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Tofu vs Tempeh 

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It may seem difficult to find enough best plant-based protein to add to your daily diet. It doesn’t matter whether you are vegetarian or not, tofu and tempeh are great when included in anyone’s diet.

There are clear similarities and differences between tofu and tempeh. You may wonder which one is better and healthier when it comes to incorporating into your balanced diet routine.

What’s the difference between tofu and tempeh? Tempeh and tofu are soy-based foods that do not contain any animal protein, which makes them vegan friendly as well.

Tofu is processed from coagulated soy milk pressed to remove the when and form white curds. The texture varies based on how long the curd was pressed, and it comes in different textures such as soft, silken and firm.

Tempeh is processed from soybeans that are fermented and compressed to form a strong and dense cake. Tempeh can also be made from quinoa, flax seeds and brown rice.

When it comes to taste, tempeh has a gristly, nutty and earthy taste, while tofu is a bit neutral and tends to take on flavors that it is cooked with. 

Tofu and tempeh are a good source of protein and oftentimes used as a substitute for meat in many recipes. They both offer valuable nutrition, but there are some variations in the content percentage of each nutrient. 

Nonetheless, they are rich in protein, but soy is a common allergen that is avoided by many. This article answers frequently asked questions about similarities and differences between tofu and tempeh so that you can determine which is optimal for your diet.

What is healthier, tofu or tempeh?

Both are nutritious because they are soy-based products, but tempeh is healthier than tofu because its made with fermented ingredients and less processed than tofu.

Typically, tempeh is made from nut seeds, whole grains or legumes, which makes tempeh richer in probiotics with various amino acid proteins and dietary fiber. 

It also has a wider range of minerals and vitamins compared to tofu, apart from calcium. Furthermore, tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, which are more nutritious and easier to be digested than cooked soy. 

The following comparison proves tempeh is healthier than tofu.

  • Protein: Tempeh has 16g while tofu is 8g
  • Fiber: Tempeh has 7g while tofu has 2g
  • Iron and potassium: Tempeh has 10g and 4g respectively, while tofu has 8g and 4g respectively.

Nevertheless, both foods play significant importance in a well rounded plant based diet. Regardless of the choice, it’s a great way to increase isoflavone intake, which has more health benefits.

Which is less processed, tofu or tempeh?

Tempeh is less processed because it is made with cooked, fermented and pressed soybeans. Tofu is make from soy milk that has been coagulated to separate the curds and whey, then pressed to achieve firmness. 

Tempeh does require having a certain type of mold spores to activate the ferment, but other than that it is cooked and fermented ingredients.

Tofu is a bit more processed since the soy milk is separated to form curd and whey, which is similar to other processes like cheese.

Is tofu similar to tempeh? 

Yes, tofu is similar to tempeh because both are soy-based products.Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, while tofu is made from coagulated soy milk.

As a result, they both have similar nutrition components, but tempeh may be slightly easier to digest because it is a fermented food.

But the major difference comes in the percentage levels of nutritional value. These two are rich in isoflavones which means they have common health benefits, and also side effects when consumption exceeds recommended daily servings.

Tofu vs tempeh nutrition

Tempeh and tofu have a variety of available nutrients, but they both have notable variations in these components percentages. The table below shows the nutrition values for  85g serving of tempeh and tofu.

Calcium 6%15%
Cholesterol 00
Fat 5g5g
Calories 14080
Proteins 16g2g
Carbohydrates 10g2g
Iron 10% of the daily value8% of dv
Sodium 10mg10mg

When it comes to protein, tofu has a small percentage compared to tempeh. Therefore, the decision to have tofu or tempeh depends on dietary focus such as calories or protein.

What are the similarities between tofu and tempeh? 

Choosing plant-based protein is way to go to eliminate animal byproducts intake and have balanced nutrition. Because tofu and tempeh are derived from soy products, there are close resemblance between the two.

Here are similarities between tofu and tempeh:

  • Derived from soy products.
  • Nutritious substitute for protein, and both are easily prepared in various ways.
  • Rich in isoflavones, which are beneficial in the prevention of cancer and reduction of heart diseases.
  • Plant-based protein sources which makes them suitable for both vegans and vegetarians.
  • Low sodium content, and cholesterol free.

What is the difference between tofu and tempeh?

Tofu and tempeh are soy-based foods soy, but tempeh is fermented which makes it easier to digest easier by providing healthy gut bacteria. Tofu is made from coagulated soy milk that is pressed to achieve desired firmness.

Due to being soy products, the difference between the two may be confusing.

  • Preparation: Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing to solidify into blocks with varying textures such as silken, soft and firm tofu. In contrast, tempeh is derived from fermented soybeans that have been pressed to form a dense cake. 
  • Taste: Tofu has a neutral taste, but tempeh has a nutty and earthy fermented taste.
  • Texture: Tempeh is denser and the texture is closer to meat compared to the smooth mouthfeel of tofu.
  • Nutrition value: Tempeh is made from whole grains, legumes, nuts or seeds, and is richer in protein, fiber, and vitamins. However, tofu has lower calories but higher calcium levels compared to tempeh.
  • Cooking: Tofu absorbs the flavor of the dish more easily than tempeh to shorten the marinated time. Tempeh has a stronger original taste that is not easily affected by a recipe.
Tofu vs tempeh

Tempeh and Tofu: Conclusion 

Tofu and tempeh are soy-based foods, making them both nutritious and healthy to be included by vegans and vegetarians alike. For this reason, both are good protein substitutes for any diet. 

Tempeh has nutty and earthy taste, where as tofu has neutral and bland taste that allow the absorption of spices and sauces pretty well. 

Furthermore, tempeh is richer in probiotics, vitamins, fiber and proteins than tofu because it uses fermented soybeans. Additionally, tempeh has a closer texture to meat than tofu.

However, both are nutritious enough to provide a significant positive impact. Regardless of choice, isoflavones in soy gives a wholesome advantage.

In the end, it seems that tempeh is healthier than tofu because it is fermented, less processed, and contains higher fiber, protein, and vitamins. But, if you are allergic to soy products, then it’s wise to keep away the two.

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