What Does Tempeh Taste Like?

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Tofu or tempeh? In this article, we're discussing tempeh so you know how it tastes, what the texture is like, and what makes it different from tofu. You'll also learn how to eat it, how to tell when it's gone bad, and what the best vegan recipes are (tempeh bacon, here we come).

block of 3 grain tempeh from trader joes

What Does Tempeh Taste Like? 

Tempeh is a natural alternative to tofu. Like tofu, it's made from soybeans, but the soybeans are fermented in this originally Indonesian food.

One of the characteristics tempeh has in common with tofu is what almost seems like an absence of flavor in a meal. Though it's fermented, it isn't at all tart, funky or strong. 

You do get a bit of nuttiness and earthiness from plain tempeh, but it will soak in any sauces and ingredients it's prepared and take on their flavors.

Read Also: Is Tofu Supposed to Taste Like Nothing?

Tempeh Texture 

While tofu is soft and spongy, tempeh is firm and grainy with an almost bread-like texture (without the crumbliness). It's chewy, but not nearly as chewy as seitan, another popular alternative to tofu.

It's often described as meaty as it has a combination of dense, chewy and tender qualities. It's also a valuable protein source, so it makes a good mock meat.

Curious about trying tempeh for yourself? Check out our post on where to buy tempeh.

Related Article: What Does Tamarind Sauce Taste Like?

Does Tempeh Taste like Meat? 

This can be confusing because tempeh is referred to as meat-like in texture, but it doesn't taste like meat. However mild, it's definitely more like mushrooms than an animal product.

There are vegan and vegetarian food brands that make their own versions of tempeh "bacon," which may also factor into the confusion. Really, it's the other ingredients in tempeh bacon that make it more meaty.

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