Tempeh is the tasty meat substitute sweeping the vegan and health food communities. And for a good reason as this yummy meat alternative is the perfect addition to any plant-based diet.
Tempeh makes a great addition to any vegan diet. It is an excellent source of protein, has a meaty texture, and is one of the best plant-based meat alternatives out there! It’s most often organically made, is becoming more and more readily accessible, and has excellent nutritional value.
Adding tempeh to your dinner dish can immediately boost the nutritional value and protein content, which is why many vegans absolutely love tempeh. And what’s not to love?! Sounds like a win-win to us!
So, where can one find these magical plant-based meat alternatives?
Here are a few ideas to start your plant-based faux meat treasure hunt and a few brands to be on the lookout for.
When perusing your local grocer’s shelves or taking a walk through a health food store, it can be helpful to know what to look for. Here are a few of the well-known tempeh brands to keep an eye out for.
- LightLife/Fakin Bacon – Lightlife is the most widely known and available brand of tempeh, so it is the one you will run into the most often. It has a great reputation, is organic and is easily found at most stores.
- Tofurkey – Everyone loves a good tofurkey! This is another ubiquitous brand on the market (especially around the holidays!) They have sliced tofurkey for sandwiches and ample turkey substitutes for the holidays!
- Franklin Farms – Franklin Farms features 5-grain tempeh and is another brand you will likely encounter in your search for plant-based meat alternatives.
- Marigold – Marigold features fermented tempeh with some that even come in a can! Quick, easy, and oh so convenient.
- WestSoy – WestSoy is another 5 grains tempeh that comes in similar packaging to tofu. You just peel it out and prepare it!
- SoyBoy – SoyBoy takes tempeh to a whole other level. Organic, gluten-free, kosher, AND non-GMO. They also feature a bulk option if you buy tempeh online through their website, so you can stock up! Excuse us while our mouths drop.
- Smiling Hara – Smiling Hara is a brand based out of Asheville, North Carolina, with several vegan tempeh products.
Where To Buy Tempeh
The question of where to buy tempeh has gotten easier and easier to answer recently. This is exciting news for the plant-based community as “where to buy tempeh” did not have as simple of an answer as…the grocery store! But now, the grocery store is probably the most accessible place to pick up your favorite vegan meat substitute.
Thankfully it is no longer hard to find tempeh. In fact, as it grows in popularity among plant-based diets, it is becoming more and more simple to find tempeh in all your favorite places! And the most accessible place to start is usually the one closest to home; your local grocery store.
Here’s a list of a few stores that are known to carry tempeh:
- Whole Foods – Whole Foods is one store that is all about tempeh. They have a wide array of brands, including Lightlife, Soy Boy, and even tempeh products like pre-marinated tempeh, umami flavor, tempeh bacon, and tempeh vegan hot dogs. You can find all this vegan goodness in their produce section, where they keep the tofu.
- Trader Joe’s – Trader Joe’s offers its own brand of tempeh products, so they have a wide variety of options to choose from(including tempeh bacon..yum!) Trader Joe’s usually keeps tempeh in their natural foods section, next to the tofu and soybeans/soy-based products.
- Target – Target generally has Lightlife Organic Tempeh in their natural foods section, also right alongside tofu. This is only usually in the Targets with a pretty expansive grocery foods market section; some of the smaller ones may not carry it.
- Harris Teeter – Harris Teeter is also a carrier of tempeh products. They just head over to their meatless section, and they usually have several types of original tempeh.
- Safeway – Safeway should have regular Lightlife tempeh and often carry several other brands as well.
- Kroger – Lightlife or Surata tempeh is a Kroger house favorite. It can be found in their natural section near the produce.
- Publix – Check Publix for several different kinds of tempeh, including Tofurkey Smokey Maple Bacon Marinated Strips.
- Food Lion – If you’ve never heard of Food Lion, then you must not be from the east coast/southern states! But if you are, you know these little grocery chain stores are peppered throughout the southeast.
