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Tempeh Burgers with Slaw

Wondering how to get in more plant-based protein? Try out these Tempeh Burgers with Slaw.

I was having a hard time finding a good recipe for tempeh burgers so I decided to make my own by throwing some tempeh in a food processor with creamy cannellini beans, spices, some oats, and a flax egg and the result was GOOD. So good that I've made them three times in the last two weeks. They last so well in the fridge and can be frozen for later use.


The crunchy slaw is the best compliment to these Tempeh Burgers. I slice up the whole head of cabbage (I only put half the head in the recipe) then added fresh cabbage the day(s) after to keep it super crunchy and the dressing still covered it all perfectly. I used Greek Style almond milk-based yogurt for this but you can also make it with regular Greek yogurt if you eat dairy. If you don't already have basic distilled white vinegar in your kitchen (or cleaning) cabinet, I highly suggest getting some for slaws like this and other recipes like BBQ sauce. It's super cheap and doubles as a natural cleaning solvent - I just water it down and add some essential oils and it's a perfect countertop spray!


Tempeh vs Tofu


I have always been partial to tofu. It's inexpensive, can be found in most grocery stores, and I love the texture when it's cooked well. Tempeh, on the other hand, always scared me a little. It's not as common, looks a little freaky, and you're not supposed to eat it raw. Tempeh has shown up on menus everywhere recently - tempeh "bacon", tempeh fries, etc. So how is it different than tofu? Tempeh is basically the less processed, fermented brother of tofu. Here is a summary of each:


Tempeh

- made directly from cooking and fermenting soybeans (1)

- contains probiotic bacteria beneficial for gut health

- good source of prebiotic fiber (which feeds the probiotic bacteria)

- sometimes a combination of fermented soybeans and wheat (not always gluten free)

- 15 g protein per 3 oz serving

- harder to find and more expensive than tofu


Tofu

- made from condensed, unfermented soy milk (1)

- not a source of probiotics

- contains less fiber than tempeh

- 6 g protein per 3 oz serving

- more widely available and less expensive than tempeh



Notable Nutrients - Tempeh


Per 3 oz serving (2)

  • protein: 15 g

  • iron: 12% RDA

  • manganese: 54% RDA

  • phosphorus: 21% RDA

  • magnesium: 18% RDA

  • calcium: 9% RDA

Tempeh has been shown to have a protective effect on the liver (3), reduce both LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels (4), and contain phytochemicals called isoflavones which decrease oxidative stress (5) (aka work as antioxidants). Tempeh is a great source of plant-based protein for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.


For the Tempeh Burgers


Ingredients

makes 4 burgers

  • 8 oz tempeh

  • 1/2 C oats

  • 1 C white beans

  • 2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp water

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tbsp tamari or coconut aminos

  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • Optional: 4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley


Directions


- preheat oven to 350F*

- add oats to food processor and pulse until finely ground

- crumble tempeh up with your hands and add to the food processor with the white beans, pulse until evenly mixed

- add the remaining ingredients and blend until a sticky dough forms, you may have to use a spatula to scrape down the sides a couple times so everything can mix

- form the dough into 4 even patties

- brush both sides of the patties with olive oil (I just pour maybe 1/2 tbsp into a little bowl then use my fingers to spread some on each side, this helps them turn golden brown)

- bake for 30 minutes, flipping over halfway through


* You can also make this on the stovetop - add 1 tbsp olive oil to a nonstick pan on medium-high heat then cook each patty for around 3 minutes per side until golden brown. Using this method, the edges of the burgers don't get as crispy as they do when baked, but it's quicker and they retain more moisture. I've made them both ways and they're both delicious.



For the Slaw


Ingredients


- 1/2 head green cabbage, sliced thinly

- 1/2 C "Greek Style" almond milk yogurt OR Greek yogurt if you eat dairy

- 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar

- 1/2 tsp salt

- 1/2 tsp garlic powder

- 1/3 C chopped fresh parsley (also works well with dill or a mix of dill/parsley)

- 2 tbsp olive oil

- black pepper, to taste



Directions


- slice up the cabbage*, I prefer to use a mandolin to slice the cabbage but you can use the slicing blade on a food processor or slice thinly with a sharp knife

- add cabbage plus the rest of the ingredients into a big bowl and mix around (tongs work well here) until everything is evenly coated

* I like to slice up the whole cabbage then add some to the slaw the next day to freshen it up or use in salads, stir-frys, etc.



Putting it all together


Put a quarter of the slaw onto a plate, top with the burger then garnish with extra yogurt, fresh herbs, and a crack of black pepper.



Enjoy!


Xx, Kara


Sources


(1) Kridawati, Atik et al. “Comparing the effect of tempe flour and tofu flour consumption on estrogen serum in ovariectomized rats.” Heliyon vol. 5,6 e01787. 12 Jun. 2019, doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01787



(3) Mohd Yusof, Hamidah et al. “Hepatoprotective Effect of Fermented Soybean (Nutrient Enriched Soybean Tempeh) against Alcohol-Induced Liver Damage in Mice.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2013 (2013): 274274. doi:10.1155/2013/274274


(4) Kyoko Taku, Keizo Umegaki, Yoko Sato, Yuko Taki, Kaori Endoh, Shaw Watanabe, Soy isoflavones lower serum total and LDL cholesterol in humans: a meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 85, Issue 4, April 2007, Pages 1148–1156, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/85.4.1148


(5) Corinna E. Rüfer† and and Sabine E. Kulling, Antioxidant activity of isoflavones and their major metabolites using different in vitro assays. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2006 54 (8), 2926-2931 DOI: 10.1021/jf053112o



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