Whether you're vegan or just want to eat more plant-based foods, tempeh, seitan, and tofu are among themThe best sources of plant-based protein..
This post will cover 2 main things:taste and nutrition(mainly protein content and quality).
Taste is subjective, of course, but I'll cover what texture to expect and what recipes each works best in.
For nutrition, we're going to compare some real numbers and look at the amino acid profiles of each protein source.
Let us begin.
Table of contents
Tempeh vs. Seitan vs. Tofu: What's the Flavor?
None of the 3 have a particularly strong flavor of their own, but they do have flavor and texture:
|Essen||Made of||texture||I like|
|Tofu||Military||Perfectly smooth. Firmness depends on what you buy.||Bland with no real flavor (seasoning matters)|
|Tempeh||fermented soybeans||Hard and brittle texture.||Slightly nutty and bitter. Some people like to add sauce, some don't.|
|i defend||vital wheat gluten||Soft but chewy texture. More like real meat (think chewy chicken breasts).||Depends onseitan recipeYou use it, it's very versatile.|
All 3 of these foods must be prepared.
The difference is that tofu and tempeh are easy to find in supermarkets.
Seitan, on the other hand, isn't called "seitan," but many fake meats in the vegan/tofu department have meat substitutes made from vital wheat gluten (the key requirement for being called seitan).
However, most people make their own seitan. It's a lot easier than making your own tofu or tempeh. Here you arethe easiest seitan recipe I've ever used, once you get used to it, you can do more challenging things, such asseitan "breast".
Is seitan good or bad for you?
This is a question I'd like to address before I continue because it's very common if you've never heard of seitan.
The only ingredient needed in seitan is the vital wheat gluten. Yes,this gluten, wheat protein.
Some people can't take it at all, so obviously seitan isn't a good food for them.
But if you don't have a gluten sensitivity, vital wheat gluten is protein only (and we'll get to quality later), andWhether or not seitan is good for you depends on the recipe you're using.
Most recipes consist of nutritious (possibly healthy) yeast and spices. As long as you don't add too much sugar, I'd say seitan is generally healthy for you.
Tofu, tempeh, and seitan can all be great, but it depends on the recipe. In general, I would say that firm tofu would be the tastiest for most people who are new to these foods.
Tempeh vs. Seitan vs. Tofu: Nutrition and Protein
A direct comparison is difficult because everyone's water content (and therefore calorie density) is so different.
First, let's look at a table of macros for each food item.per 100 gramsfrom this meal
Second, let's look at macros.per 100 calories.
After that, we'll turn to protein quality by looking at the amino acid profiles of tempeh, tofu, and seitan.
*Important note about seitan:Because all seitan recipes are different, there is no one-size-fits-all nutritional profile for seitan. Instead, I used the nutritional information for vital wheat gluten. Of course, you add other ingredients so your actual seitan is higher in fat/carb.This applies to all data from now on.
To start, the macros per 100 grams:
|Tempeh(100 Gramm)||Tofu(100g fest)||i defend* (100 Gramm)|
|Phases (g)||N / D||0,9||0,6|
|% protein calories||33,3%||40,6%||81,3%|
Vital wheat gluten itself is essentially powdered protein, so it's not surprising that its protein content is so high.
Keep in mind that tofu is very low in calories per typical serving size. So if you're trying to lose weight (and limit your calories), tofu is the best protein source out of these 3.
Now let's take a lookNutritional information per 100 calories:
If you are more into macros, this will be more relevant. You need to eat more portions of one food than another, but the percentages matter.
They are all relatively low in carbohydrates, although tofu is best suited to a low-carb diet.
In addition to macros, we have vitamins and minerals.
These 3 protein sources don't have a lot of vitamins, but they do have quite a bit of minerals.
The table below shows the percentage RDA for each nutrient for tofu, tempeh, and seitan per 100 grams. I only added nutrients where there was a significant amount.
|spice (100g)||Tofu (100g)||Seitan (100 g)|
|nutritious||% de CDRs||% de CDRs||% de CDRs|
Most of these nutrients aren't particularly important or difficult to get elsewhere, but I've highlighted iron.
Since most of the people on this site are vegetarian, it can be difficultget enough iron.
Note that this is per 100 grams of each food item (and seitan can contain less if you add vital wheat gluten ingredients).
for Calories,Tofu is best for iron and almost every other nutrient except riboflavin and niacin.
Tofu is not very high in calories, but typically contains most of the nutrients of the 3. Vital wheat gluten itself does not have many nutrients; Therefore, the nutritional value of your seitan depends on what other ingredients are added.
Protein quality (essential amino acid profiles)
Protein quality depends on how "complete" a protein is.
If you have a variety of protein sources in your diet, you don't have to worry about them as they balance each other out.
However, if you rely heavily on a single protein source, knowing which essential amino acids (which our bodies can't make) you're lacking can help you combine them with the best other protein sources.
Of course, you won't find amino acid information for seitan, but you can find it.in studies for wheat gluten. The amino acid profile of your seitan should be very similar.
|RDA||RDA||Tempeh||Tofu||Wheat Gluten (Seitan)|
|milligrams per kg||for a person of 70 kg||%RDA pro 100 cal||%RDA pro 100 cal||%RDA pro 100 cal|
Note that all data is relative to each food itemPercent of RDA per 100 calories.
That would be just over 1 serving for tofu, around 0.5 servings for tempeh, and around a quarter serving for vital wheat gluten, as we saw earlier in this post.
In general, they all have robust amino acid profiles. It doesn't take much more than a few servings to exceed 100% of your RDA for most essential amino acids.
However, I have highlighted the highest limiting amino acids for each as some are quite low.
For tempeh and tofu it isMethionineWhile for seitan is the limiting essential acidLysine.
I've written extensive posts about itThe best vegan sources of methionine., it's himThe Best Vegan Sources of Lysine.if you need help with this.
Tempeh, tofu, and seitan all have fairly good amino acid profiles. However, tofu and tempeh are fairly low in methionine, while seitan is low in lysine. All of this means you need to consume other supplemental protein sources throughout the day to get enough essential amino acids.
Which is the best? Seitan, tempeh or tofu?
Objectively, tempeh, seitan, and tofu are excellent sources of plant-based protein.
There's nothing major between them, but there are some differences (aside from taste) that can make one better than the other in a given situation:
- Tofu -Fewer calories per serving, great when calories are limited. It also has the highest amount of minerals per calorie. Better amino acid profile than tempeh (comparable to seitan).
- Spice -Fermented and easier to digest than tofu if you have an upset stomach. Higher in calories than tofu, which may make it a better option than tofu for weight gain.
- I argue -The highest protein content of the 3 and a strong amino acid profile. Very high in calories and protein, therefore very suitable for weight gain.
If you're not gluten sensitive, seitan probably wins overall, but all 3 have their place in a healthy diet that requires plenty of protein.