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Soy is one of the most versatile ingredients; it can be eaten whole or ground, fermented, and formed into various ingredients for nutritious and healthy cooking. Not only that, but it's also high in protein and fiber and contains less fat than its animal counterparts, so it's a no-brainer for people who want to eat less meat. Want to know how different forms of soy compare in both taste and nutrition? Read on for four forms of soy and how they work in your diet!
- Edamame: Edamame are baby soy beans that are harvested when ripe and sold either frozen, cooked, or shelled. The nutty-flavored beans are great for snacking or in anything from stir fries to soups. A 1/2 cup of edamame has 95 calories, 4 grams of fat, 8.5 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber. Try shelled edamame in a super easy side like this brown rice and edamame dish.
- Soy milk: Soy milk is the liquid extracted from ground cooked soybeans. It also has a mild nutty flavor but can be sweetened with other flavors like vanilla as well as made into other dairy-like products like soy yogurt. A cup of plain soy milk has 100 calories, 4 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber. Substitute soy milk for regular milk in anything from cereal to smoothies to pancakes (like these vegan pineapple pancakes with citrus cream).
- Tofu: Tofu is made by curdling soy milk with a coagulant to form thick white blocks. There are four types of tofu to use in various dishes: silken, soft, firm, and extra firm. Since tofu has little flavor, it works with many different kinds of dishes (it'll just take on the flavor of your ingredients). A 1/2 cup of tofu has 97 calories, 5.3 grams of fat, 10.1 grams of protein, and 0.5 grams of fiber. Firm and extra firm tofus are great in stir fries, or even healthier baked, like in this spicy mango veggie rice bowl.
- Tempeh: This form of soy is made by fermenting cooked soybeans with a mold. It is sold in dry, brown blocks and has a firm and chewy texture. A 1/2 cup of tempeh has 160 calories, 9 grams of fat, 15.4 grams of protein, and 3.5 grams of fiber. Many people think tempeh makes the perfect meat substitute, so try it out instead of bacon in a TLT — tempeh, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.
Source: Flickr User adactio
We had purchased two kinds of tempeh from Essene: our regular standby from Lightlife and the Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips. We had tried the latter at a local cafe, so we knew the strips were good. I refuse to call it "Fakin' Bacon" because it's really just tempeh with soy sauce and spices and doesn't taste like bacon at all. Time for TLTs . . . with some H.
See the walnut butter hummus recipe when you read more
Just because a meal is meatless doesn't mean it can't be filled with flavor. This vegan recipe is jam-packed with tropical seasonings and varied textures. The onions and tempeh are slightly caramelized before being coated in cilantro, curry powder, and fresh ginger. Red pepper and mustard greens provide a necessary crunch that balances out the softness of the tempeh. The finishing touch, a sprinkling of peanuts, makes this dish subtly salty and oh-so-satisfying.
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Traditionally, a Reuben sandwich is made with meat; however this vegetarian version removes the meat and uses tempeh instead. Similar to tofu, tempeh's made from soybeans. In this recipe the tempeh is cooked in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, black peppercorns, and caraway seeds. Then it's placed on a piece of bread and topped with the classic Reuben fixings: Russian dressing and sauerkraut. To check out the recipe, read more
Vegetarians pay particular attention to ensuring they're consuming enough protein because there's no meat centerpiece to take care of that important nutritional component. There are often choices like tempeh and seitan for building a veggie-friendly salad that goes beyond tofu, and quinoa is a go-to grain because it contains high levels of protein. When you're choosing a meatless meal out, don't skim over these selections because you're not sure how to pronounce them. Expand your vegetarian vocab by learning how to say these three words.
- Tempeh: Pronounced tem-pay, 4 ounces of this soy-based meatless alternative contains 22 grams of protein.
- Seitan: Made from wheat gluten, this veggie option is pronounced say-tan or see-tan. Just 3 ounces of it contains 19 grams of protein.
- Quinoa: Often referred to as the mother grain, the options with this protein-rich grain are endless. Ask for keen-wa, and you'll get 6 grams of protein in just 1/4 cup.
When I was in college, one of my favorite professors — hi Manfred! — invited me to a dinner where he served homemade tempeh. I've had it many times since, but it's not as tasty as homemade. Maybe it's time I try to make tempeh. It requires special equipment, and patience, but looks like it could be worth it. — HomeMadeS
If you're working on getting more protein in your diet, but are concerned about getting too much cholesterol and saturated fat from beef, then tempeh is a great alternative. It has a much firmer consistency than tofu, so many people think it looks and feels more like meat.
Why should you love tempeh? Take a look at the nutritional info:
Check out all that protein and fiber! I'm amazed one serving has that much. Tempeh is great because you can flavor it anyway you want.
Not sure how to cook it? To check out my easy recipe for bell peppers and tempeh read more
While the Boca brand makes a pretty decent frozen veggie burger, it's not that difficult to make your own version at home, so why not whip one up tonight? In this recipe, tempeh is mixed with toasted walnuts, dijon mustard, and soy sauce to make a flavorful meat-free patty. Garnished with a tangy mayonnaise and the usual burger accompaniments — lettuce and tomatoes — this makes for a filling and tasty meal. To experiment with this dish, read more
A fermented dish made from soybeans. It has a cake-like form, nutty flavor and a texture similar to firm tofu. It originated in Indonesia and can be marinated, grilled, or added to soups, casseroles, etc. It is often used as a meat replacement. Sometimes written as Tempe.