Tempeh – Good? Bad? And A Video Recipe

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If you have been reading this blog consistently then you know that tempeh is one of my favorite ingredients to cook.  I did not always have a favorable relationship with tempeh because the first time I looked at it I thought to myself ‘what am I to do with that?’  Remember that I had just switched from grilling turkey, chicken, sausage and beef to a vegetarian diet and could not fathom what to do with this STUFF!


Tempeh Meat(less)balls

I did what anybody else would do and I went to the internet and did a search on tempeh recipes.  There were tons of them to choose from and my eyes got as big as saucers.  From that first search to today I have made tempeh bacon, buffalo tempeh, tempeh tacos, tempeh meat(less) balls and as the video at the end of this post will show you I also made tempeh bolognese.

As a responsible blogger I cannot just tell you how great tempeh is because we all know there is more than likely another thought process out there that says fermented soy isn’t good for you.  With that in mind I wanted to bring both arguments to you and let you decide what you put into your body and not just take my word for it.

I did some research on the benefits of tempeh and found a site titled Tempeh.Info.  On the first page of the site it goes into the health effects of tempeh.  I copied the following paragraph from the site, but you can also go[HERE] to get more information.

Tempeh is very nutritive and contains many health promoting phytochemicals such as isoflavones andsoy saponins. Tempeh fermentation produces natural antibiotic agents but leaves the desirable soy isoflavones and most of the saponins intact. Tempeh is a complete protein food that contains all the essential amino acids. The soy protein and isoflavones have many health benefits. Isoflavones strengthen bones, help to ease menopause symptoms, reduce risk of coronary hearth disease and some cancers. Tempeh maintains all the fiber of the beans and gains some digestive benefits from the enzymes created during the fermentation process.

Here is the nutritional information for one cup of tempeh (~8oz but I usually serve myself only 4 oz)

Nutritional Information for Tempeh

My research for the negative effects of tempeh provided very little but it did turn up this point from VegetarianOrganicLife.com:

Despite the promise of soy foods, it’s important to not assume that all of them are healthful. Some are highly processed, made from genetically modified soybeans or contain substances in soy that have been isolated and added to foods and powders in too great a concentration, such as soy isolates in supplement form.

For optimum health and to maximize nutrient intake, it’s best to stay away from highly processed soy foods such as textured vegetable protein (TVP) andprocessed soy (imitation) meats (soy deli meats, soy sausages, tofu dogs, etc.) as well as soy products that have been made with conventionally grown soybeans. Most non-organic soy products available in the U.S., including soybean oil, have been made from soybeans with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

You can also feel free to visit the site Weston A Price Foundation and read an article by Susan Fallon and Mary Enig PhD about the detriments of soy by clicking [HERE]

Consider yourself armed to make an education decision on your own.  You know where I stand and so with that I will leave you with this video on how I made tempeh bolognese.


Do You Use Tempeh In Your Kitchen?

Are You More or Less Likely To Use Tempeh Now?

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  1. Natasha says:

    I’m more likely to use it now and less likely to fall back on the processed stuff. I have to admit out of ease I sometime use the tofu dogs and soy sandwich meats. How about seitan I still don’t have a full understanding of what that is. Also I get conflicting arguments about if soy can influence production of estrogen in the body even Women’s Health last month was trying to recommend that men not drink soy milk every day, I’m so confused. This helps and I will just have to keep doing research until I am fully armed! Thanx for giving me a starting point!

    • Jason says:

      There are so many varying reports out that you could twist your mind into doing nothing but chewing air. Personally I drink almond milk and almost never have soy milk but it is a taste preference for me. As you may know I also recover with HoneyMilk. As far as eating tempeh though, I consume it approximately once or twice a week and not much more than that. It is just like anything else in that it is probably best consumed in moderation.

      Seitan is derived from the protein portion of wheat. I have only used it once in a hash and it was awesome. You can go here for the recipe that I made: http://youtu.be/QfLNK7ipaM0

  2. BDD says:


    I am going with my simple approach, it doesnt taste bad after you get use to the texture and that it looks like package cat puke. I only did tacos with it

    • BDD says:

      ok erase my comment for bad choice of words, it tastes ok, its different and their is a texture that you need to get use to

  3. Jill says:

    Where the heck to you buy that stuff? And what does it taste like?. If it looks like cat puke as BDD says, I may have a very hard time choking it down.

    • Jason says:

      For many years it was only possible to find tempeh in natural foods and Asian stores. Yet, with the growing demand for soy foods, tempeh is now becoming more and more available in supermarkets throughout the country. Depending upon the store, tempeh may either be kept in the refrigerated or freezer section. In addition to plain soy tempeh, oftentimes varieties that include grains or vegetables are available.

      Look for tempeh that is covered with a thin whitish bloom. While it may have a few black or grayish spots, it should have no evidence of pink, yellow or blue coloration as this indicates that it has become overly fermented.

      Refrigerated tempeh can keep in the refrigerator for up to ten days. If you do not consume the whole package of tempeh at one time, wrap it well and place it back in the refrigerator. Tempeh will keep fresh for several months in the freezer.

      Tempeh tastes like whatever you marinate it in. It is just like Tofu in that regard except the texture is much much firmer. I can enjoy tofu but I would much rather have tempeh.

  4. marlene says:

    Thanks for providing both sides of the story – I have only had tempeh once and wasn’t a fan but if anyone is going to encourage me to finally try again, it will be you!

    • Jason says:

      How was the tempeh prepared when you had it? I suggest that you make tempeh bacon as it is the easiest way for you to prepare it without it giving you to much trouble. The hardest part is going to be slicing it thinly enough.

      Let me know if you need help with the recipe.

  5. You know I like tempeh!! But, I was totally intimidated by it at first. However, once you know what it is and how it “cooks,” it’s great to cook with!

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