Edit ModuleShow Tags

Tempting Tempeh: An Alternative Protein Source

Article author photo. Maria Tadic This featured post is by Maria Tadic, RD. You can follow this blogger on Twitter @mewinebrenner.

As plant-based eating patterns have become increasingly popular, interest in alternative, vegetarian protein sources has also increased. Tofu and other soy products are now commonplace in most supermarkets and are great for a quick meatless meal. However, many people might not be aware of an increasingly popular soy protein called tempeh. 

Tempeh is made from fermented soy beans that are pressed together into a solid block or cake. The process begins with whole soy beans, which are softened by a long soaking in water (tempeh can also be made from other beans, grains or a combination) and then de-hulled and partially cooked. Those are mixed with a fermentation culture, pressed into a block and steamed for the finished product. 

At your local grocery store, you’ll usually find tempeh in the produce department or with other fresh soy products such as tofu. 

However, unlike other soy products you’ll see in this area of the store, tempeh is minimally processed and doesn’t contain many other ingredients besides the soy beans themselves. 

Nutritionally speaking, tempeh is high up on the list of healthy lean protein choices. Depending on which brand you buy, tempeh has around 200 calories per 4 ounces and about 21g of protein. In addition, per serving, tempeh has about 20 percent of riboflavin, 70 percent of manganese, 25 percent of phosphorus, 13 percent of potassium, 11 percent of calcium and 14 percent of iron!

Tempeh Cooking Tips

  • Tempeh doesn’t pack a lot of flavor by itself, but fortunately can absorb a good amount of flavor, so try lots of marinades and sauces.
  • It’s great served just pan-seared with a little salt and pepper. Perfect for a lunch meat substitute.
  • Tempeh can be grated and crumbled as well, making it an ideal ground meat substitute. 
  • Try it in sandwiches (check out the reuben recipe below), on top of salads or in soups, stir fries and tacos!  

Tempeh Reubens With Pimento Cheese

Recipe developed by Maria Tadic, RD

Makes 4 servings

1 package plain tempeh, cut into ¼-inch slices
2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
1 cup pimento cheese
1-lb. package of sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
¾ cup low-fat Thousand Island dressing
8 slices rye bread


  1. Preheat skillet over high heat and add tempeh, searing both sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Brush the soy sauce on each side of the tempeh while hot — it’ll absorb quickly and give the tempeh great flavor!
  2. In a medium bowl add the drained and rinsed sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. Mix well and set aside.
  3. To assemble the sandwiches: start with one piece of rye bread. Smear on about 1/4 cup of pimento cheese spread.
  4. Layer on 4-5 slices of the seared tempeh. Top with a few heaping tablespoons of the sauerkraut mixture and top with another piece of rye bread. Assemble four sandwiches.
  5. I used a panini press to toast up these yummy sandwiches. But if you don’t have a panini press, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, spray with nonstick spray and add sandwiches two at a time. Press down with another pan topped with heavy cans to make a “pressed” sandwich.
  6. Cook until golden brown on the bottom and then flip over to brown the topside of the sandwich. When finished, slice in half and serve warm!

Maria Tadic, RD, is a bariatric dietitian in Virginia. Read her blog, BeanAFoodie.com, and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Edit Module

More Stone Soup

It's Time for Restaurants to Heed the Dietary Guidelines

It's Time for Restaurants to Heed the Dietary Guidelines

As an RDN, I know how important the Dietary Guidelines are when it comes to how we view the intersection of health, disease and nutrition. As a chef, I know the restaurant industry has a long way to go in helping the effort to make Americans healthier.
5 Tips for Safer Slow Cooking

5 Tips for Safer Slow Cooking

No matter the season, slow cookers are a handy kitchen device. But before you plug in, let’s review five tips that will ensure you're using your slow cooker safely.
Packing for a Trip: The One Item You Need Most

Packing for a Trip: The One Item You Need Most

Whether you're going on vacation, a daily excursion, or hopping from country to country, there is one simple thing you can do to make for a healthier journey: carry a water bottle. Water makes up the majority of our body weight and we owe it to ourselves to replenish our bodies with what it naturally needs, in its most natural form.
Summer Socca

Summer Socca

This street food from Italy's Ligurian Sea coast tastes like a dream. It's reminiscent of a savory pancake or crispy cracker. Even if you don't add any spices or veggies, "plain" socca doesn't taste plain at all. It's rich (though it's cheap), buttery (I can't believe it's not) and complex (but it's so easy).
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Advertise with Food & Nutrition
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Stone Soup

Guest bloggers from around the world share with Food & Nutrition Magazine.

About This Blog

Stone Soup is a guest blog written by members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Content — including information, recipes and views expressed — is that of the authors and does not reflect the positions or policies of Food & Nutrition Magazine or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Bloggers are required to pledge they will not write for Stone Soup on topics, companies or trade organization they currently represent or have represented at any time.

Learn about our guest blogs!

Comments Policy

Food & Nutrition Magazine provides this forum to exchange ideas, opinions and contributions within a positive community. Diverse viewpoints and constructive, respectful dialogue are welcome. Rudeness, misinformation, self-promotion and abuse are not. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate this policy or our Terms & Conditions. You must include your name or be logged into a personal account on Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to comment.


Edit Module

Get Stone Soup in Your RSS

Use your RSS reader's instructions to add Stone Soup to your list:

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Stone Soup Feed »

Get Our Blogs in Your Email

Stone Soup
Student Scoop