A Guide to Tempeh

Learn about the history, nutrition content, and other interesting facts of tempeh.

As a less processed legume with a crunchier consistency than tofu, Tempeh is an excellent protein alternative to add to your diet. In addition to its delicious flavor, tempeh packs a nutritional punch, low in fat with zero cholesterol. Watch our video to learn more about it!

Nutritional Information

Calories Total Fat Cholesterol Sodium Potassium Carbohydrates Protein
193 11g 0mg 9mg 412mg 9g 19g
Medium Medium Low Low High Low High

*One 100g (3.5 oz.) package of tempeh

Frequently Asked Questions

How is tempeh made?
Tempeh is made by slightly fermenting soybeans and pressing the mixture into firm, dense blocks. Since tempeh is a whole soybean product, the fermentation allows this food to have a higher nutrient content than other more processed soy products.

Is tempeh the same thing as tofu?
Nope! While both made from soybeans, tempeh is has a completely different taste, consistency, and nutritional content than tofu. Tempeh is a less processed, whole soybean product that has a dense, crunchy, nutty flavor. Tofu is a more processed soy product, made from pressing coagulated soymilk into blocks. It comes in a variety of densities, but most tofu has more of a spongy, gelatin consistency. Both are delicious in their own way and serve as excellent soy-based proteins to add to your diet.

Where did tempeh originate?
Tempeh originated in Indonesia around 1815. In a tofu factory on the island of Java, tempeh was said to be accidentally discovered from discarded soybeans sitting out too long.

Where can I find tempeh in my grocery store?
We’ll be honest with you: tempeh isn’t quite as easy to find as tofu. And it’s a little more expensive. In major cities within the United States, you can typically find tempeh in the refrigerated food section where they keep the tofu. Since tempeh isn’t crazy popular yet, we recommend asking the grocery store attendant ‘where the tofu is’ and seeing where they lead you. Tempeh typically comes in a vacuum sealed plastic wrapper.

How do I cook tempeh?
Luckily, tempeh is pretty easy to cook! Remove your tempeh from its plastic wrapping, and slice into strips. For stovetop cooking, add a little olive oil, some fresh garlic, and cook tempeh strips on both sides until golden brown. We encourage you to experiment with a variety of spices and sauces to match the taste of your overall meal.


Tempeh Recipes

1. Filling Vegan Burrito

If you’re looking for a hearty vegan meal to keep you full, check out this Veggie Campus original recipe. Packed with protein and nutrients, this Filling Vegan Burrito is filling, delicious and packed with essential nutrients.

2. Marinated Peanut Tempeh by Minimalist Baker

One of the first tempeh recipes we ever tried and still an all-time favorite! If you don’t have a ton of time (or don’t have an oven anymore, like us), there are many quick variations from this recipe that you can alter.

3. Orange Glazed Tempeh by The Yummy Plant

Here’s a highly recommended glazed tempeh from The Yummy Plant. This recipe is great to use in an Asian stirfry, or throw on top of a salad. Fresh, crisp, citrus flavor!