Do you find yourself buying the same things when you are grocery shopping? Want to spice things up? Well, welcome to Explore the Store! Each week a new item found at your local grocery store will be featured.

The feature of the week is tempeh!

What is tempeh?

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian protein source made from soybeans. The fermentation of soybeans is how tempeh gets its texture while retaining protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins. Fermentation is a way to process and preserve food using yeasts or bacteria under anaerobic conditions (without oxygen). Tempeh can be used as a source of plant based protein if you are vegan, vegetarian, or looking for a satisfying, nutritious dish.

What does tempeh taste like?

Depending on the manufacture, tempeh can taste mildly nutty with a distinct umami (aged or savory) flavor. Some say tempeh tastes like chicken or mushrooms with a chewy texture; perfect for a mock meat or meat substitute. Tofu is also made of soybeans and has a smooth texture, whereas tempeh has more of a beany texture.

Potential health benefits

Tempeh is a nutrient-dense complete protein food because it contains all nine essential amino acids. In comparison to other typical protein sources like meats, eggs, or fish, tempeh has little to no saturated fats or cholesterol. Tempeh is a good source of calcium which promotes bone health. Tempeh contains prebiotics which are potentially beneficial to gut health.

How much does it cost?

  • Walmart – $2.98, Lightlife Organic Tempeh, 8oz
  • Whole Foods – $3.39, Organic Original Soy Tempeh, 8 oz
  • Trader Joe’s – $1.99, 8oz

Try these tempeh recipes!

Have you tried tempeh?

Let us know your favorite way to use it in the comments or tag us @UGAHealthCenter!


Written by: Rebecca Reese, dietetics practicum student in the UHC Health Promotion Department