Learn how to make soy-free tempeh, using a local ingredient: yellow split peas! Yellow pea tempeh is affordable, delicious, and very high in protein and fibre!
Split peas, also known as dried peas, green peas, or yellow peas, are dried legumes that are easily found in grocery stores.
It is very easy to find yellow peas already splited (without their hull). This makes them ideal for making tempeh!
Unlike other legumes, split peas:
- Do not need to be soaked
- Do not need to be dehulled
- Cook quickly (15 minutes)
- Are a local ingredient (Canada is the world’s largest producer of peas)
No wonder split peas are our favourite legume to make homemade tempeh! We love their mild taste and creamy yellow colour. In recipes, they easily replace soy-based tempeh.
We also love using green split peas, or a mixture of both, for two-tone tempeh!
To explore other types of tempeh with or without soybeans, see our Complete Guide to Making Homemade Tempeh.
What Ingredients Are Needed to Make Tempeh?
To make split pea tempeh, you need 4 ingredients: dried peas, vinegar, tempeh culture, and water.
Split peas are easy to find in grocery stores. Make sure you use split peas! Yellow peas are also sold whole. They would then have to be dehulled by hand after soaking.
Any vinegar will do. Vinegar is used to acidify the legumes and to avoid contamination during fermentation.
Tempeh Starter Culture
Tempeh culture is essential for successful tempeh. Always use culture from a reliable source. You can buy tempeh culture online.
How to Make Split Pea Tempeh?
Preparing tempeh can be divided into 4 main steps:
- Cooking the Split Peas
- Seeding (or inoculating?) with tempeh culture
- Fermenting in a warm place
To become a pro at making tempeh, check out our Complete Guide to Making Tempeh.
How Do You Incubate Yellow Pea Tempeh?
The most important step is to ferment the tempeh in a warm environment.
Tempeh culture needs a special environment to develop properly.
- Around 86°F (30°C)
- Not too humid or too dry
- With oxygen access
The easiest way to create this environment is to use plastic Ziploc bags with holes in them (you can reuse them after a good cleaning). They allow the culture to breathe while keeping the right level of humidity.
These bags filled with cooked and seeded (or inoculated) peas are then placed in a turned-off oven, with only the lights on and the door ajar. This is the simplest DIY method to reach 30°C easily.
Ideally, you should have a cooking thermometer to calculate the temperature of the tempeh and adjust the incubation environment if necessary.
Split Pea Tempeh Recipe (Soy-Free)
- 1 large saucepan
- 1 strainer
- 1 clean dishcloth
- 1 stirring spoon
- 1 Cooking thermometer
- 3 resealable plastic bags (medium size Ziploc)
- 2 cups yellow or green split peas
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tsp tempeh starter
- water for cooking
- Fill the large saucepan with water.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Add the split peas.
- Boil uncovered for 15 minutes, or until peas are al dente and still crisp.
- Remove foam with a spoon.
- Drain the peas well in the strainer and discard the water.
- Spread the peas on the clean dishcloth and allow them to cool. Use the dishcloth to absorb some of the moisture.
- When the peas are no longer moist to the touch, transfer them to the large saucepan.
- Add the vinegar and mix well.
- Add the culture and mix well.
Bagging and Incubation
- Fill the plastic bags with the peas. Do not exceed 3cm in thickness.
- Use a fork to poke holes in the bags.
- Place the bags directly on the oven rack, or a baking sheet. Leave the oven off but turn on the light and leave the door ajar.
- After 1 hour, test the temperature of the tempeh by placing the thermometer in contact with the bag. The target temperature is about 30°C. If necessary, open, or close the door to adjust the temperature.
- After 12 hours, turn the bags over.
- Between 24 and 36 hours, the first white spots will appear.
- The tempeh is ready when all the peas are covered with a white string and sticking together. Fermentation of the tempeh can take 36 to 48 hours, depending on the incubation conditions.
- Refrigerate or freeze to stop fermentation.
That’s it! You have homemade, local pea tempeh! Use yellow pea tempeh in any recipe that calls for soybean tempeh.
We love yellow pea tempeh in burgers, wraps, curries, or just fried in oil.
- Complete guide to making homemade tempeh
- Buy tempeh starter culture
- Discover the book Miso, tempeh, natto
- Tempeh 101 online course