Tempeh is a valuable meat alternative


The Belgian consumer organisation Test Aankoop studied 171 meat alternatives found in supermarkets and concluded that only 24 products, including tempeh, were qualified as a valuable meat alternatives. Most products that were not approved were either too salty, too fat or contained too little protein. The study also revealed the meat alternatives are rather expensive, in most cases even more expensive than a steak of beef.

Only about three percent of Belgians are vegetarians but there is a larger and increasing group, the flexitarians, people that deliberately cut on meat consumption for different reasons: for the animals, the environment or for a healthier lifestyle. Vegetarian initiatives, such as "Thurday Veggy Day" or "no meat or fish during the 40 days of fasting" are becoming very popular.

Although meat can easily be replaced by other foods, Belgians have a very poor cultural background for vegetarian cooking, in contrast to other countries, such as India, where vegetarian food is very common. Main meals traditionally consist of the combination potatoes-vegetable-meat and most vegetarians simply replace meat with vegetarian alternatives, often with meat alternatives that have same taste and texture as real meat.

Tempeh, with a protein content of about 20% and low salt content, is indeed a perfect meat alternative. But much depends on how you cook the tempeh to make sure that the final meal is also healthy. Deep-frying is not the healthiest method to prepare tempeh because a lot of fat is absorbed by the tempeh. The best ways to prepare tempeh is sautéing or boiling.