Griddled Miso and Sweet Ginger Glazed Tempeh

Tempeh - fermented whole soy cakes - is extremely nutritious but not well-known in the West. This easy recipe makes this healthy, vegan protein much more accessible with a delicious miso and ginger glaze. Griddle or pan-fry and enjoy with the spicy lime-dressed salad. Tempeh – fermented whole soy cakes – is extremely nutritious but not well-known in the West. This easy recipe makes this healthy, vegan protein much more accessible with a delicious miso and ginger glaze. Griddle or pan-fry and enjoy with the simple, spicy lime-dressed salad.

Tempeh is a true ugly duckling of the food world. I mean, just look at it. Not pretty.

tempeh1

Not as scary as it looks!

If you get past the kind of “brainy” looks of this cultured and whole form of soy there is also a matter of texture. Kind of odd. I can’t really compare it to anything in Western food traditions. Maybe a kind of bread-meat hybrid??

But, if you can see beyond the curious nature of this culinary oddbod, you will be handsomely rewarded. Where Western-style soy products are often not particularly healthy – very highly processed with some not always healthy compounds; mostly genetically engineered – tempeh is widely seen as much the healthiest way to consume soy. The many phytonutrients are further enhanced and made bioavailable (absorbed by the body) by fermentation. This is why we detect a “fresh bread” aroma when working with tempeh – until it is smothered in miso and sweet ginger glaze!

Soy will remain controversial for a number of reasons, especially for those with hormone-related cancers. However tempeh, along with miso, fermented tofu and natto, appear very strongly to highlight the cancer-preventing compounds while also dampening down mineral-inhibiting phytates found in more processed forms of soy (e.g commercial soy “dairy” products; most soy chunks, bacon and meat analogues).

My advice to the breast cancer patients that I see is to have organic, relatively unprocessed soy as part of a mixed and varied diet, if consumed at all. However, if you have been advised by your oncologist to avoid soy, then do follow this advice. Please see this excellent “layman’s” article on tempeh (and its link to their soy article). Scholarly links are below.

Sliced tempeh to be steamed before briefly marinating and griddling.

Sliced tempeh to be steamed before briefly marinating and griddling.

For the vast majority of people including foods like tempeh, organic, traditionally made tofu, and miso in the diet is very nutritious, giving us hard-to-find nutrients that are health-protective. But, its looks and texture can be a bit hard to sell. At least in my house. So, I have devised a few family-pleasing recipes to get this funny-looking food into our diet. Maybe you saw my Spicy Sofritas Burrito Bowl?

Even with my tempeh-sceptic family this was bowl-scrapingly good. And today’s healthy vegan recipe passed muster, too. Only the tempeh recipes (any recipes really!) that pass the all important family taste test make it onto the blog. Look out for a spicy flatbread pizza featuring this odd bod of a bean cake.

Here is a very small selection of scholarly articles on soy and cancer:

American Institute of Cancer Research

Cancer.net

Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care

Cancer.gov

A very good overview on nutrition, lifestyle and breast cancer.

And, Diet, nutrition, physical activity and breast cancer survivors, World Cancer Research Fund International (a long pdf document overview of all evidence to date)

Do you eat tempeh? What’s your favourite way to eat it? Do you have to disguise it from your family??

Tempeh - fermented whole soy cakes - is extremely nutritious but not well-known in the West. This easy recipe makes this healthy, vegan protein much more accessible with a delicious miso and ginger glaze. Griddle or pan-fry and enjoy with the spicy lime-dressed salad.

Miso and Sweet Ginger Glazed Tempeh

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Tempeh – fermented whole soy cakes – is extremely nutritious but not well-known in the West. This easy recipe makes this healthy, vegan protein much more accessible with a delicious miso and ginger glaze. Griddle or pan-fry and enjoy with the simple, spicy lime-dressed salad.

200g tempeh (I use Impulse brand, found in the freezer at Real Foods, Edinburgh), sliced into rashers

1 tbsp each white and brown miso, or all white

1 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp rice vinegar (Chinese or Japanese vinegar)

1 tsp acacia honey or maple syrup

Salad and Dressing

1 rounded tsp grated gingerroot and its juice

1/2 green chilli, finely minced OR chilli oil

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp tamari sauce, soy sauce, shoyu or coconut aminos (all salty sauces), optional

Juice 1 lime

Small drizzle of honey or maple syrup

Handful each of sliced sugar snap peas radishes

Two good handfuls of watercress/rocket/arugula (anything you like really)

1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced (I use about 3 mini cucumbers from Lidl)

1-2 chillies, thinly sliced

Method:

1. Steam the tempeh slices for five minutes. Let cool just enough to handle.

2. Meanwhile, mix together the marinade ingredients. When the tempeh is steamed, rub the marinade all over the tempeh. Cover and leave for 10 minutes to absorb the flavours.

3. Mix the gingerroot, minced chilli, sesame oil, lime and honey in a small bowl or jar.

4. Assemble the green salad between two plates.Tempeh - fermented whole soy cakes - is extremely nutritious but not well-known in the West. This easy recipe makes this healthy, vegan protein much more accessible with a delicious miso and ginger glaze. Griddle or pan-fry and enjoy with the spicy lime-dressed salad.

5. Heat a griddle pan or saute pan on medium-high flame. If using a saute pan, add a tiny bit of oil. Slap on the tempeh slices and griddle or fry until browned in patches; flip carefully and brown some more. When cooked, lay alongside the green salad; top the tempeh with radish and chilli before pouring the dressing all over.

Note: tempeh cooked this way is also fantastic cut up and added to a grain salad for lunch, threaded with courgette and carrot ribbons and with toasted sesame seeds.

Soft food diet: the tempeh is suitable for most soft food diets.

Tempeh - fermented whole soy cakes - is extremely nutritious but not well-known in the West. This easy recipe makes this healthy, vegan protein much more accessible with a delicious miso and ginger glaze. Griddle or pan-fry and enjoy with the spicy lime-dressed salad.

To make up for the ugly tempeh images (I hope you aren’t scarred for life), how about some recent snaps I took on a July visit to the stupendously gorgeous, Jupiter Artland? The landform you see is designed by renowned landscape architect, Charles Jencks, husband of the late Maggie Keswick Jencks, the founder of the Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, where I proudly work.

Jupiter Artland sculpture park entrance, designed by Charles Jencks.

The landform that greets you as you enter the sculpture park and gallery, Jupiter Artland, Scotland.

Bonington House, Jupiter Artland, Scotland

The visitor-accessible side of Bonnington House, adjacent to Jupiter Artland entrance. Hidden sculptures, a dovecot and more.

My daughter Rachel laying on the landform taking a pic of me taking a pic of her. I am one grassy tier above

My daughter Rachel lying on the landform taking a pic of me taking a pic of her. I am one grassy tier above. Jupiter Artland, Scotland. Just outside of Edinburgh.

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