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Can You Eat Trader Joe’s Tempeh Raw? (Explained)

can you eat trader joes tempeh raw

Trader Joe’s has been delighting customers with it’s unconventional and delicious food offerings, as well as specialty items, since it opened it’s doors as a neighborhood-market-style grocery chain in America! One of those specialty items is Tempeh. Because of the meatless nature of tempeh, many ask: “Can You Eat Trader Joe’s Tempeh Raw?”

You can eat Trader joe’s Tempeh raw without serious health side-effects because it is pasteurized, meaning the ingredients that could incur bacteria have already been exposed to heat and neutralized. However, tempeh is not meant to be eaten raw, and in addition to tasting potentially unpleasant, it is recommended that it be heated before consumption.

In this article, you’ll find out whether or not you can eat Trader Joe’s tempeh raw so that you can enjoy the specialty product with no questions left unanswered! We’ll also give you an idea of what is safe and what is unsafe when it comes to eating Tempeh, and provide a little information on the grocery store providing the tempeh. Let’s get started!

Trader Joe’s: An Introduction

Trader Joe’s is a grocery store chain that has reached startling success and popularity since it’s founding in the 1960s. It began really taking off in terms of how much customers loved it in the early 2000s, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Customers love Trader Joe’s quirky corporate personality, but they appreciate the values of Trader Joe’s even more. Because Trader Joe’s is committed to creating a great experience for customers, they offer a wide range of specialty products that are catered to the potential dietary needs or preferences of their customers.

Many of Trader Joe’s food offerings are gluten-free, meat-free, vegan, kosher, and more. What might be hard to find at a competing grocery chain is all over the shelves of a local Trader Joe’s. This includes a meatless favorite: tempeh!

Tempeh: An Overview

Maybe you’ve heard that it’s meatless and are hoping your local Trader Joe’s has it, but you have never actually had tempeh. We’ll give you a quick run-down on all things tempeh.

Tempeh is a type of product made from soy that is used to replace meat, especially in vegetarian diets. That being said, it’s ingredients make it a highly nutritious option for any type of diet or food preference!

Tempeh is a great source of protein, which is why it replaces meat so well, but it also contains many minerals, prebiotics, and even vitamins beneficial to the human body. Tempeh was created in Indonesia out of soybeans, which are fermented.

Once the soybeans are fermented, they are carefully pressed into tempeh’s signature cake-like form. Other recipes for tempeh include different types of beans or even wheat.

Tempeh is beloved for it’s meat-like, but slightly nutty and chewy eating experience. It can be prepared by baking, steaming, or sautéing. It also retains flavor well, so many marinate it in recipes.

Trader Joe’s Tempeh: Product Information

Now that we know what Tempeh is, let’s examine Trader Joe’s version of Tempeh! Trader Joe’s Tempeh is specifically called: “Trader Joe’s Organic 3 Grain Tempeh.”

The name describes it’s ingredients. Trader Joe’s tempeh is made with brown rice, soybeans, millet, and barley. Each of these ingredients is organically sourced. It also has the benefit of being kosher as well as vegan!

Trader Joe’s prides themselves on the preparation of their tempeh. The mix of grains and soybeans are cooked partially, then mixed in a culture for fermentation.

After the meat-like flavors of the cultures have sunk in, the rest of the tempeh is cooked again to remove the cultures and finish the tempeh block’s preparation.

Usually, the tempeh is sold in an orange, 8-ounce package for a little over $2 at Trader Joe’s, in their Meat section (despite containing no meat ingredients.)

Raw Consumption of Tempeh: Considerations and Safety

Now that you know that Trader Joe’s block of tempeh is fully cooked during it’s preparation process, you may be tempted to try and eat the tempeh raw. However, we have some information that is important to understand before trying this out.

Raw tempeh has been fermented, meaning that it has positive bacteria which preserves and keeps the ingredients safe. Even the nutrients are protected by the fermentation process.

That being said, it is important to know that tempeh which is unpasteurized may not be safe to eat, but Trader Joe’s tempeh, which is pasteurized, can be eaten with minimal risk to safety.

If Trader Joe’s tempeh were not carefully heated during the preparation process, harmful bacteria could grow and stay on the tempeh, causing the nutritional value of the tempeh to break down and the chances of food poisoning to increase.

Cooking and Preparing Trader Joe’s Tempeh

Trader Joe’s tempeh can be cooked in a variety of ways, given it’s safety for consuming raw. You have much more freedom with the method of cooking than you might have with raw meat!

That said, you can definitely get the most out of Trader Joe’s tempeh with a good recipe. For example, the meaty flavor of tempeh and it’s hint of nuttiness goes great with curry (and Trader Joe’s has a wonderful yellow curry sauce for sale!)

First, always cut or cube your tempeh according to your preferences. The smaller the pieces, the faster it will heat up.

Then, you can choose to sauté, bake, or even roast your tempeh according to your preference. Remember, if you want to enhance the flavor, consider adding vegetables or seasoning to your cooking instrument first.

Dietary Preferences

Tempeh is kosher, dairy free, and of course, meat-free. This means that it is incredibly safe, in addition to being very nutritious, for all kinds of diets.

However, there is one big problem for one dietary allergy when it comes to tempeh: tempeh is made with soybeans. This is true for most tempeh, and certainly true for Trader Joe’s tempeh product.

With this being the case, those with a soy allergy should absolutely not eat tempeh. It can cause allergic responses and an inflammation of the body for anyone who is allergic to soy, cooked or uncooked.

It is also not gluten-free, when it comes to Trader Joe’s specific product. This is because Trader Joe’s adds barley to their 3 Grain Tempeh, which does contain gluten.

Consumer Experience and Feedback

Customers are largely positive about Trader Joe’s tempeh. It commonly receives compliments about how meat-like the chewiness and flavor of the product are, and goes well with a wide variety of recipes in the place of meat.

Customers especially love how easy it is to prepare tempeh, and they have noticed that you can eat the tempeh raw with little to no downsides. That being said, because tempeh is usually purchased by customers for use as a meat-replacement, it is often cooked.

Recommendations and Guidelines

Most experts acknowledge that tempeh, itself, is never truly “raw.” This is because the very act of taking ingredients and making tempeh out of them must, necessarily, involve cooking those ingredients for consumption.

As long as the tempeh product you find is pasteurized, meaning all of the bad bacteria has already been cooked away, experts agree that it is safe to eat.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, you can eat Trader Joe’s tempeh raw, and many consumers do. Tempeh is created with soybeans, and tempeh from Trader Joe’s adds three grains to this ingredient and exposes the tempeh to sufficient cooking before it ever lands on the shelves.

This means that tempeh is not only meat-free, dairy-free, and kosher, but Trader Joe’s tempeh is just as good cooked as it is “raw!”


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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