Prior to going vegan cold turkey, most of my protein came from eating chicken. Fried, grilled, battered or skewered, it was by far my favorite meat. You can jazz chicken up with all kinds of sauces and dip it in sweet, salty or savory goodness. But what do I do now that I gave up eating the bird? I was not prepared to answer this question for a while, but I am ready to declare tempeh as the new white meat. Tofu has unequivocally been the standard protein alternative to meats for years. Much of the eastern cuisine, including the popular Thai, Chinese and Indian, have served tofu in many ways. These days even mainstream chains offer tofu on their menus. But why not tempeh? My guess is that the cost is much higher and the popularity is not of the tofu stature.
Tofu is made from curdled soy milk involving a coagulation process. The most popular Tempeh is made from fermented whole soy beans but you may also find it as whole grain, various beans and even garbanzos. Tofu in itself is plain and therefore has the ability to soak up the flavor of the dish. Tempeh is less versatile this way, but makes up with a meatier consistency on a plate and a healthier profile in the belly.
I do not eat soy every day. The science is split on its effect on BC, where some sources say its good and some say its bad. I take the middle path and enjoy soy products a few times per week. After all, this girl gotta get some meaty textured protein every now and again, you know? Speaking of protein, tempeh has almost twice as much of it as tofu per the same serving size. This remarkable difference is very beneficial to me since I can’t eat soy all the time.
Tempeh also stands out with its ability to be digested more easily than tofu. The fermenting process produces a certain enzyme (absent in tofu), which allows our bodies to break down tempeh much easier than tofu. In case you are wondering, the flatulence is also eased by the same enzyme. Tempeh is considered a probiotic food, high in calcium and packed with isoflavones. This Indonesian native is a clear cancer fighter and a totally awesome way to add a nutty, tasty protein to your dish.
One of the ways I enjoy tempeh is on a bun buffalo style. The best improvement I have made with tempeh preparation is when I started to steam it prior to cooking with it. It makes it tenderer and it seems to take on the given flavor with more ease. Here is a Buffalo Tempeh Sandwich recipe for everyone who is looking to add a little kick to their vegan dish. Enjoy!
- 8 oz tempeh (organic is best)
- ¼ cup cornstarch (preferably Non-GMO)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- avocado oil
- buffalo sauce
- Sandwich Bun
- 16 oz packaged shredded coleslaw
- ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 TB avocado or olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare slaw by mixing vinegar and oil in a bowl.
- Add coleslaw mix and combine. Salt and Pepper to taste and sit aside to marinate.
- Cut the tempeh package into half or thirds.
- Steam the tempeh chunks for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, slice the tempeh into thinner pieces, and allow to cool 10 minutes.
- Mix the cornstarch, garlic powder, and paprika and pour on a plate.
- Lightly coat each piece of tempeh with the cornstarch mixture, shaking off any excess.
- Turn the skillet on medium heat.
- When hot, coat the bottom of the pan with oil.
- Add the tempeh pieces.
- Cook each side of the tempeh for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.
- When crispy, add the buffalo sauce to the skillet and toss quickly until heated.
- Serve on a bun garnished with the apple cider vinegar slaw.