Top Pick Of The Week

May 17, 2011

Lightlife Corn Chowder

Few people would guess that the “chicken” and “bacon” in this corn chowder are made of tempeh, a whole soy product. Photography courtesy Lightlife.

WHAT IT IS: A delicious line of popular products made with tempeh soy protein instead of animal meat.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: The texture is so good, and the seasoning so deft, that you don’t realize the “chicken,” “bacon,” “burgers” and so forth are not real meat.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Another delicious way to cut back on cholesterol and eat sustainably.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Find a store locator on the company website,

.Lightlife: A Delectable Meat Alternative To Burgers, Hot Dogs, Bacon & Other Four-Legged Favorites


CAPSULE REPORT: If you are considering unsubscribing because the topic of the week is tempeh, keep an open mind and you may discover something to delight your palate—even if you’re a dedicated carnivore.

Tempeh, or tempe, is the only traditional soy product that did not originate in the sinosphere (China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam). It comes from Indonesia, an archipelago of some 17,508 islands that lie between the Southeast Asian continent and Australia. Now, when you think of Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, think tempeh in addition to coffee.

Tempeh, like tofu (see how they differ), is very versatile. It can replace meat or other protein in chili, omelets, salads, sandwiches, soups, stews, stir frys, tacos—and just about anything else. It can be eaten plain or with condiments, baked, fried, deep-fried, sliced and grated.

While tofu is bland, tempeh has a complex flavor that has been described as nutty, meaty, and mushroom-like. It is very firm (like extra-firm tofu). And, in the hands of the right producer, it is seasoned to taste as good as the animal protein it emulates.

CEO Michael Cohen founded Lightlife foods in 1979. In 1985 he first introduced tempeh to America in the form of Tofu Pups, a vegetarian alternative to the hot dog. Today, Lightlife's line of tempeh-based products has something for everyone. The products are certified vegan and kosher (pareve).

The range of Lightlife’s vegetarian protein foods makes it easy for people to “eat veggie”—whether to lower their cholesterol intake, eat more sustainably, eat more nutritiously, or eat “meaty” foods while observing kosher dietary laws (or simply abstaining from pork). The line is certified kosher by OK.

What’s in store for you when you head to your grocer’s refrigerator case? Find out on the next page.

You’ll also discover the difference between tempeh, tofu and seitan.

Before you click away, take a peek at the article index below.

THE NIBBLE has been reviewing the finest foods in America since 2004.
Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories. Product reviews are by a unanimous vote of our Editorial Committee. We do not accept placement fees: All products have earned their way into our webzine due to excellence.

Vegetarian Cookbooks

Quick Fix Vegetarian The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook

Quick Fix Vegetarian: Healthy Home-Cooked Meals in 30 Minutes or Less, by Robin Robertson. Healthy, flavorful meals with a minimum amount of effort. More information.

The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook, by Robin Robertson. Eating vegetarian does not mean giving up delicious, hearty and satisfying food. More information.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food, by Mark Bittman. Simple meatless recipes with great flavor. More information.


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