What is Tempeh?

I often recommend clients add tempeh into their diets but many do not know what it is. So this week I wanted to give you a short introduction into this wonderful food.

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian dish made from soy beans. I like to refer to it as the ‘healthier tofu’ because it is made from cooked and slightly fermented soy beans and is much more of a wholefood than processed foods made with soy (fake ‘meats’ etc). The soy is fermented with the mold Rhizopus oligosporus and can take several days to ferment. It will smell mushroom like and may even have black marks on it but don’t let this alarm you. This is just part of the natural fermentation process.

Tempeh 2

It is firm and chewy in texture and has a very distinct flavour. Tofu is very bland on it’s own whereas tempeh almost has a nutty flavour.

As it is a fermented food, it is more easily digested than tofu and for anyone with digestion issues, it is highly recommended to add to your diet. The fermentation also increases the nutrient absorption. Have a look below to see how wonderfully nutrient dense this food is. It is also an awesome source of protein too.

100g contains:

196 calories

11.4 g fat (of which 3g is saturated)

9.4g carbohydrates

18.2g protein

It also contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin B2 (21% RDI), Vitamin B3 (11% RDI), Vitamin B6 (10%), Calcium (10%), Iron (12%), Magnesium (19%), Phosphorus (25%), Potassium (11%), Zinc (10%), Copper (27%) and Manganese (64%)

According to the Mighty Bean Tempeh Company, tempeh is the finest form of Soy available for human consumption. They also go on to say that tempeh contains both of the required Essential Fatty Acids, all ten required proteins, nine of thirteen essential vitamins and eight of twenty-one minerals. The constituents of Tempeh place it right at the forefront of the emerging group of foods called Functional Nutraceuticals because of their Phytochemical properties and the availability of naturally occurring health giving benefits associated with the culturing process in the form of live enzymes, amino acids, fatty acids, simple starches and anti-oxidants all resulting from the culturing process.

In a 2015 study by Robert Sorge, PhD, assistant professor in the department of psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Sorge and his team looked at how certain foods can activate immune cells that spur inflammation in the body and other foods that have anti-inflammatory effects on those cells. He noted that soy proteins, like those found in tempeh, seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect.  He goes on to say “Tempeh is a soy product with a decent amount of the isoflavone genistein which is known to have anti-inflammatory and even anti-tumour effects and can be very good for general health, provided too much is not eaten.”

The Mighty Bean Tempeh Company is my favourite tempeh and comes in lots of different flavours:


Tempeh can crumbled into soups and pasta, stir fried and added into stir fries (my favourite) or you can also make a tempeh scrambled. Here is a great recipe by Passionately Keren: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2MxUO-9jd4


If you are vegetarian, vegan or looking to reduce your meat intake, how about introducing some tempeh into your diet ?


*RDI=Recommended Daily Intake

**Please note that if you are concerned about the consumption of soy due to thyroid or other health issues, please discuss with your doctor or medical practitioner.

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