When it comes to meat substitute, both tofu and seitan are popular choices often used in vegan and vegetarian recipes. Both are great protein sources and taste like meat with versatility to season as you wish due to its original flavor being mild and plain.
However, there is a big debate comparing which plant protein is healthier.
What are the differences between tofu and seitan? Tofu and seitan are both processed foods. Tofu is mainly made from soybeans, while seitan is solely made from vital wheat gluten.
Tofu is made from coagulated soy milk that has been curdled and pressed to form blocks of different textures ranging from silken to soft and firm.
Seitan is a meat substitute made from hydrated wheat gluten. A dough is made from wheat flour, then it’s washed to remove all the starch, and the sticky substance left behind is seitan.
Both foods have the same nutrient constituents, but the amount varies. The nutrition composition sometimes changes depending on the brand and preparation methods.
They are rich in protein, making them viable plant based substitutes for vegetarian and vegan diets. People have different preferences regarding these two, such that some are fine consuming tofu and others prefer seitan.
This post will compare and contrast tofu and seitan based on nutrition value, preparation and well suited dishes. Answered below are frequently asked questions about seitan and tofu so that you can make a determination about which is a better choice for you.
Is seitan better than tofu?
It will depend on what a person is looking for in a diet. In the case of focusing on protein rich foods, seitan is the best option. But to maximize micronutrients, tofu is a better fit for the diet.
Some don’t like soy products since it is a common allergen, while others simply don’t like the taste. For this case, seitan would be the better choice.
Conversely, people who are allergic to wheat or gluten would prefer tofu instead.
Bottom line, tofu scores on overall nutrition percentage over seitan if comparing the two on the general nutrition components. However, the nutrition enrichment of seitan depends on the recipe used in the preparation.
Tofu and seitan taste difference
Both foods have a mild taste, but that can change depending on how the foods have been prepared and seasoned since they can have varying textures and flavors.
Tofu tastes slightly beany with an earthy and nutty flavor, and firm, soft or silky texture depending on how it is pressed.
Seitan has a fairly neutral flavor and similar texture as plain chicken or portobello mushrooms, which also makes it absorbs flavors and spices very well.
Is seitan healthier than tofu?
Seitan is slightly healthier than tofu because it has a bit more protein and lower fat content than tofu.
Tofu has a high-fat content and the level of protein is relatively low compared to seitan. For lean vegans, seitan would best suit their diet.
Allergy to soy products is also a concern, therefore it would be healthier to consider seitan over tofu to prevent allergic reactions orside effects like stomach aches, skin itches, nausea, and diarrhea.
In contrast, tofu is the best option when a person is allergic to gluten and wheat products.
Seitan lacks other micronutrients essential in boosting the immune of the human body, such as vitamins and minerals found in tofu. Therefore, tofu would be the best choice over seitan if such nutrients are required.
Tofu and seitan nutritional information
Seitan has a significant amount of protein compared to tofu. A single serving of seitan (85g) has 18g of protein, while the same amount of tofu only has 10g of protein.
However, when it comes to calories, tofu score way more than seitan. On an 85 g serving, tofu has 98 calories though it depends on the type. The same amount of seitan only has 90 calories.
Here are detailed nutritional information of these two to compare:
- Fats: 5g in tofu and 1g in seitan.
- Iron: tofu has 1.6mg and seitan has 1.2mg.
- Phosphorous: in tofu 136mg, and seitan 65mg
- Selenium: 13mcg in tofu, and 10mcg in seitan.
- Tofu has other macronutrients that are not found in seitan including manganese (approximately 8mg per serving) and calcium (175mg per serving).
Difference between tofu and seitan
Tofu is made by pressing coagulated soy milk, which is then curdled and squeezed until it forms solid white cubes, while seitan is a protein produced by rinsing the starch away from wheat flour to form a gluten rich dough.
In order to find out which protein source works best for your diet, here are some more comparisons:
- Ingredient: Tofu protein components are derived from soybeans, while the main protein component in seitan is derived from wheat gluten.
- Protein: Tofu serves as a great source of protein, but also has other macronutrients. While seitan has a high percentage of protein, it lacks other micronutrients like manganese and calcium.
- Calorie: Tofu has lot more calories than seitan even though it has a lot more amino acid proteins.
- Taste: Tofu tastes is like cooked soybeans, which are slightly sour and beany. On the other hand, seitan is savory, very similar to that of bland chicken, but with a dense meaty texture.
- Nutrition: Tofu is more nutritious than seitan as it contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Tofu and Seitan: Conclusion
Both tofu and seitan are excellent protein sources for vegans and vegetarians. However, many people opt for seitan because they think it’s tasteless, while others prefer tofu, especially those who are allergic to wheat products.
Tofu and seitan are both plant-based proteins, which is why they serve as an excellent substitute for a meatless diet. They have low-fat content and are free from cholesterol, which makes them healthy for any diet.
These two foods are nutritious and healthy when consumed fresh or added into any recipe, however they should not be eaten in excess because they are both highly processed foods.
Tofu has earthy and nutty flavor with various texture, where seitan also have neutral taste with texture of a chicken or mushroom. They both are great alternative protein substitute because of absorbing spices and flavors in any dish.
When it comes to selecting either tofu or seitan for your diet, review above nutritional information to identify which one works better for you. Depend on the protein intake or calorie focus of your diet, the choice may vary, and you may find yourself switching back and forth for better dietary balance.