Tempeh: benefits, nutritional values, recipes

 , Nutritionist


Il Tempeh, or soy meat, is an essential source of vegetable proteins with high nutritional value and low sodium content. Let's find out better.

> What is tempeh

> Properties and characteristics

> Tempeh, ally of

> Nutritional values

> Use in the kitchen 

> A recipe with tempeh

Tempeh: benefits, nutritional values, recipes


What is tempeh

The tempeh or tempè, also called soy meat, is a typical food of Indonesia, originally from the island of Java, very common also in other countries of Southeast Asia, which for centuries has been an essential source of vegetable proteins in oriental diets.

The main ingredient is i bean sprouts, first softened in water and then partially cooked and fermented. Soy was one of the first plants grown in China since the eleventh century BC and has always been renowned for its nutritional values.

The tempeh fermentation process takes place thanks to the spores of the fungus Rhizopus oligosporus, which are mixed with the sprouts and left to ferment from 24 to 36 hours at a temperature of about 30 degrees. This process causes the bean sprouts to form a sort of white dough, with a compact consistency and a nut and mushroom flavor. There are also other types of tempeh they use different ingredients such as wheat, legumes or a set of legumes and whole grains.

Soybean meat is an extremely versatile product that it can be used in countless ways. It is generally cut into slices or cubes and fried until crisp and golden. It can also be grated like cheese or used in soups, salads, sandwiches, it can be steamed or baked and added to the most varied dishes. Soybean meat is suitable for freezing and can generally be purchased in ethnic markets and health food stores. 


Properties and characteristics

Tempeh is a food fromhigh nutritional value and the use of the entire soybean sprout in its production makes it different from many other soy-based products (for example tofu) by giving it a high intake of fiber, essential for a healthy digestive system and for the prevention of many chronic diseases.

Furthermore, the fermentation process and the enzymes associated with it make the much more digestible soy carbohydrates, in particular the oligosaccharides associated with the production of gas and the difficulty of digesting legumes typical of many individuals. This property makes tempeh a very suitable product for diabetics who often have problems digesting animal proteins, and allows the control of blood sugar levels. 

Rhizopus molds also produce an enzyme capable of breaking down soy phytates e reduce its phytic acid, thus increasing the body's ability to absorb important minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium.   

Unlike other fermented soy products, such as miso, tempeh has a low sodium content, which makes it suitable for those who require a low-salt diet. Soybean meat also contains some natural antibiotic agents; Indonesians who regularly consume tempeh claim its protective properties against dysentery and intestinal diseases.

There are also countless phytochemicals useful for health such as saponins and isoflavones. In particular, among the effects of isoflavones, it is worth highlighting their ability to strengthen the bones, relieve the symptoms of menopause, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and some cancers (always in conjunction with a balanced diet and a diet rich in fruit and vegetables).

Tempeh produced according to ancient traditional methods also contains beneficial bacteria capable of producing significant levels of vitamins such as Vitamin B12, completely absent in other products of plant origin such as wheat muscle. However, the bioavibility of this vitamin has not yet been thoroughly studied and scientifically proven. 


Tempeh, rich in phytoestrogens, is one of the natural remedies for ovarian cysts

Tempeh: benefits, nutritional values, recipes


Tempeh, ally of

Tempeh is an excellent source of manganese, copper, phosphorus, vitamin B2, magnesium, calcium, protein and fiber, all made available in a much more digestible and absorbable form by the body thanks to fermentation. His low glycemic index makes it an ideal ally for avoiding extreme blood sugar spikes. Introducing soy meat, along with other soy products, as part of our diet, can also help keep cholesterol at bay and consequently decrease the risk of chronic and cardiovascular disease. 

The fermentation of soybean meat, thanks to its ability to break down proteins into smaller peptides, ne promotes antioxidant action, improving the functions of the immune system and preventing excessively inflammatory responses.  

However, it should be noted that the consumption of tempeh it is not recommended for individuals suffering from kidney problems and / or to the gallbladder due to the presence in soy of oxalic acid which, if it reaches too high levels in the body, can crystallize and cause further complications.


Nutritional values

Tempeh is a product of plant origin only which, thanks to fermentation process, it is made very light and digestible. For every 100 g of Tempeh there are about 166 kcalories, 20,7 g of proteins, 6,4 g of lipids, 6,4 g of carbohydrates and 4,1 g of fiber, 0 mg of cholesterol.


Use in the kitchen

We can therefore say that there are many advantages of this product compared to those of unfermented and heavily treated soybeans, but you must nevertheless have certain precautions when buying: it is always better to choose a whitish tempeh, with possible black or gray spots, but never pink, yellow or blue as this color indicates that the product has been excessively fermented. It is also better to choose a tempeh with a rather dry surface and with a mushroom aroma. 

This product, when still not cooked, can be kept in the fridge for up to ten days and can be stored in the freezer for many months. 

In the kitchen it is possible use with great versatility: grated like "cheese" in a sandwich, or as a vegetarian alternative to pasta with meat sauce, just substitute it for meat in your favorite sauce, thanks to the ability of tempeh to absorb flavors and sauces. Soybean meat also goes well with soups and broths, salads and ethnic dishes such as noodles or curries. 


A recipe with tempeh

Tempeh marinated with lemon


  • 50 ml of lemon juice
  • A pinch of chopped fresh thyme
  • pepper
  • 300 gr of tempeh cut into thin slices
  • 1 large onion cut into slices
  • Oil
  • 4 sandwiches


Prepare the marinade by combining the lemon juice with the thyme and pepper and pour it over the tempeh and onion slices. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours. Turn on the oven to 200 degrees, remove the tempeh from the marinade and place it in a greased pan with the onions, then bake and cook until it reaches a golden color and a crunchy consistency. At this point you can create a sandwich with bread, salad, tomatoes and of course tempeh. Enjoy your meal!


Tempeh among the products made from soy beans, discover the others


Other articles on tempeh:
> Tempeh among the second courses of vegetarian cuisine
> The vegan menu: tempeh per second

> 5 ways to cook tempeh

> Tempeh, how to prepare it 


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