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4 ways with Tempeh

The beauty of tempeh is how easy it is to cook. Yet, I meet so many people afraid to give it a go! It has actually already been fermented, and thus, partly cooked, so unlike chicken, you really can’t undercook it.

Firstly, I have spoken about this before, but let’s reiterate that there is no good evidence suggesting traditional soy-foods like tempeh are detrimental to your health and should therefore be avoided. Tempeh is a healthful source of protein. Tempeh is made using the entire soybean, but it is fermented, making tempeh more easily digested and “antimutagenic” than unfermented beans, as well as making it a great source of vitamin K2 (bone, heart, brain and cancer protective nutrient).

Secondly, it is important to source non-GMO and organic varieties of tempeh. In Australia, Woolworths stocks Nutri-Soy, my go-to. I buy the unflavoured one to avoid cheap soy-sauces and other additives. Stick to the plain like me, and make your own flavours with the below suggestions.

Quick guide. Choose your tempeh variety by comparing it to meat options…

Pan-fried – chicken/fish replacement

Marinated – steak replacement

Ground – mince replacement

Crusted – schnitzel replacement

Using 1 x 300g packet of tempeh….

SIMPLE PAN-FRIED TEMPEH

½ tsp coconut oil, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 tbsp tamari OR 1 tsp curry powder. Allow the garlic to heat for 3 mins before adding slices of tempeh. Cook first side for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, cover with tamari or spices, flip and cook the second side for a further 3 minutes. Serve with vegetables for a veggie stir-fry.

JUICY MARINATED TEMPEH STEAK

Boil tempeh whole for 30 minutes. Remove from pot and then marinate in 3 tbsp tamari, ½ lemon juice, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 tsp dried for 1-3 hours. Once ready, fry whole 5 minutes each side. Slice into 4 servings and serve over veggies.

GROUND TEMPEH

Grind the tempeh by pulsing it in thirds in a food processor until it resembles mince. Then heat up your stove with a little coconut oil, just to coat, throw the tempeh mince in and pan fry with the following spices and condiments…

Mexican-inspired: ½ chopped brown onion, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1-2 tsp of spices like cumin, paprika, cajun, chili or a Mexican spice blend. Allow the onion and garlic to brown before adding the tempeh and spices. Pan-fry for 6 mins whilst stirring occasionally. Pair with brown rice and black beans.

Italian: ½ chopped brown onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 can organic diced tomatoes, 1 tsp dried Italian herbs or oregano, handful fresh chopped basil. Allow the onion and garlic to brown before adding the tempeh and spices. Pan-fry for 4 mins whilst stirring occasionally. Then add the diced tomatoes and pan-fry for a further 4 minutes. Lastly, add the basil, stir, remove from heat and serve over grains, roast veggies or pasta.

SESAME-CRUSTED TEMPEH

Preheat oven to 200 C. Prepare your “sticky” mixture of 1 tbsp flax meal soaked in 3 tbsp coco milk, 1 tsp tamari and ¼ tsp garlic powder. Allow it to soak for at least 10 minutes whilst you prep the rest. Place ¼ cup sesame seeds in a dry wide bowl. Slice the tempeh into thin-medium slices and dip each in the sticky mixture. Place onto a lined baking tray and sprinkle each slice with 1-2tsp sesame seeds. Press down on them with the back of the spoon. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping each after 15 minutes. Optional to sprinkle the other side with more sesame once flipped and before baking for the last 10 minutes.

The 5 Items You Need In Your Pantry

There is no argument, good health begins in the kitchen. The choices we make three times a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – ultimately influence our wellbeing now, and in the future. Whilst fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet, we can also look to shelf-stable, tasty additions to not only jazz up our meals, but amp up their nutrition. Keep these delicious staples on hand and feel their powerful benefits.

Nutritional yeast

  • B vitamins – for energy production, brain function, stress response and hair growth;
  • Chromium – assists blood sugar stabilisation and thus appetite control;
  • 16 different amino acids – the building blocks of protein, important for muscle repair.

Use for: a great cheese-replacement due to its “cheesy” flavour, make salad dressings, soups, nut-cheeses with it, or simply sprinkle it atop a pasta dish.

Sea vegetables

  • Iodine – thyroid and hormonal balance;
  • Omega 3 – assist in balancing the important omega 6:3 ratios, crucial for cardiovascular health, brain function, immunity, youthful skin and mood;
  • Binds to toxins – such as heavy metals and radioactive pollutants present in the environment, leeching them from our system;
  • Antibiotic activity – destroys harmful gut bacteria, cleanses colon and enhances nutrient absorption.

Use for: as a salt replacement due to their naturally salty taste, stir-fries, stews, salads, soups, snack on nori sheets.

Pulses

  • Good source of both complex carbohydrates and plant-based protein;
  • Cardiovascular-protective;
  • Maintains healthy blood glucose and insulin levels;
  • Fibre – the most fibre-rich plant food! This helps with digestive function, colon health, appetite control and weight-loss;
  • Contain phytochemicals such as saponins and tannins – antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic effects;
  • Blood-sugar stabilisation – beans and legumes have been shown to keep your blood sugar levels under control well and truly until your next meal, and even the next day!

Use for: a quick way to bulk and nutrition-up meals such as salads, curries, stir-fries, pasta sauces and dips. 

Tahini

  • Calcium – one of the richest sources of plant-based calcium, 1 tbsp has 64mg;
  • Iron – a decent source of plant-based iron, 1 tbsp has 1.3mg;
  • Healthy fats – contain mostly polyunsaturated fat, assists hormonal balance, satiation, mood and skin health;
  • Contain phytoestrogens and lignans – beneficial for hormonal balance, cancer-prevention and healthy cholesterol levels.

Use for: making salad dressings or sauces creamy, in dips, drizzled atop veggies.

Konjac noodles

  • Quick easy meals – they take 5 mins to make with no equipment required!
  • Gluten-free, light, low-calorie;
  • Associated with reduced blood sugar, insulin levels and cholesterol;
  • Fibre-rich, Prebiotic-containing – assists appetite control and colon health, as they are a resistant starch they act as prebiotics, nourishing healthy gut bacteria.

Use for: a noodle or pasta alternative in Italian or Asian cuisine.

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