Monday, July 20, 2009What is Tempeh, and what makes this meal so good for me?
Tempeh is a vegetarian source of protein, made from fermented soybean. Mmmm, sounds appetizing, ya? Well, don't knock it before you try it! It has a firm texture (for those of you who don't like the "jiggle" of regular ol' tofu), and a mild nutty flavour. Like "regular" tofu, it absorbs the flavours of whatever you're cooking it with. I admit it can take a little getting used to, but if you dice it into smaller pieces, and use flavourings you really enjoy, this is a great source of protein that provides a great alternative to the usual fare, and may even become a new staple in your kitchen! Yes, really!
So, why should you give this a try? Being a fermented food (like yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, etc), tempeh is extremely beneficial for the intestinal tract, acting as a natural probiotic (promoting the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria) and thereby supporting the immune system, aiding digestion, and increasing B vitamins (even B12, often deficient in vegetarian foods), Omega-3 fats, and digestive enzymes! The soybean it is cultured from are an excellent source of protein without the cholesterol and saturated fat. In fact it has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol while raising HDL. The fibre it provides acts as a "broom" binding to and removing cholesterol and other fats, as well as toxins, so less is absorbed. The protein and fibre also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, helping to promote steady energy, and is therefore especially beneficial for those with diabetes or insulin resistance. Isoflavones (like a mild form of estrogen) are also provided, which can be especially beneficial for women going through menopause, helping to reduce symptoms. They're also beneficial for men's health, with studies linking the isoflavones of soy to a reduction in prostate cancer. Tempeh is also an excellent source of magnesium, Vit B2, and manganese.
On the "cons" side of soybeans and tempeh, is that soy is one of the most highly genetically modified foods, so be sure to look for "non-GMO" and/or "organic" on the label. It is also a common allergenic food, and for people with untreated kidney, gallbladder, or hypothryoid issues, it can worsen symptoms, so use judiciously.
To read more about the benefits of Tempeh, check out whfoods.org . You can also find more recipes using tempeh there.
Aside from the tempeh, this meal contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and essential fats in the vegetables, fruit and seeds in the salad. By lightly steaming the broccoli, it avoids the goitrogenic properties (thyroid suppressing) that raw cruciferous veggies may have.
This is a low-fuss meal, that takes about 10 min prep time, and 20-25 min cooking time.
Tempeh Ingredients *
(makes 2 servings)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried chives
2 tsp dried marjoram
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sea salt
250g (8oz) tempeh, cut in 1/2 inch squares
Tempeh Directions *
Preheat oven to 350 celsius
Mix all herbs/spices with oil; toss tempeh squares with mixture
Spread tempeh squares on baking pan; bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown
4 cups mixed field greens
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped small, lightly steamed
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 avocado, diced
1 tbsp sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp crumbled feta/goat cheese (optional)
2 tbsp raspberry red wine vinegar
Toss all ingredients together except vinegar
Add tempeh squares
sprinkle salad with vinegar
Nutritional Info (per serving)
570 calories / 41g fat / 27g carbs / 32g protein / 8g fibre
*Tempeh recipe found on www.allrecipes.com