Star Ingredients – TEMPEH

Tempeh & Tahini Bites

We make all our food fresh, so we know our ingredients inside and out. We’ve chosen them all specially – each one plays a different role in our menu to make our dishes as delicious as they possibly can be. No laziness around here!

Let’s talk tempeh. Firstly, it’s pronounced “tem-pay”. Now that we’ve got that sorted, read on.

Tempeh originates from Indonesia. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soya beans. But where tofu is made from an extract of the ground-up beans, tempeh uses the whole bean, compressed together and fermented to form a block held together by a white fibrous network called mycelia (like mushrooms, really). Sounds complicated, but it’s not really. Just delicious.

Below: Difference between tofu (left) and tempeh (right).


It can be quite difficult for the human digestive system to cope with whole soya beans, but the fermentation that occurs when converting the raw beans into tempeh allows the enzymes in the stomach to maximise the nutritional potential of soya.

To get technical, soya is a valuable source of nutrition. Soya beans contain fibre, iron, zinc and are nearly 40% protein – an exceptionally high proportion! Soya protein contains all of the essential amino acids, and has a digestibility of about 95%, making it a high quality source. The fat in soya is mostly unsaturated, which is the type that reduces blood cholesterol. Research suggests that soya can help to lower blood cholesterol, and it is recommended to people as a heart healthy choice.

Totally Tempeh Salad

Flavour-wise, it tastes like a combination of nuts and mushrooms with a delicious undertone of bitterness and perhaps also a little ‘cheesiness’ (even though it’s entirely plant-based!). Like tofu, tempeh is rarely eaten by itself, but can be incorporated into infinite recipes and readily absorbs all sorts of flavours which complement its own.

Tempeh features on our new menu – dive into the Totally Tempeh salad and Tempeh & Tahini Bites.