat alternative on sandwiches, or in place of tofu in your next weeknight stir-fry. You can also crumble and then brown it with some olive oil as a ground meat replacement in your favorite pasta sauce or chili recipe.

Many recipes you’ll find for tempeh have an Asian twist, but thanks to its mild flavor profile, virtually any seasoning will work—so get creative!

tempeh recipe

Here, I went with a smoky, savory, slightly sweet marinade that pairs beautifully with hearty fall produce like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and Brussels sprouts.

Get cooking with my Smoky Rosemary Maple Tempeh recipe, now.

More From Simply Cooked Well:

How to Make Healthy Chicken Tenders
How to Make Delicious Roasted Shrimp in 15 Minutes

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