What Is Tempeh?

Tempeh is a soy-based protein that goes through a process of fermentation and is formed into a firm, dense cake. Because tempeh is plant-based, it is vegan and vegetarian friendly. Tempeh is known for its nutty or slightly bitter taste.

Shop All Tempeh

What Is Tempeh Made of?

Close up showing texture of tempeh

Tempeh is made of soybeans, whole grains, various spices and seasonings, and a variety of other beans. When you look at tempeh, you can actually see the soy bean shape in the patty. Many people appreciate the texture that this adds to the cake.

Upon further inspection, you may see slight discoloration that looks grey or black. This coloring is completely natural and is a result of the fermentation process that tempeh goes through.

Benefits of Tempeh

Tempeh is plant-based, which means its ingredients can provide nutritional value. Here’s a list of some of the many benefits of tempeh.

Tempeh vs Tofu

Tofu and tempeh on wooden background

Tempeh is higher in calories, protein, and fiber compared to tofu. Tempeh also has a firmer texture than tofu does. Although tofu is also a soybean-based protein, it is higher in sodium and contains a lower amount of calories than tempeh.

Here’s a closer look at the differences between tempeh and tofu.


  • Made of fermented soy beans
  • Contains more protein
  • One serving size is 140 calories
  • Higher in fiber
  • Lower in calcium
  • Offers more cooking versatility
  • Known for its nutty, bitter taste
  • Can be cooked right away


  • Made of condensed soy milk
  • Contains less protein
  • One serving size is 80 calories
  • Lower in fiber
  • Higher in calcium
  • Can have cooking limitations
  • Has a mild, flavorless taste
  • Water must be pressed out before cooking

How to Cook Tempeh

Fried tempeh with rice and broccoli

Tempeh is known to have a bitter or nutty taste, but when cooked, this taste can be drawn out. One rule of thumb for how to cook tempeh is to cook it like you might cook meat. We have rounded up a few tips for you to use when cooking tempeh.

  • Blanch or steam tempeh with veggie broth
  • Marinate tempeh in anything you would marinate meat in
  • Batter and fry tempeh
  • Marinate, cook, and cube tempeh to top off seasonal veggies or a salad
  • Slice thinly and cook like bacon or chicken
  • Crumble and use in tacos, chili, lasagna, nachos, and more

Now that you know all about tempeh, you can try cooking it! Take any vegetarian or vegan dish to the next level with tempeh and enjoy its full flavor and versatility.

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips | By Angalena Malavenda
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