Tempeh is a popular meat substitute for those who are vegan. It has a firm texture making it good to use in many different recipes. Many plant-based protein sources come from wheat, so you may be wondering, is tempeh gluten free?
What Is Tempeh?
Tempeh is a fermented soy product that is thought to have originated in the 1700s in Indonesia. Indonesians ate tempeh as a meat replacement because tempeh is high in protein. It is made from fermented soybeans and grains, making it a great option for those on a plant-based diet.
It has a more solid texture and crumbles nicely to be used in recipes. It has a slightly nutty taste and is a good protein source.
Tempeh is a healthy food with protein, other vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. Tempeh is sold in block form and can be made into things like tempeh bacon. You can find it for sale at many local grocery stores or health food stores. You can usually find the tempeh in the refrigerated section near the tofu and other vegan proteins.
Some people wonder if you can eat raw tempeh. You can, but most people prefer to cook it so that it has better flavor. Tempeh is considered a blank slate and absorbs flavors really well! Its chewy texture makes it a great substitution in meat recipes that include chili, pasta sauces, and stir fry.
Although both products are made with soybeans, tempeh is more nutritious than tofu. On the other hand, tofu is soft and comes in different firmness levels, from soft to extra firm. To get texture from tofu, it needs to be frozen to get a firm texture like ground beef.
Check out all of my articles to find out which Asian ingredients are gluten free.
Answer: Is Tempeh Gluten Free?
Yes, most of the time, tempeh is gluten free. It gets tricky when brands add whole grains or added flavor to the fermented soybeans. You need to look at the package ingredients and the tempeh allergen label to ensure tempeh is gluten-free.
Those with celiac disease and those sensitive to gluten have to be expert label readers when trying to determine if tempeh is gluten-free!
Ingredients In Tempeh:
Most tempeh cakes are made with just three simple ingredients, including:
- Fermented Organic Soybeans (often it is fermented with lactic acid)
- Organic Brown Rice
The potential trouble for celiac or gluten intolerance is when you purchase a flavored package of tempeh. These flavorings can be barbecue flavored, smoked, etc. You will need to analyze the ingredients label to ensure no gluten ingredients were used.
A good example to note: Do NOT buy Trader Joe's tempeh because it contains barley and is not gluten free!
Tempeh is often used in vegan sushi, so be sure to see if sushi is gluten-free too.
Gluten Free Tempeh Brands:
- Lightlife Original Tempeh
- Soy Tempeh
- Smiling Hara
Again, always check the label to be sure, especially with any flavored tempeh!
Gluten Free Recipes Using Tempeh:
Looking for some new favorite tempeh recipes? These are some of our favorite dishes. They are a great way to get to know the flavors of tempeh as a main ingredient. Each recipe is made with plant-based whole foods
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