I finally got a chance to try the new soy-free hemp tofu from Tempt.
Soy gets a bad rep in the food world, and not all of it is deserved. My friend Tanya Sitton did a great piece on soy and health for Eat Drink Better, and I hope you'll give it a read. She looks at some of the critiques about soy and does some good, old-fashion debunking.
Soy-free tofu is something I've been interested in for a long time. Ever since making tofu with my girlfriends, I've wondered about making it from beans other than soy.
More about tofu: Making Tofu from Scratch, Chickpea-Based Tofu Alternative
I don't think that soy deserves the vitriol it gets in the media, but I'm partial to the idea of "everything in moderation." The thing is, I'm also partial to tofu. Dave and I probably go through three to five blocks of the stuff every week, and now that Darrol is doing finger food, we buy even more. Cubed tofu is one of my little guy's favorite things!
Hemp Tofu Review
I bought the Chimichurri seasoned Hemp Tofu from Tempt, and to test it out I had it for lunch. I prepared it super simply, just like I would a soy-based seasoned tofu: sliced into pieces with a side of Sriracha-avocado salad.
You guys, I wanted so badly to try this and fall instantly in love. I love tofu, and I love hemp's nutritional superpowers. I had visions of stir fries running through my head. Tempt's hemp tofu was kind of a let-down, though.
I think that calling this product tofu does it a disservice. It's texturally a lot more like tempeh, but I think calling it a mini hemp loaf would be more accurate. It has a grainy texture that I wouldn't have minded if I hadn't been expecting smooth, creamy tofu.
Wondering what gellan gum is? Read my piece on that ingredient at Eat Drink Better!
My friend Elena from Vegan ESP commented on Facebook when I mentioned picking up this tofu. She said she'd tried a different variety, and found it bland. I thought the chimichurri flavor was pretty nonexistant in the block that I picked up. It tasted a lot better after I doused it in balsamic vinegar and nooch:
Honestly, I'm not sure that I'd buy hemp tofu again. It's kind of pricey, and I'm not worried enough about the amount of tofu that I'm eating right now to replace it with something that I don't like as much.
Have any of you guys tried Tempt's Hemp Tofu? Did you like it? How did you prepare it?
where may I purchase hemp tofu in theU.K. please
Ooh that is a good question. I checked the Tempt website, but they don't seem to have a store locator. You might try reaching out to them to see if they stock at stores in the UK!
I used Tempt hemp tofu in miso soup. Gak! It dissolved into tiny particles and turned the soup gelatinous. It sounds like folks have had luck with other recipes, but leave it outta your miso soup!!
That is good to know, Leni! I haven't bought it since that initial taste test lol
I tossed cubes in nutritional yeast garlic salt and olive oil and air fried it
Cut up and put on riced sweet potatoe
It was yum! The sweetness went well with it! I ate the whole block
Ooh I should try it with nooch!
Roisin (Dolores) Grant
This is really good. It is advised to boil it first for a short period to take away the bitter taste. I do and works. I love this hempeh. Much better than the soy versions. I cook different ways and add different flavors.. I love it. just wish it was cheaper
I just tried it. Its aweful. I was going to make it in a pot pie. I opened the package and it smelled so bad. I thought i would see if it would be better fried. No. The texture is also unreliable.
I personally Have lots of uses for tempeh but my kids have always hated it and I think of it as the liver alternative for vegans.
The hemp tofu is worse. Like the foi gras or haggis or monkey brains alternative for vegans.
Lmfao. Yes! This review is spot on.
Just tried it, and am still trying to get the stink out of my apartment with open windows, fans, and various sprays. Freshly opened it smells like a very rotten dead fish. Cooked, it tastes like not very fresh fish. I bundled the cooked "tofu" and everything it had touched in a plastic bag and threw it down the trash chute. I will be surprised if my neighbors don't try to get me evicted, and I certainly couldn't blame them.
Hmm. I wasn't a fan of the hemp tofu, but dead fish smell makes me think that you got a package that was spoiled. You might bring the packaging back to the store for a refund! I'm so sorry that happened to you. I recently got a block of spoiled regular tofu, and the stench was horrific.
samesies. dry heaved.
see my post from a month or two ago...it smelled like giardia diarrhea!
It is perfect as a Tofu Scramble! Season with Nooch, garlic, paprika, mustard powder and kala namak. I usually add onions and peppers as well!
Ooh I will try this!
The Original Tempt Tofu has an awful smell while cooking, smells so horrible you dare NOT to even taste it. However, i love Living Harvest Products, just not sure what went wrong with this product. Rotten, foul, fishy, sour, yuk!!!!
This happened to me too. I opened the package and it smelled like Giardia diarrhea. (If you've ever worked with animals and had a dog with giardia, you'll know what I mean.) I dry heaved. I put it in a ziploc and returned it to the store. The clerk taking my return said he could smell it through the bag!
