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Smiling Hara Tempeh

Originating in Indonesia, tempeh (say, “TEM-pay”) is traditionally made through a natural culturing and incubation process that binds soybeans together in a cake form. It’s become increasingly popular in the US over the last several years. 

As a result of its popularity growth, we’ve seen some fantastic local vendors creating tempeh for sale in their regions.  In fact, Smiling Hara Tempeh, located in Asheville, North Carolina, impressed us so much with their delicious product that we recently gave them a Local Producer Loan to help them grow their business and get their product in to more of our stores.

Owners Sarah Yancey and Chad Oliphant started Smiling Hara (which translates to “happy belly”) in 2009 with the intention of providing an organic, unpasteurized and locally sourced tempeh to customers in the Southeast.  In fact, their tempeh contains only three ingredients: beans, distilled vinegar and the live culture Rhizopus Oligusporus. Early on in the business, Sarah and Chad discovered that soy-free tempeh was difficult to find. 

So they created two additional products, Black Bean Tempeh and Black-Eyed Pea Tempeh, to meet the needs of folks who want a vegetarian protein that’s not derived from soybeans. 

These tasty products continue to gain loyal customers!

Sarah and Chad have used their passion for community building, self-sufficiency, environmental stewardship and living a health-conscious lifestyle to build a vibrant enterprise. Not only are the ingredients in Smiling Hara’s products sourced locally whenever possible, but they also use biodegradable packaging and compost all the production waste material on their small farm.

We love working with organizations that believe they are only as strong as the community and environment in which they do business! Smiling Hara Tempeh is available in our stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

Even if Smiling Hara not available in your area, you can still enjoy tempeh from your local store with one of Sarah’s favorite recipes:

Tempeh Beet Salad

3/4 lb tempeh

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

2 cups shredded beets (you can add carrots as well)

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1/2 cup mayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise

1 tablespoon dried tarragon

1 tablespoon ground cumin

Black pepper and salt to taste

Heat oven to 400°F. Crumble tempeh into a baking dish. Add soy sauce, vinegar and honey and stir well. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crispy.

Mix shredded beets and ginger together. Add baked tempeh, mayonnaise and spices. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and sprinkle your choice of cilantro or parsley over top.

Does tempeh make you smile? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?