Tempeh is an Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans and used in various ways. It’s a great protein source and an alternative for anyone who doesn’t eat meat.
However, many people are unsure how to use this food, and when you’re unsure how to use something, it can result in a bad taste or texture. If you’re looking to improve this food, here’s how to make tempeh taste good.
Tempeh vs. Tofu
Many people confuse tempeh and tofu. Although they have some similarities, distinct differences set them apart.
Tempeh is made with entire soybeans. It’s a pressed cake of sorts. Tofu is made from soy milk, so it doesn’t include whole beans. It’s also pressed but has a jiggly texture that’s completely different from tempeh. The two are often used in similar recipes, but they can’t be used interchangeably due to their totally different textures.
If you’re unhappy with the way tempeh tastes, you should marinate it first. Marinating tempeh is so simple, and it adds tons of flavor. The soybeans soak up whatever marinade you’re using, resulting in a totally tasty flavor.
Tempeh is versatile and can easily take on many flavors, meaning you can use many different marinades. You can make something that’s spicy and sweet, citrusy and light, or savory with tons of umami. No matter the route you choose, marinating tempeh will instantly make it taste better, and it truly couldn’t be a simpler method for adding flavor.
Tempeh can be cooked in a variety of ways, and grilling is one of the best. Tempeh cooks fairly quickly, so you don’t have to spend much time by the grill, making it an easy cooking method, whether sweltering hot or freezing cold. You won’t be out by the grill for long.
Grilling is also a great cooking method because it brings both flavor and texture to your food in staggering amounts. Depending on your grill, you can make it smoky, rich, crunchy, or slightly charred. It’s an excellent way to improve your tempeh.
If you’re not keen on grilling, try roasting instead. Roasting is like grilling in that it brings both flavor and texture, but it’s a little bit easier and less intimidating, and you don’t have to go outside.
You also have tons of control with flavor while you’re roasting tempeh. Although you don’t want to constantly open your oven while your tempeh is cooking, you can check on it every once in a while to see if you’ve added enough flavor, and you can also check if you need to flip it to a different side or take it out early. Roasting is a fabulous cooking method for any food, but especially tempeh.
Switch Up Your Cutting Method
As noted, tempeh comes as a compressed cake and can be cut up in many ways. If you’re unhappy with the texture of your tempeh, try cutting it differently. It might be a little too thick for your liking, and cutting it differently can make a huge difference in how it tastes.
Cutting your tempeh into strips or cubes will give it more of a chance to take on some flavor while you’re cooking or marinating it. If you find tempeh bland, try cutting it up for a new experience.
Serve It with Rice
Tempeh can be eaten with many different foods, and one of the easiest to serve it with is rice. Rice, like tempeh, is a versatile food, so serving them together allows you to have many different meals. You can easily switch up the flavor, accompanying foods, and more.
Serve It with Veggies
Tempeh also tastes amazing with vegetables. There are dozens of delicious vegetables that’ll be great with tempeh, and they can be grilled, roasted, or cooked using a different method, too. You can spice vegetables, marinate them, and do essentially anything you’d do to tempeh, making for easy, delicious cooking.
Use It as Another Protein Substitute
As noted, tempeh is a great source of protein, and because of its versatility, it’s easy to swap in place of other sources. Think of tempeh as you would chicken, beef, or fish. If you’re craving steak and potatoes, grill tempeh instead. If you want a chicken breast or salmon filet and vegetables, consider having tempeh. When you pair it with other foods you love, you’ll find yourself craving tempeh instead.
We can’t stress enough how versatile tempeh is, and that means you can season it in myriad ways. Tempeh can be spicy, savory, garlicky, or salty. You can use an Italian blend or onion salt. You can use cumin, paprika, or just a dash of salt and pepper. Seasoning tempeh will instantly add flavor, and it’s a great way to keep yourself from getting bored of eating it.
Make It into a Burger
Tempeh can also be made into a burger. Tempeh is already a pressed patty, so it’s very easy to form it into a round burger instead of leaving it as is.
When the tempeh is made into a burger, you instantly have many new ways to improve its taste. You can swap the condiments you use, the bun you put it on, and the other toppings you add. You can try new spice blends and cooking methods, and you can have it with dozens of new sides. It’s a delicious way to have tempeh.
As you can see, tempeh is a very versatile food that is perfect to use if you’re looking to increase your soy intake or use less meat. It’s a great source of protein and fiber and has tons of other nutrients that make it perfect as a meat substitute. By experimenting just a little bit, you’ll find that tempeh is super tasty and worthy of more meals.