Friday, April 22, 2011

What the ____ is Tempeh!?

I don't swear. I'm perfect. That's why there's the blank spot. See?

Actually. I do swear. And while this post has nothing to do with profanity, I just wanted to let you all know that while I do not smoke and only drink on rare occasion (in serious moderation- I'm talkin' half of one margarita and I'm ready for a bedtime story), one of my not so admirable qualities is that I do use bad words. (Not in front of kids/teachers/bosses/blog readers or Roo... Melon, yes.) I am trying very hard to stop.

So don't let the gingham header fool you. (It is sweet though, isn't it?!)

I can swear.


On to Tempeh.

I just want to share a little bit about some protein that we often incorporate into our weekly menus.

The Three T's: Tempeh, Tofu, and TVP

Tempeh is fermented soybean. It is sold in many stores in a rectangular, plasticular package. Some varieties include flax, 3 grain, veggie, and there's probably many more. We go for the 3 grain around here. It has a very nutty, rich taste. We love it.
 Per 4 oz serving, the grain tempeh has 20 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat and 240 calories . One package costs us about $2.

I didn't like it the first time I cooked it. Then I did a little googling and found out that steaming it before preparing it makes it much tastier. So that's what we do.
Our favorite way to eat it is currently in BBQ form. I cut it into about 10 pieces, steam it, marinate it for 6 hours in a BBQ sauce, then cook it in a lightly oiled pan. We like to pair it with mac n' cheese, and an herb salad.

Tempeh freezes very well. For leftovers, store in covered containers and eat within a week. is a great resource for lots of delicious tempeh recipes.

Tofu comes across as very uninspiring. It's sold in a white block, and it just reminds you of...boring. But here's the thing, anything chicken can do, tofu does. It's a blank slate, and you just have to know how to work with it.
Firm tofu, per 1/5 of package serving, it packs 70 calories, 7 g protein, 2 carbohydrate, and 3 g fat. One block of organic tofu costs us about $1.79.
We usually go with the firm variety, and the most important step in my book is pressing.You need to press (in most cases) because tofu is stored in water. I wrap the block in a dry dish towel, place it between two plates, and put a 5 lb object on top. I let it press for at least two hours before I start cooking with it. My favorite tofu recipe of the moment is definitely this:

If you only use part of the block, you can store the remaining tofu in a covered container, with water. Change the water each day, and consume within a week.

This is probably the protein we use the least often, because our local grocer doesn't always have it. If you live in an area where TVP isn't sold, you can get it online. But it's delicious, and it's quite easy to work with. T=Textured, V=Vegetable, P=Protein.  Per 1/4 cup serving, TVP has 12 g protein, 80 calories, 0 g fat, and 7 g carbohydrate. A 10 ounce bag of TVP is usually about $2. (If you live near a whole foods, you can buy it in bulk for even less money!) TVP is soaked in water before it's prepared, and it doubles in size once it drink the water. After that, you can treat it like you would ground beef (if you're not a vegetarian).  Our favorite TVP recipe of the moment? Sloppy Joe style. It's so easy, incredibly delicious, and perfect for lunches the next day. Try them!

We store dry TVP in containers in the fridge, and prepared TVP in covered containers. It keeps very well, and we usually eat leftovers within a few days.

I hope this helps just a bit if you've been meaning to try any of these three veg protein sources. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away!  I promise- I will not swear.

Lots of Friday (I'm watching Harry Potter tonight. With homemade pizza. <3 ) Love!


  1. Okay. Here I am on Easter morning, waiting for our "brunch" (i.e. really late breakfast) to finish cooking in the oven, and I came to read your blog to distract myself from my unbearable hunger.

    Didn't work : ) My stomach literally started making noises. TEMPEHHHHH... just like that.

    (p.s. loved your rambling little intro! maybe you could start using tempeh/TVP/tofu in the place of swear words on your blog! heehee)

  2. very cool! thanks! I just bought some TVP this weekend and found it at my local regular grocery store for about $3! I'm excited to try something with it.

  3. @April, Hehehe. Good idea, good idea.
    @Robin, Enjoy! I think I'm going to try making 'meatballs' with it next week, we'll see how it goes...


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