Tempeh has been around for centuries, but it has only recently gained popularity in Western countries. This fermented soybean product is packed with protein, minerals, and vitamins, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans. If you're looking for a healthy and delicious way to prepare tempeh, look no further than the air fryer. In this article, we'll show you how to air fry tempeh so that it's crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Let's get started!
Air fryer tempeh: a healthy and delicious protein source
Tempeh is a powerhouse of nutrition, with each 100-gram serving containing around 19 grams of protein, 160 calories, and 9 grams of fat. Additionally, tempeh is rich in calcium, iron, and other essential minerals. By cooking tempeh in an air fryer, you can reduce the amount of oil required for frying and ensure that the end product is low in calories and fat. Air fryer tempeh is a great protein source for anyone looking to lose weight, build muscle, or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Tempeh 101: what is it and why should you try it?
If you've never tried tempeh before, here's a brief introduction. Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food made by fermenting soybeans. The fermentation process makes the beans more nutritious and easier to digest. The result is a firm, nutty, and slightly earthy-tasting product that can be sliced, diced, or crumbled into a variety of dishes. You can buy tempeh in most health food stores and supermarkets, and it's usually sold in blocks or slices.
There are many reasons to try tempeh. Not only is it a rich source of plant-based protein, but it's also low in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat. Tempeh is also a great source of probiotics, which can aid digestion, boost immunity, and improve overall health. If you're looking for a versatile and healthy ingredient to add to your meals, tempeh is a great choice.
The benefits of cooking tempeh in an air fryer
When it comes to cooking tempeh, there are several methods to choose from, including boiling, steaming, sautéing, and baking. However, one of the best ways to cook tempeh is in an air fryer. Here are some benefits of cooking tempeh in an air fryer:
- Less oil is required, making it a healthier option than deep-frying.
- The high heat of the air fryer cooks the tempeh quickly and evenly, resulting in crispy outsides and tender insides.
- Cooking tempeh in an air fryer is easy and hassle-free. You don't need to preheat the oven or watch the stove.
- An air fryer takes up less space than an oven and is more energy-efficient, making it an environmentally friendly option.
Step-by-step guide to air frying perfect tempeh
Now that you know why air-frying tempeh is a great idea let's get into the details of how to do it.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 1 block of tempeh (8-ounce)
- 1 tablespoon of your preferred oil (olive or coconut oil is recommended)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Your favorite spices (optional)
Start by slicing the tempeh into your desired shape. Some people prefer thin strips for a bacon-like texture, while others opt for thicker chunks. Keep in mind that thinner slices will cook faster.
Next, preheat your air fryer to 390°F (200°C). Add the oil to the tempeh and toss to coat evenly.
If you're using spices, sprinkle them over the tempeh and toss again. You can use any spices you like, such as paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, or turmeric. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Air Frying
Now it's time to air fry the tempeh. Spread the tempeh in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure not to overcrowd it. If your air fryer is small, you may need to fry in batches. Cook the tempeh for 10-12 minutes, flipping once halfway through. The tempeh should be golden brown and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Remove the tempeh from the air fryer and transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Serve the tempeh hot or cold, as a snack, or as part of a meal.
Top tips for seasoning your air fryer tempeh
If you want to take your air fryer tempeh to the next level, consider adding some flavorful seasonings. Here are some ideas:
- For a smoky flavor, add liquid smoke to the tempeh marinade.
- Combine soy sauce, maple syrup, and garlic powder for a sweet and savory sauce.
- Try a blend of Chinese five-spice, ginger powder, and sesame oil for an Asian twist.
- Drizzle balsamic glaze over the finished tempeh for a tangy, sweet finish.
How to make crispy and flavorful tempeh bacon in the air fryer
If you're a fan of bacon but don't want to consume meat, try making tempeh bacon in the air fryer. Here's how:
- 1 block of tempeh (8-ounce)
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
Slice the tempeh into thin strips and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Dip each tempeh strip into the marinade, making sure to coat it evenly.
Preheat your air fryer to 390°F (200°C). Add the tempeh strips to the air fryer basket, making sure not to overcrowd it. Cook the tempeh for 7-8 minutes, flipping once halfway through. The tempeh bacon should be crispy and golden brown.
Remove the tempeh from the air fryer and serve hot. You can enjoy it on a sandwich, in a salad, or on its own as a snack.
Creative ways to use air fried tempeh in your meals
Air-fried tempeh is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some ideas:
- Add air-fried tempeh to your favorite stir-fry for a protein boost.
- Make a vegan Reuben sandwich by layering air-fried tempeh bacon with sauerkraut, vegan cheese, and thousand island dressing.
- Use air-fried tempeh as a topping for pizza or pasta dishes.
- Add air-fried tempeh to your Buddha bowl for a healthy and filling meal.
Air fryer vs oven: which is better for cooking tempeh?
If you don't have an air fryer, you may be wondering if you can still enjoy crispy tempeh. The good news is that you can cook tempeh in the oven, although the results may not be as crispy as with an air fryer. Here's how:
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Place the tempeh on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
While you can cook tempeh in the oven, an air fryer is the superior choice for several reasons. First, an air fryer cooks faster, which means you'll spend less time in the kitchen. Second, an air fryer uses less oil, making it a healthier option. Finally, an air fryer produces a more consistent and evenly-cooked end product.
Troubleshooting common issues when cooking tempeh in an air fryer
If you're having trouble getting your air-fried tempeh to come out just right, here are some tips:
- Make sure the tempeh is coated evenly with oil and spices.
- Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket, as this can lead to uneven cooking.
- Flip the tempeh midway through cooking to ensure even browning.
- If the tempeh isn't crispy enough, try reducing the cooking time or increasing the cooking temperature.
Vegan and gluten-free air fryer tempeh recipe ideas
If you're following a vegan or gluten-free diet, here are some air fryer tempeh recipe ideas:
- Try marinating the tempeh in a mixture of coconut milk, curry powder, and turmeric for a fragrant and spicy dish.
- Coat the tempeh in gluten-free breadcrumbs and bake in the air fryer for a crunchy outside.
- Make a vegan BLT sandwich using air-fried tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato, and vegan mayo.
- Dice air-fried tempeh and add it to your favorite vegan chili or stew.
How to store and reheat leftover air fried tempeh
If you have leftover air-fried tempeh, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, place the tempeh in the air fryer for a few minutes or until warmed through. Alternatively, you can heat it in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. Just make sure not to overcook it, or it may become dry and tough.
That's it! With this guide, you now know how to cook tempeh in an air fryer, and all the tips and tricks to make the process a success. Whether you're a tempeh newbie or an experienced cook, air-frying tempeh is an easy and delicious way to add protein and flavor to your meals.