I have mixed feelings about tempeh. On one hand, it’s so incredibly good for you (a 4-ounce portion has 22 grams of protein, more than half your dietary fiber for the day, and 20% of your iron) and it can be made to taste good. On the other, however, is the ewww factor. There’s no getting around the fact that these are cultured soybeans held together with mold. Visible mold. And sometimes it’s got black spots, which are “a result of the natural culturing process and do not indicate spoilage,” but they’re black spots on my food. So yes, I tend to cut that part off, however unnecessarily.
How I usually end up eating tempeh is by slicing it into short fingers and deep-frying them (and yes, the kitchen smells gross for a good half hour) then dipping them in barbecue sauce. Sauce? A condiment? Aren’t you a “Don’t drown your food” type o’ gal?
Yes. I largely shun the goopy things society sees fit to drown its foods in, but this is an exception. My barbecue sauce is good and peppery, and I use very little.
I’ve tried crumbled tempeh in tacos and it was way too close to a ground-beef texture. And of course there’s tempeh bacon, which I keep meaning to post a recipe for. Everybody’s got his/her own, usually trying to balance the sweet with the smokey. Isa’s Vegan With a Vengeance recipe was the first I tried and it’s great. I generally double the marinade and use tomato sauce instead of tomato paste, to make the liquid more liquidy so the tempeh is as chock full o’ flavor as it can be. And I skip the garlic. (This could be the only time I ever say this.) I’ve also seen ready-to-fry bacon/smokey-flavored tempeh in the store but I have yet to give it a try. It’s on the list.
As far as brands of tempeh, I’ve only tried two, Turtle Island (the Tofurky people) and LightLife. The Turtle Island one seemed to have smaller soybeans, so the texture was smoother, more ham-like for lack of a better way to word it (not that I’ve eaten ham in, I think, 22 years). I prefer LightLife’s Garden Veggie tempeh over the plain ol’ soy for its lighter flavor.
Over all, good stuff. I’m glad I found it.