If you happen to be stopping by, you can find several brands of tempeh in their health food or refrigerated section.
- Asian Markets – Asian markets are actually a great place to find tempeh as it is used in multiple Asian dishes. Most of what you see in the markets is certified organic, and many Asian recipes can be created around a plant-based diet.
Don’t see your favorite local grocer on the list? Be the change you want to see! Give them a call to see if they carry your favorite brand of tempeh, and if not, at the request of you and a few friends, they might start too!
Read Next: Where To Buy Seitan
Health Food Stores
Natural food stores are easy to locate with a quick search of your local area. They are a great place to find wild foods and certified organic of all kinds. Almost any local health food store is sure to carry several brands or even their own tempeh.
Health food stores tend to vary by location as most of them are local and not necessarily chain stores.
But a few that you might run into are:
Natures Way is a common health food store that pops up in a few areas. They often have multiple brands of tempeh and tofu, often some prepared, so all you have to do is heat it up and go.
Earth Fare is a store typical to the eastern part of the country that carries everything from skincare to unique, organic groceries that are hard to find anywhere else. They have a wide array of tempeh products, including the classic Fakin Bacon, a great protein addition to any breakfast.
Erewhon is local to California and has a vast selection of tempeh products. They have a cooked bar that features many tempeh products, pre-prepared items, and meals ready to eat right away. They also have uncooked tempeh and tofu products in their refrigerated sections near their produce. It can be an excellent mid-day protein boost if you stop in for lunch.
There are many brands of tempeh that can be found online. Here are some spots you can look at.
Amazon– Amazon ships refrigerated tempeh in a freezer pack. Hence, it stays nice and cool until you can get it home and get it cooked. It is a carrier of multiple brands.
Brand Websites- If you have a favorite tempeh brand, why not go straight to the source! You can buy tempeh online from your favorite supplier and have it shipped right to your door! Many brand websites sell in bulk, and some even provide shipping at no additional cost for bulk orders! Something to think about!
Online Health Food Suppliers: Several online health food suppliers (some small and local) are committed to furthering the plant-based lifestyle, and many of them will ship directly to you! Some even have their own original brands. Be sure to check reviews of all stores you are unfamiliar with and their authentic tempeh before purchasing to ensure you get the highest quality food and service.
Yes, even farmer’s markets are getting into the tempeh game!
As tempeh gains in popularity, it shows up all over the place, including your favorite store, grocery store, and even your famous farmers market. Tempeh is used for cooking so many recipes, even for non-vegetarians, that everyone wants a piece of the tempeh market!
Many farmers and whole foods markets are now selling locally made tempeh, and if they don’t yet, ask! Chances are you aren’t the only one perusing the local stands looking for this delicious delicacy!
More and more vegans are working to incorporate tempeh into their plant-based diets. That’s because it is such a great source of protein and iron, two things that vegans often need to monitor and supplement. Many vegans use tempeh as a meat substitute or meat alternative. The tempeh taste has a mushroom/nutty flavor and a thick texture that makes it the perfect replacement.
Tempeh is a fermented food, in fact, one of many people’s favorite fermented foods(second only maybe to Kombucha, of course!) Tempeh is made in a fermentation process when the tempeh culture ferments the soybeans into an easily digestible block.
Because tempeh is made from soy, tempeh is often compared to tofu. It is usually stored and found near the tofu in your local grocery store or whole foods market. The soybeans that make up tempeh have caused some health concerns recently, as studies have shown too much soy can affect estrogen levels. But many still feel that soy in moderation is still probably ok.
Soy used to be a more significant part of a vegan diet before other milk substitutes hit the shelves. But with more milk substitutes becoming available, it is even more possible to ensure moderation in soy and soy products.
Whether you are snagging it from your local Trader Joe’s, farmers market, or the worldwide web, your options to find tempeh are growing every day!
