Whether or not you follow a meatless diet, you may have noticed an increase of plant-based “meats” hitting the market in recent years. One high source of plant-based protein that’s been around far longer is tempeh. But what exactly is it?

What is tempeh?

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food made of cooked and fermented soybeans. It has become popular among plant-based eaters as a high-quality source of protein.

“It has a tangy, nutty taste and firm texture,” women's health dietitian Valerie Agyeman, R.D. tells mbg. After they're cooked and fermented, the soybeans are packed into a brick-like cake, she explains.

Less traditional tempehs use other types of beans, and may add whole grains and seasoning into the mix, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Amy Kimberlain, RDN says. These alternative options are helpful for people with soy allergies.

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