It's Tempeh Time!

Mother-daughter duo brings tasty tempeh to our table

Whether your family is dedicated to abstaining from meat products, or simply looking for occasional meat substitutes for health, economic, or environmental reasons, the ancient art of tempeh is an excellent choice for menu planning.

A local company, The Hearty Vegan, owned and operated by mother-daughter team, Beth and Becky, is the only permitted tempeh producer in the state of Texas. Their organic, non-GMO, naturally gluten-free products are a great example of the nutty flavor and fun texture of tempeh.

The traditional Indonesian staple consists of fermented soybeans formed into cake form; it boasts high fiber and protein, low saturated fat, and no cholesterol. Versatility is the name of the game with tempeh, and this superstar may be prepared in a number of ways - marinated, grilled, fried, seared, etc. The Hearty Vegan products are alive (such is the nature of fermented items), and last only 5 days in the refrigerator, but they can be frozen.

Recently, my family and I (omnivores who eat vegan/vegetarian multiple times a week) sampled a variety box of Hearty Vegan products. The women kindly prepared a few of their special recipes (available on their website), and gave us some products to cook. Here’s the rundown:

Tempeh Bacon

The instructions indicate this product should be fried for 2 minutes per side, but we found it was more flavorful when cooked a bit longer. The resulting darker color released the maple-meets-BBQ flavor, and we added a little salt.

Tempeh Sausage

The mild version cooked in patty form was a hit with our child, but both of us adults decided it would be better suited to a scramble. I did not enjoy the mild version as a patty, but enjoyed it crumbled, lending it to a variety of uses. (Hello, breakfast tacos.) The spicy style featured a much more robust flavor with just enough zing to make it pop.

Super Easy Tempeh Mock Chicken Salad (photo courtesy of The Hearty Vegan)

Super Easy Tempeh Mock Chicken Salad

This dish was a favorite of our tempeh fest. Balanced delightfully between creamy and crunchy, it featured a delicious ratio of sweet to savory. The chicken was not missed at all, and the tahini gave the salad a great twist; it is perfect with just a fork, or on crackers, and we will certainly make this again.

Asian Meatballs(photo courtesy of The Hearty Vegan)

Asian Meatballs

This item was the blue-ribbon champ of the tempeh spread. Glazed in a hoison-based sauced, the tempeh made for an excellent meatball texture. The ginger, garlic, and soy were zesty without any heat, and the green onions and sesame seeds rounded out these little winning meatless gems.

You can find the recipes for Super Easy Tempeh Mock Chicken Salad and Asian Meatballs (and many more) at The Hearty Vegan website here.

For my 2 remaining frozen blocks of Texas Tempeh and Black Eyed Pea Tempeh (a Hearty Vegan Specialty for those soy-challenged among us), I plan to try the Tempeh Chili recipe posted on the website.

The Hearty Vegan products are available at several locations across town, including Wheatsville Food Co-Op and Whole Foods Markets, and on some local vegan-friendly restaurant menus.

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