Where to begin with tempeh...it just has so much going for it! For those who don't know, tempeh is a wholefood. Meaning, it is a food made from whole soy beans; it is not an isolated protein product from processed soy milk or anything of the like. In fact, it is made quite simply- the soy beans are soaked, hulled, partially cooked, then fermented. Because it's both fermented and a wholefood, this means that:
1. High fiber content is maintained: (Almost 5 grams per 100 calories, and about 13 per cup. Remember fiber is essential for a healthy gut! Feed those gut microbes!)
2. High protein content is also conserved: (Almost 20 grams per 100 grams of soy! Over 30 grams per cup!)
3. Nutrient density is increased:Fermentation ups the nutritional value of soy in two huge ways:
---One, fermentation allows beneficial bacteria to begin to breakdown the tempeh, producing nutritious byproducts within the tempeh as a result. Think about it this way, fermented products are ahead of the game by proactively starting the job our gut bacteria do. This raises the amount of nutrients you can absorb during digestion. More nutrients from the get-go.
---Two, the bacteria within the tempeh are known as probiotics; beneficial bacteria that do wonders for your health as they pass through the gut. They've been shown to give your immune system a nice pick-me-up, waking it up to fight against pathogenic bacteria, as well as promote the population growth and overall health of our good gut bacteria! Probiotics are like that hype friend that keeps you on your A-game, always on point!
Texture and flavor-wise, tempeh shines bright like a diamond for people looking for a hearty, filling food that is plant-based. Tempeh is awesome because soy can soak up really any flavor excellently, and therefore is a great meat substitute. For those of you trying to navigate tastes and textures of the plant-based diet, don't be afraid to start big with some tempeh. Experiment with it. This recipe is a great starter to transition people from the flavors and textures of meat that we find ourselves accustomed to. This recipe is simple, quick, and meant to be a foundation in which you foodie friends mix and match up to find your favorite groovy flavors. So don't ever feel bound to the recipe for this one. I never do. ;)
BBQ Charred Tempeh Bowl
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time 10-15 minutes
1 package/ 8oz of organic tempeh (They have original, flax-mixed, grain-mixed (the grain one has barley-which is NOT gluten-free), etc. I use the brand Lightlife, because it is organic and Non-GMO)
1/2 red onion
2 large handfuls mixed greens (I used the kale, spinach, chard mix)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp water (Add more as needed)
1. Heat up the 2 tbsp olive oil on med-high heat (8/10 on my stove) in a pan.
2. Chop up the red onion as desired, and chop up the tempeh into 1/2 inch slivers.
3. Throw the red onion into the oil, cover pan, and let the onions sit for 2-3 minutes. Then stir continuously for last minute until it begins to become translucent.
4. Throw the tempeh slivers in, add the spice, and mix gently, avoiding breaking the tempeh. Once the seasoning is mixed in, make sure the tempeh slivers are wide face down, to begin to cook/char one side for about a minute.
5. Add 2-3 tbsp of water to prevent tempeh from sticking too much as it cooks, cover pan with top. Sit a minute or so, or until desired charred-ness.
6. Flip tempeh. char opposite side 1-2 minutes.
7. Add generous amount of greens, add 1 or 2 more tbsp of water as needed to steam up greens a bit. Cover pan with top for 1-2 min or until greens begin to wilt. Stir everything up!
8. Serve and enjoy!
Feeling iffy about soy products? Read a health synopsis on some of the benefits of soy here.