I started to sauté the hemp-tofu with mushrooms and onions. That didn't work. The best optio was to turn it into a stroganoff! I added some miso, diluted with water. I'm working on perfecting the dish but in the end I was pretty satisfied.
Oh nice! So you crumbled it? Smart move!
Would you mind sharing this recipe?
I love tofu but I have a soy sensitivity. I'm trying to go vegan but finding soy free vegan products is very, very difficult. I got excited when I saw this product while searching but after reading this review, I'll pass on it.
I'm sorry to hear it! Can you do gluten? I also love tofu, and seitan is my other favorite vegan protein.
I'm having a hard time eating it now, BAD, BAD, BAD. Feel apart in a stir fry, the odor is awful, kinda like sour dirty feet. Big yuck
I was super excited to find this (got mine at EarthFare), and hadn't heard of it or read any reviews... so I was expecting it to be more like tofu as well... and yeah. it wasn't! now that I know what it is like, I'll try to use it differently. I can see that it would work really well for some things (like stuffing bell peppers or zucchini or butternut squash) or ground "meat" style for tacos, chili or lasagna. I can also see that using a non-stick pan would be helpful if trying to just pan fry it. I tried in cast iron and a regular stainless pan. it is poorly named, making tofu lovers hate it. but i'm glad for another protein alternative to keep my soy consumption down a bit!
That's a good point. I need to try it again without tofu in mind!
I really wanted to like this. I thought it was a great idea since people are showing up with soy allergies more and more (I work at a natural products co-op). I hated the taste (I tried the chimichurri and the chorizo). I put them in a stir fry with veggies just heating through after cooking the veggies. The tofu didn't hold together well but the flavor was just bad. There was a sour flavor and almost a cheese like funk about it. The next day when I had the leftovers I pulled out as much tofu as I could.
Aw I'm sorry to hear that. I felt the same way about it. :(
I adore this hemp tofu but I have only used it as I would to make a tofu scramble buy crumbling it in a bowl with nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, turmeric and coconut aminos. I make THE most delicious 'eggs' benedict over an open-faced toasted bagel with a scrumptious vegan Hollandaise sauce recipe on top. Top that with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, pumpkin seeds and serve along with sliced avocados and tempeh 'bacon' or Field Roast mini apple/maple sausages. A gorgeous breakfast!
Ooh I bet with a creamy sauce and all of those good toppings I would enjoy this more, too!
I agree that it is in no way comparable to tofu (which I love!) However, I did some experimenting with it and it worked really well in stuffed bell peppers. The crumbly consistency made it easy to mix with my sauce and veggies and the texture wasn't as strange as when I tried frying it. Overall, I didn't think it was a terrible product, but it definitely has a specific niche in the culinary world.
Ooh what a great idea! My son is allergic to bell peppers, but I wonder if you could use it in other stuffings, like for mushrooms or tomatoes.
THiS STUFF SUCKS!!!!! So bad, it gives vegan food a bad rep. It was super misleading with the flavor.. Sweet and spicy chili lime my ass.. It was less than a hint. Shit fell apart when I was stir frying it. Usually tofu is labeled soft or firm ect ect this shoulda been labeled fkn MUSHY.. Don't buy this shit... Trust me
I think I share your feelings, but maybe with fewer swears. :D
This is less of a tofu alternative and more of a grits alternative. It fell apart as I was making a stir fry and it is very grainy. I used the plain one. It does not soak up flavour the real tofu does.
It's really overpriced and not worth it.
Yeah, I wasn't super impressed either. I think calling it tofu was a mistake.
Bought the product this week. Our cost at a local food co-op was only three dollars plus tax for the pkg. (Yes, it is the brand reviewed on the site.)
Read other comments on the "sticking to pan." I'm not an expert chef but advanced. The stickiness is affected by amount of oil, altitude, quality of the pan, and the cook's style. So, I plan to extract some of the moisture as I would do working with tofu and then stuff bell or poblano peppers with the product and other ingredients (roasted onions, roasted garlic, roasted Hatch Green Chilies, roasted chopped almonds or pecans, mixed with sriracha sauce or red/green curry past . Then bake the stuffed peppers in the oven or put them on the grill. We live in the beautiful southwest so we take advantage of the weather and grill year round.
I'm a guy of a certain age, so if I remember, I'll post the results of the dish after we eat the meal this week.
Where can I find it? I'm in south Florida.
I would try whole foods. If yours doesn't carry it, they're often pretty responsive to product requests from customers.
I found it at Whole Foods. Don't know if they have a store in your town.It cost around $3.00. I slice it in thin strips and let it soak in 3 tablespoons of Tamari, 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke, 2 teaspoons of coconut brown sugar, onion powder and paprika to taste. Let it soak for at least an hour before frying, It taste like bacon.
That marinade sounds fabulous!
I don't eat tofu (due to allergies) and was happy to see the hemp alternative. I bought the chimichurri flavor at whole foods. I must say that my husband and I really enjoyed it. I cubed it and fried it in a little sunflower oil. Because of the reviews, I decided to season it with a bit of Goya Adobo all purpose seasoning. I let it crisp a little on both sides and served it with a black rice salad. It was yummy!
Glad to hear it!
Hemp Tofu is nothing like Soy Tofu so don't be fooled by the name Tofu. I pan fried it like I would do regular tofu but it crumbled and was sticking to the pan especially if you slice it to thin. I have managed to cube and fry it coated with seasoned corn meal. I am sure you can fry it in whatever you desire. Paired it with sautéed spinach and baked beans. Also topped a salad with it fried.
I am not supposed to eat soy because it is goitrogenic, (along with cabbage/broc/kale family and some other vegs!) so I quit being a veg, after a quarter century! But I don't like meat that much so am having problems being a flexitarian. Loved tempeh though, better than tofu (nutty taste!) so will look for/special order this @ my local small city coop. (No whole foods in most of this state). I read that it *is* very crumbly and to work with that, instead of expecting it to be smooth.
Also, something to consider - high content of omega3s that are not available in many veg forms, other than also pricey chia or flax seeds and purslane (verdolagas in Espanol).
Also, 90% of soy is GMO, just like corn, so if one has concerns about that, this might another reaon for further exploring.
Thanks for posting about this! I tried the plain hemp tofu this morning and pan fried it without oil (didn't stick to the pan, I assume because of the oils naturally present in it?). I added garlic powder, chili powder, turmeric, cayenne, some italian seasoning, a tiny squeeze of lemon juice, a dash or two of red wine vinegar, and sea salt. I wish I'd thought of nooch... that would have added a little something too. I tasted as I added spices and such and that's why I ended up adding such random stuff. I kept thinking, "Nope, needs way more flavor." Plain it's not very tasty (the tang you taste is from the cultures in it, I imagine). After all my additions though, I liked it and ate more than I planned on. I'll totally eat it again. Next time I want to try pressing the water out like you would for tofu, weighing it down between towels to absorb the water. I like a firm texture.
Ooh I would love to hear how it goes with the water pressed out. I'm still a little wary, since it was expensive and I wasn't crazy about it.
I'm vegan and totally allergic to soy so I am SO EXCITED that this product is now available! I am going to try and make lasagna with it, using it to make the "tofu" ricotta that we all know so well. That's the only place I really miss tofu, so I'm hoping it does the job well!
I think that will work a lot better than a stir fry. Enjoy it!
Kite Hill makes a great ricotta alternative with almonds.
Well just pan fried it "burnt really" seemed to have better texture. I added it to a salad. It is very much like tempeh but a little tastier I think.
The marinade is kinda a joke but nice try. I'm wondering what baking will do. I'll do half the chorizo in the oven and report back.
Please do! I don't mind super frying stuff if the result is delicious!
Lizz Clements (@lizzdelicious)
Well I guess I don't need to worry about picking up any of that! Lol. Thanks for letting us know. I love me some tofu. I had some for lunch. I don't think anything can replace my love for it. :-)
Thanks for the review--it's always nice to get honesty, but specific reasons for the opinion are also a huge plus!
I actually saw this in my Whole Foods for the first time this morning and considered trying it, but passed. I have heard mixed reviews about it (even before yours!), especially the texture, and so even though I feel like at this point I'd be prepared for it, I'm not sure I'd totally be able to shake the expectation of smooth tofu texture. Like you, I'm not concerned about the amount of tofu I'm currently eating so I don't feel much of a need to make a switch.
its kind of a mushy tempeh. i took a while to like Tempeh as well. the different texture and taste and then cooking it my way made it more acceptable and now i can eat it mostly any way it is served. not raw though
i made it into a curried version with oil to crisp it up and the scramble. i preferred the curried version with the crispy edges of the ones that did not fall apart, also because there was enough spice to mask the taste. the texture was not as bothersome then. in the scramble, the texture and the taste were quite apparent. i might end up liking it more and more if i cook with it. hubbs loved it, but then he loves a lot of questionable tastes:) we ordered some veggie fajitas and he gulped the whole thing down. i was like the veggies are mushy and all taste of mushrooms even with largely cauliflower and peppers in them, the black beans were stale, the rice was bland. i had chips and salsa:)
That makes sense. I will try frying it until it's crispy if I cook it again. I agree - it has a lot more in common with tempeh.
I can totally see what you're saying about the texture not meeting tofu expectations. I haven't tried it, but in the pictures, it looks like tempeh. I love tofu too and eat it several times a week. After reading your review, I don't think I'll be adding hemp tofu to the mix!
I tried it the other night. It was mushy and fell apart in my curry stir fry. Also the plain was rather tangy and not in a good way.
I'm glad that I'm not the only one who had problems with the texture. It felt like I was being overly picky, but tofu is all about texture for me!