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Tempeh: A Nutritional Powerhouse in the Vegan Diet


Tempeh, a traditional Indonesian food, has been gaining global recognition for its high nutritional content and health benefits, particularly for those following a vegan diet. This fermented soybean product, originating from Java, Indonesia, serves as a functional food due to its high nutritional content and positive impact on health1.
Tempeh

Tempeh, a traditional Indonesian food, has been gaining global recognition for its high nutritional content and health benefits, particularly for those following a vegan diet. This fermented soybean product, originating from Java, Indonesia, serves as a functional food due to its high nutritional content and positive impact on health1.

The History of Tempeh

Tempeh has been a staple in Indonesian diets for centuries, particularly in Java. Its popularity has spread not only across Asia but also globally, as more people become health-conscious and seek alternatives to animal protein sources1.

The Making of Tempe

The production of tempeh involves a series of steps, starting with the soaking of soybeans, followed by dehulling and cooking. The cooked soybeans are then inoculated with a culture starter, typically Rhizopus sp., and left to ferment2. The fermentation process reduces antinutritional factors such as oligosaccharides and phytic acid by up to 33%, improving both the nutrition and flavor of the tempe2.

Nutritional Profile of Tempeh

Tempeh is a rich source of protein, making it an excellent choice for vegans. It contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source3. Additionally, tempe is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including calcium, which is often lacking in vegan diets3.

Health Benefits of Tempeh

The health benefits of tempeh extend beyond its nutritional profile. It contains isoflavones, such as genistein and daidzein, which are known antioxidants that can help prevent free radicals that trigger cancer1. Tempeh may also inhibit degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis, and can help relieve menopause symptoms1.

In conclusion, tempeh is a versatile and nutritious food that can play a significant role in a vegan diet. Its rich nutritional profile and health benefits make it an excellent choice for those seeking plant-based protein sources.

Here at Wild Vegan restaurant in Ubud, Bali, one of our most popular dishes is Tempeh Potato Steak. It is a marinated and grilled Tempeh Steak served on a bed of baby potatoes and red capsicum sauce, topped with green beans, and the native Balinese plant Mimosa, which is used for treating depression.


  1. Nisa, K., Rosyida, V. T., Nurhayati, S., & Riyanto, S. (2020). Metabolite Changes in Indonesian Tempe Production from Raw Soybeans to Over-Fermented Tempe. Metabolites, 10(9), 367. Link to Full Text ↩2 ↩3 ↩4

  2. Nisa, K., Rosyida, V. T., Nurhayati, S., & Riyanto, S. (2021). Metabolite Changes in Indonesian Tempe Production from Raw Soybeans to Over-Fermented Tempe. Metabolites, 13(2), 300. Link to Full Text ↩2

  3. Clarys, P., Deliens, T., Huybrechts, I., Deriemaeker, P., Vanaelst, B., De Keyzer, W., Hebbelinck, M., & Mullie, P. (2014). Comparison of Nutritional Quality of the Vegan, Vegetarian, Semi-Vegetarian, Pesco-Vegetarian and Omnivorous Diet. Nutrients, 6(3), 1318-1332. [Link to Full Text](https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/6 ↩2


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