Tempeh: A Superfood and An Excellent Meat Substitute

You might be familiar with the term “tempeh,” especially in the United States, as it is similar to the name of a city: Tempe, Arizona. However, in this article, it is not what the term signifies. Made from fermented soybeans, tempeh is a superfood that offers many health benefits. Tempeh, or tempe, is originated in Indonesia and has long historical roots as a major dietary item consumed on a regular basis. Despite being a great source of protein, it is quite affordable.

Fresh Tempeh

It’s no coincidence that tempeh is becoming more and more popular in many different parts of the world. Today, tempeh is considered as one of the best meat substitutes for vegans and vegetarians due to its meat-like texture and nutritional aspects.

How to Make Tempeh

In Indonesia, tempeh is commonly produced in household industries. It’s a fast-moving fresh product with short expiry period. It can only last a few days, so it is advisable to cook tempeh shortly after making or buying it. Making tempeh is a traditional craft. Although the preparation process may differ from one household to another, the essential procedures remain the same. The following stages provide further information on how to make tempeh:

Stage 1

  1. Clean the soybeans and then boil in water for 30 minutes before dehulling.
  2. Soak the dehulled soybeans overnight to enable complete hydration and lactic acid fermentation.
  3. Boil the soaked, dehulled soybeans again for about 40 minutes.
  4. Drain the soybeans using a strainer and let them cool down to room temperature. To speed up the cooling process, spread the boiled soybeans on a flat surface

To avoid double cooking processes, you can also follow these steps:

  1. Soak the soybeans in water until the hulls can be easily peeled off with hands and rinsed away.
  2. Boil the soybeans until soft. It may take at least 40 minutes.
  3. Drain the soybeans and cool them down to room temperature.

Stage 2

  1. After drying, the soybeans are inoculated with R. oligosporus spores or usar (an inoculum from the previous batch that is utilized as a starter for the next tempeh production).
  2. Traditionally, the mixture is wrapped in banana leaves. But you can also wrap it in transparent plastic bags.
  3. Leave the soybeans to ferment at room temperature for up to 18 hours, or until white mycelium grows on the surface and binds the soybeans together.

How to Cook Tempeh

Tempeh is a very versatile food that can be processed into a variety of dishes. It can be fried, grilled, baked, steamed and stewed. It’s among the greatest meat alternatives, no chemical additives, excellent for plant-based diets. Here’s one of the easiest tempeh recipes that you can try at home:


  • 1 package tempeh
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A bowl of water


  1. Slice tempeh to your desired thickness.
  2. Add crushed garlic and salt into a bowl of water. Mix them well. This is the most basic tempeh marinade.
  3. Soak tempeh slices in salt-garlic water for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Fried marinated tempeh slices until they turn light brown.

Find more tempeh recipes in this link: Easy Tempeh Recipes.

Tempeh Nutrition

Tempeh is considered as a superfood since it’s packed with nutrients and thus beneficial for our health. This fermented soybean product is high in protein, vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Mold-induced soybean fermentation causes a range of nutritional changes that increase its health benefits. Additionally, the probiotics and prebiotics in tempeh may help promote gut health and prevent various diseases.

Tempeh vs Tofu

Tempeh and tofu are both soybean products and great sources of protein. However, there are some noticeable differences between tempeh and tofu.

  1. Tempeh is produced by fermentation, while tofu is made by solidifying the protein in soybeans.
  2. Tempe has a distinct smell and taste of soybean that is stronger than tofu.
  3. Tempeh has a more pronounced soybean texture than tofu.
  4. Due to its soft texture, tofu absorbs flavors better than tempeh.

Which is healthier tempeh or tofu? Both products are nutritious and great sources of protein. However, tempeh is less processed than tofu so it is often considered the healthier alternative. Tempeh contains more protein, fiber, carbs and potassium than tofu. The fermentation process adds the nutritional value in tempeh and eliminates compounds that inhibit nutrient absorption. It makes tempeh easier to digest than non-fermented soybean products.


Tempeh is one of the healthiest foods for plant-based diets. It’s packed with nutrients and known for its versatility. The fermentation process in tempeh increases its nutritional value while also making it easier to digest. Tempeh is a probiotic food that can enhance digestive health as it boosts the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Tempeh can be used to make a wide range of dishes, from snacks to major entrees. Click the following link to explore more Easy Tempeh Recipes.

Do you know any other meat alternatives for vegans or vegetarians? What is your favorite tempeh recipe? Tell us in the comment section below.

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *