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Feed your good mood with Susan Jane White’s prebiotic-rich tempeh recipe

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Tempeh. Photo: Susan Jane White

Tempeh. Photo: Susan Jane White

Tempeh. Photo: Susan Jane White

Tofu is a snazzy source of protein and iron (bad luck, Popeye!) but I’m happier eating the fermented varieties. Tempeh is simply fermented soya bean. It’s a fabulous food to supplement any diet, whether you are vegetarian or not. I prep this tempeh dish on a Monday, and add it to sandwiches with mayo and little gem lettuce all week long.

Science is only just beginning to understand the powerful influence our gut flora has on mood and health. One good way of boosting our natural gut flora is to eat more fermented foods such as tempeh, fresh miso, kimchi, yoghurt and sauerkraut.

Another nifty way to help your gut flora is to schmooze up to prebiotic-rich foods such as asparagus, bananas, onions and garlic. Prebiotics basically feed the good bacteria in our inner ecosystem, so serving this tempeh alongside roasted asparagus will be like a rave for our inner metropolis!

Badass tempeh

Serves 4

You will need:

200g organic tempeh (find next to tofu in the chilled section of supermarkets)
3 tablespoons soya sauce or tamari
Juice of 1 lime
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon ground cumin, or a few springs of thyme (optional) 

1 Slice the tempeh into long, thin strips or dice it into small cubes, depending on your personal preference. The marinade holds all the flavour, so make sure the strips are thin or the cubes are small. Leave the prepared tempeh aside while you get going on your marinade.

2 In a jug, use a fork to whisk the soya sauce or the tamari, whichever you’re using, the lime juice, the crushed garlic, the honey, and the ground cumin or the thyme sprigs, if you are using either. Mizzle the marinade over the prepped tempeh. Leave to marinate for any period from 5 minutes to overnight. 

3 When you’re ready to bake the tempeh, preheat your oven to 180C, 350F, Gas 4. Pop the tempeh and all the marinade into a small ovenproof dish covered with tinfoil. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Leave to cool if you’re using it in salads or sandwiches. Otherwise, pop it into curries or over roasted veg, and serve it hot. Leftovers can be chilled and tucked into school sandwiches later in the week.

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