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Food and Recipe of the Month

June - Tempeh and Soy Foods

Some of my favorite ingredients to cook with are tofu and tempeh. Both made from the soybean, they are so versatile that the possibilities are endless for these two wondrous foods. Neither one has that much taste by themselves, they take on whatever taste you desire in your recipes.

The soybean has been cultivated for about 2,500 years and for good reason. These wonderful beans contain iron, carotene, niacin, vitamins B and B2. They promote clear vision and vitality, as well as improve circulation and support detoxification. Along with all these wonderful traits, soybeans also have isoflavones, which are similar to a natural estrogen that may help prevent hot flashes.

They also contain genistein, which helps prevent heart disease and may stop the spread of some cancers in their early stages. These power packed beans also contain protease inhibitors that are a universal anti-carcinogen and may block the action of cancer causing enzymes. And if that is not enough reason to start enjoying these wondrous beans, they also contain phytic acids that inhibit the growth of tumors.

You will find the tofu in firm or soft style. The firm is used when you want the tofu to keep its shape, such as marinating it. The soft is better used to create sauces and dressings. Always cook your tofu before eating, cooking makes it more digestible. Tofu is 8% protein, and high in good quality unsaturated fat, 4.3%. It contains all your amino acids and is an excellent source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and Vitamins B and E.

The texture of tempeh is chunky, it gives the illusion of meat in some recipes. It is 19.5% protein and it is a complete protein. It contains all the essential amino acids and B12. Tempeh tastes especially good sautéed in toasted sesame oil with a little tamari to season. It can also be crumbled and then molded into patties or loafs.

Recipe of the month:

Tempeh Burgers

8 oz. tempeh
¼ onion (minced)
1 garlic (minced)
2 T. tamari
1 T. dulse (cut up)
1 T. tahini
1/3 cup walnuts (ground up)
½ tsp. basil
¼ tsp. sage
¼ cup oat flour
2 T. water

Crumble the tempeh. Mix all the ingredients together. Form into patties, heat some canola oil in a sauté pan, and brown the patties on each side. Serve on a whole grain bun. These patties freeze very well.

*Excerpted from Perceptions in Healthy Cooking, Revised Edition, by Valerie Wilson.


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