Monday, November 11, 2013

Tempted by Tempeh?




Getting bored with all the usual Meatless Monday food options? Tired of having to come up with new vegetable stir-fry recipes? Sick of salads? Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of hummus you have consumed? (I know the later is most applicable for me). One of the biggest challenges of cutting a certain food group from your diet, is coming up with creative ways to still enjoy a variety of other foods, so you don't feel like you are missing out. We understand that there are some Mondays where meatless options just doesn't seem as exciting, or appealing as a meat option. Or in my case, sometimes you are simply craving something MEATY. But, before you just settle for another salad, or decide to have a cheat Monday, consider this option. Be tempted by tempeh!

Now, I'm sure most people are familiar with other meat substitutes, like tofu. Tempeh is another example of a meat substitute, and can be used in similar ways to tofu. In fact, the two are pretty much distant cousins. Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that originated from Indonesia. The process by which tempeh is made is relatively simple. First soybeans are soaked until tender, and then de-hulled. Next, they are cooked, fermented, and pressed into a patty form. This is different from tofu which is made through the process of pressing the turd of soymilk, similar to the process of creating cottage cheese, from dairy milk. 

One major advantage this difference in formation makes is the texture. Most complaints I hear from people who dislike tofu, is that they are not fond of the soft, and watery texture. Because tempeh is not derived from the "curd" of soymilk, it has a firmer texture. This allows it to mimic the texture of meat more easily than tofu. Which makes it an ideal substitute for food items that would usually contain meat, and would be texturally different if tofu was used as a substitute. One of my favorite meatless swaps is to use tempeh to make burgers. Combine tempeh with other ingredients like mushrooms, or veggies, and seasonings, and you can have a juicy and satiating burger, that will make meat loves alike jealous.

I like this recipe: http://mayihavethatrecipe.com/2013/05/23/vegan-tempeh-black-bean-burgers/, but you can change it up, and use any ingredients you see fit. Be creative!

Not feeling a burger? Try adding some Asian flair with this sweet and sour tempeh recipe: http://vivalavegan.net/community/articles/553-the-incredible-health-benefits-of-tempeh.html

Or try some Tex Mex with this barbeque tempeh sandwich
recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/barbeque-tempeh-sandwiches/

Best of all, tempeh is not only a great way to satisfy your "meat tooth", it also has a lot of great nutritional benefits, as well. It's important when cutting back on meat to make sure you are still getting enough protein in your diet. Just four ounces of tempeh contains 41% of your daily recommended amount of protein. It also is high in dietary fiber, and recent studies have shown that it even works to reduce unhealthy LDL cholesterol.

So don't get bored this Meatless Monday!
Get tempted, by tempeh!
-Kat

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