Tofu, miso, tempeh: how to cook these vegetable proteins?

Plant-based proteins, especially those from soy, are in fashion. Our tips for learning how to cook them.

Tofu pizza, spring miso soup, zucchini stuffed with tempeh… Recipes from elsewhere, colorful and balanced, are in tune with the times. They tempt us all the more because nutritionists encourage us to reduce animal proteins in favor of those of plant origin. Foods derived from soy are therefore an excellent alternative, provided you know the equivalences and do not abuse them because they contain endocrine modulators, isoflavones.

Tofu: it replaces bacon and cream

Tasteless, plain tofu (in organic stores and supermarkets) is to be mixed with vegetables and herbs, spices, seeds, dried algae … Presented in paving stone to be cut into matches, cubes… smoked tofu can replace bacon. Like a fresh cream, silky tofu makes desserts(tiramisu, cheesecake) or sauces.

Its protein profile: 10 g per 100 g against 20 g for meat, eggs, or fish, but its proteins also contain the eight essential amino acids. Knowing that 20 g of protein is necessary for each meal (breakfast included), either we raise the share of tofu to 200 g, or we complete “with a slice of bread or a dozen oilseeds, or even a portion of cheese”, as véronique Beck, dietician nutritionist, author of Reduce your meat consumption, let’s go! (Jouvence Edition).

A recipe idea, try the famous caramel pork with tofu!

Tempeh: in all sauces

Based on fermented soybeans (in Asian grocery stores or organic stores: Soy brands, Lima…), it has a spongy texture and an earthy taste, with aromas of mushroom and hazelnut. It is found in the form of a block: plain, with algae, with cereals, legumes. It can be added to soups or made sauces, or cooked in bolognese in lasagna, hash or pasta.

Its protein profile: 19 g per 100 g. At the same weight, it is twice as rich as tofu. Another bonus: as it is fermented, it contributes to the proper functioning of the intestinal microbiota.

Miso: as a condiment

Brownish and quite thick, this fermented soy-based paste (on sale especially at Monoprix) has a particular taste, very pronounced. The darker the miso, the saltier it is. Do not cook it but add it at the end of cooking in a broth, a velvety. It can also be added to meat or fish marinades, sauces, and desserts. To choose unpasteurized and organic.

Its protein profile: about 10 g of protein per 100 g, but warns Véronique Beck “miso can not replace meat as it is in a recipe because we only put a small amount in the dish”.

Textured soy protein: minced meat way

From soybeans, textured soy proteins(en sale at Leclerc, Intermarché… ) are in the form of minced, small or large pieces… Depending on the product, they must be rehydrated before use or cooked directly as pasta, in water, or in a broth. Then, they are used as minced meat: Bolognese sauce, stuffed vegetables, chili con carne, minced, lasagna … or accommodates them in “steaks” or dumplings, mixed with minced vegetables.

Their protein profile: 40 g of PST covers the protein intake equivalent to 100 g of meat.

Vary the proteins

The consumption of soy foods is not without risk, according to ANSES (National Agency for Health Security). Also, nutritionist Véronique Beck, author of Reduce your meat consumption, it’s gone! (Jouvence editions), recommends limiting them to once a week and 80 mg of isoflavones, or 2 servings (= 100 g of tofu + 1 soy dessert), and to alternate them with pulses, cereals, oilseeds… In addition, they remain contraindicated in pregnant women, in case of thyroid disease or a history of hormone-dependent cancer.

Edamame: beans to peck at

A source of plant protein and iron, these soybeans are legumes, like lentils. To be integrated into mixed salads, pan-fried vegetables, or to snack on an aperitif with a spicy sauce. Practical, the ready-to-use frozen version (Picard): just dip the pods 10min in boiling water, then shell them.

And what is seitan?

No, it is not soy but the food made from wheat flour. With 23 g of protein per 100 g, although these do not provide all the essential amino acids. Neutral in flavor, you can integrate seitan (inorganic and vegan stores) in all kinds of preparations: mince, skewer, nugget, burger … Downside: its richness in gluten which promotes intestinal hyperpermeability and inflammation.

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