21 Tempeh Recipes, Stir Fries, Sandwiches, Burgers

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I’m a big fan of really good tempeh recipes, which are underrated and often overlooked in favor of recipes using tempeh’s cousin: tofu. 

Tempeh is made with fermented whole soybeans (and sometimes other beans or grains, like barley and rice), so it has a nutty flavor and dense, seedy texture—unlike tofu, which is made from soy milk curds and therefore has a softer, more delicate taste and feel. Because tempeh has a more complex texture and flavor profile than tofu, it is, in my opinion, much more delicious when done right. 

Crumbled tempeh makes for a hearty ground-meat substitute—perfect for earthy vegetarian tacos, sloppy joes, or meatballs. For recipes for which you need the tempeh to be nice and tender, it needs a bit more TLC than the quick sauté you might give tofu. 

I always buy tempeh when I’m at the grocery store, because it’s relatively cheap where I shop and I love a good deal. There are 18 grams of protein in a standard serving (about three ounces), which is the minimum amount of protein many registered dietitians recommend getting at every meal. And even though I don’t have any dietary restrictions, I’m always interested in eating less meat when I can, since it’s better for the environment. 

Most of the time, though, the tempeh winds up sitting in my fridge for ages, until I finally give up and throw it into a stir-fry a few days before it’s set to expire. But honestly, the tempeh deserves better. If you want to change your tempeh ways too, these 21 recipes will help you do just that. They’ll guide you through the proper cooking techniques, and help you turn the humble ingredient into croutons, chilis, vegetarian burgers, and more. Before you know it, you’ll be a tempeh master.

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