How to Cook Tempeh
Now that you’ve found it, you probably want to know what to do with it. Here are several ways to cook and prepare your refrigerated tempeh.
Bonus: Tempeh goes great with our vegan sweet potato curry recipe!
First, you want to decide how to slice it. That depends on which way of cooking your favorite plant-based dish you are leaning towards! Here are a few popular methods of cutting tempeh.
- Cubed – Fried, seasoned, added to a salad, etc.
- Strips – Fried, marinated, or baked
- Ground – You can use this method to make faux burgers, faux meat sauce, etc.
How you want to use the tempeh will determine how you want to cut it. Here are some of the most popular ways it is prepared.
Marinaded– Marinading is a quick, easy, and tasty way to prepare tempeh. There are tons of delicious vegan marinade recipes online, and pre-marinating the tempeh makes cooking a breeze! All you have to do is place the cut tempeh into your favorite marinade and let it soak.
Crumbled– Crumbling tempeh to put in soup, stews, sauces, etc., is a great way to get some extra protein in your day! You can add it to your spaghetti sauce as a meat substitute and give it some texture and additional flavor.
Fried or Grilled– Tempeh is pretty adaptable, so you can grill it as your protein of choice for a barbeque with friends or fry it up and enjoy it with some soy sauce!
Blackened– Who says vegan has to be boring? Blackened tempeh is here to prove that theory wrong! By covering strips with blackened or Cajun seasoning, you can make a great(and spicy) addition to salads, bowls, or even as its own tasty treat! Just smother it in oil, wrap it in the seasoning, toss it in the pan, or throw it on the grill. Doesn’t get any better than that, in our opinion!
Pro Tip: Tempeh can have somewhat of a bitter taste to some people. Steaming it for a few minutes before preparing it can ease some of the bitter flavors and make it more palatable and easier to include in multiple recipes!
Once you get the hang of preparing tempeh, you can get more creative and try new recipes or new spins on old recipes. The sky’s the limit as tempeh is easily added to recipes or substituted for meat in non-vegan ones.
The trick with tempeh is to just try it out! It’s all about your personal taste, so trying different preparation methods will give you an idea of how you can begin to incorporate tempeh into your diet.
So now you know where to find it, how to find it, why you want to find it, and what to do once you have found it! Any more questions? If so…don’t worry. We have a few more answers…
Do Discount Grocery Stores Carry Tempeh?
Discount grocery stores often have a lot of vegan foods. Some discount grocery stores carry tempeh, and you can save a lot by shopping there! A quick Google search will usually tell you if your local discount store has tempeh products.
Can You Eat Tempeh Raw?
That would be a no. It is not advised to eat tempeh raw. Don’t worry; there are so many beautiful ways to prepare and eat tempeh, though. Tempeh bacon, fried tempeh, marinated tempeh, etc. If you buy tempeh in its raw form, be sure to cook it, and check the tempeh packages for instructions as there are usually cooking recommendations.
Is Tempeh In the Freezer Aisle?
Tempeh is usually not found in the freezer aisle; it is most likely in a refrigerated section, often right next door to the tofu! That’s because they are made from similar ingredients, and you can also substitute tempeh into many tofu recipes. Tempeh does not tend to freeze well, so there’s no need to look for it in the frozen section. In fact, it’s best to just keep it refrigerated and eat within the recommended time frame.
Is Tempeh Organic?
Unfortunately, all tempeh is not created equal. Some tempeh is not organic, but a quick label check can ensure your favorite brands are clean and organically made. SoyBoy and Lightlife are two vegan brands that are known to be organic.
Is There a Difference Between Grocery Store Tempeh and Health Food Store Tempeh?
Not usually. The brands of tempeh you find in a grocery store and any other store are generally pretty similar. Although a store like Trader Joe’s may have its own brands, farmer’s markets may also make their own variety or add ingredients like grains, etc.
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