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Monday, April 11, 2011

West Soy Tempeh

west soy tempeh
I like to think of tempeh as tofu's lesser known sister. Made from pressed soybeans and sometimes rice or other grains, it is a fermented food which makes it more digestible than tofu. It is fairly high in protein at 12 g per 2 oz. serving.

Tempeh is usually sold in 8 oz. slabs that can be cut into chunks or patties. Whole Foods and most other health food stores carry it. While there is some confusion about whether soy products are good for us or not, it is generally agreed that fermented soy products are better than many of the other soy items out there such as those containing soy protein isolates.

There is also a theory that fermented foods in general are very beneficial to health, from miso and tempeh to kimchi, apple cider vinegar and other things. You can read about it all over the web if you want to know more, or email me if you want me to dedicate another posting to it.

I like tempeh because it is a good vegetarian protein. It is great sauteed in a little toasted sesame oil and added to stirfries or veggie wraps. Some people even use grilled tempeh to make a vegetarian version of the New York deli favorite: The Rueben.

Here is a recipe for a vegetarian sandwich filler, similar to tuna salad or chicken salad. This recipe is taken from a fascinating book called "The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics" by Jessica Porter. She calls this recipe "Mock Tuna" but many health food stores that sell prepared foods have similar dishes called Tempeh Salad or Un-chicken Salad. Also, I should mention that this recipe is best made ahead of time for maximum flavor.

1 8-ounce package tempeh
1 Tb. umeboshi vinegar
1/3 cup Tofu Mayonaise (post on this coming soon!)
black pepper to taste
1 celery stalk
1/4 red onion, finely diced
optional herbs and spices of your choosing--cumin, curry, paprika, saffron, etc.

Steam or boil your tempeh for 20 minutes. Break apart with a fork until you get smaller than bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle umeboshi vinegar onto the tempeh, mashing it in with a fork until you get a tuna-fishy saltiness. Mix tofu mayonnaise, pepper and any other spices you enjoy. Mash into tempeh. Add vegetables. Serve or refrigerate. Serves 4.

For tofu mayonnaise you can make your own using a recipe on the web or you can try Nasoya's fat-free brand. Umeboshi vinegar is a specialty salty vinegar carried by Whole Foods and many other natural food stores. But you can substitute with an equal amount of red wine vinegar and a little salt or soy sauce.

When I have made this tempeh salad, I usually just eat it by itself, but you can also make it into a sandwich if you want something more filling. By itself using the Nasoya fat-free nayonnaise, one serving is 4 weight watchers points plus points, 5 g of fat, 9 g carbs, 2 g fiber and 130 calories.



JC said...

I've never even heard about tempeh until now. I'll have to give it a try!

Chee Lee Leng said...

Thanks, I want to cook it now.

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