Tempeh vs. Tofu - Know Your Soy Superfoods! (2023)

We live in a time where we have access to so many amazing ingredients and brilliant recipes from around the world. This is especially great for people looking for an alternative source of fat and protein other than meat. And while many of us are already familiar with tofu, and many tofu-based dishes, it's definitely not the only soy-based alternative to meat. Another great option is tempeh, which has been gaining popularity of late.

The question we all want answered, especially vegans looking for multiple sources of protein, is what is it good for and better than tofu? We'll see.

What is Tempe?

Tempeh is a soy-based meat alternative that originated in Indonesia and stayed there until the 1970s. But in recent decades it has made its way into Western cuisine, and it's now quite common to find tempeh in your grocery store. local.

And although the main ingredient in tempeh is good traditional soybeans, that's not the limit. Any bean or grain can be used to modify and enhance the flavor of this product. And some creative masters go a step further, flavoring their tempeh with seaweed, spices, or even vegetables. The sky is the limit.

Protein-rich and powerful, tempeh is incredibly nutrient-dense. You'll find 162 calories and 15 grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving of tempeh. It is high in protein (because it is denser than other soy-based products) and low in carbohydrates.

It's an excellent non-dairy source of calcium, with one cup containing two-thirds of the calcium you'd find in a cup of whole milk.

It also contains probiotics, which are bacteria that are very good for the body. And it contains prebiotics that are great for the digestive system and colon.

tempeh brands

There are several brands in the US, including:

(Video) Tempeh Vs Tofu: What's The Difference Between These Soy Proteins? | Food 101 | Well Done

light life

white wave

turtle island food

You can buy tempeh at most health food and health food stores, as well as places like Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's, and some Target stores.

Does tempeh increase estrogen levels?

We have already established that tempeh is a fantastic source of protein, prebiotics, vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in phytoestrogens, particularly isoflavones, which bind to estrogen receptors in us and can weaken estrogenic or anti-estrogenic activity.

Is Tempeh good for menopause?

Women's health is vital, so it's good to know that the phytoestrogens present in plants have estrogenic (mild) effects on the human body. Studies have shown that it can help protect against osteoporosis and help control weight, increase activity, manage stress, and reduce hot flashes.

What is the difference between tofu and tempeh?

The main difference between tofu and tempeh is in the manufacturing process. Tofu soaks ground soybeans in water, then heats and coagulates with minerals such as magnesium salt. The curd is pressed and the final product is known as tofu. And it comes in many different forms: from firm, steak-like, and super-firm tofu to smooth and creamy tofu, and everything in between.

And what is tempeh made of? Exactly the same, which means it can be eaten as a substitute for tofu. However, tempeh takes already cooked soybeans, which are injected with fungi that ferment the bean mass.It is a process similar to making cheese or yogurt.During this time, the grains form a solid block. The block is now known as tempeh. And unlike tofu, it only comes in one form: a solid block.

(Video) Tofu vs Tempeh / The 3 Things You Need To Know

As you can see, the manufacturing process for the two products is very different. Despite using the same base, the wonderful soy, everything else goes in two completely different directions.

Therefore, it is not surprising that there are several differences between tempeh and tofu when choosing the option for your next meal. So let's cover them one by one!

Tempeh and tofu: to taste

Tofu tastes very similar to soy milk, and by that we mean it's very neutral and easily overpowered by all the spices and sauces you can throw at it. The porous texture of the tofu also helps. It essentially works like a sponge, soaking up everything and acting as a vehicle for flavor.

Fermented tofu is saltier and has a mild sweetness, and its texture resembles a smooth, firm paste.

Do you want to know what tempeh tastes like? Well, tempeh actually gets quite a flavor from its cooking and fermentation processes. The fermented proteins give off umami-like notes of mushrooms and nuts, making it a good alternative to meat when it comes to flavor. And it's unsalted, so feel free to marinate it with soy sauce or even add a bit of MSG to kick up the meaty qualities of the tempeh a bit more.

Tempeh vs Tofu: Nutrition

Tempeh and tofu are made of the same stuff; many might assume that these two products have quite similar nutritional qualities. To the right?

Well, that's only partially true. To see what we have in mind, let's take a look at some of the key nutrition facts for 1 serving (100 grams or 3.5 ounces) of tofu and tempeh:

Tofu (superfesta):

(Video) Tofu vs. Tempeh

  • Calories: 84
  • Protein: 10 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams (1 gram of saturated fat)
  • Carbohydrates: 1.2 grams
  • Potassium: 130 mg
  • Sodium: 4mg
  • Calcium: 22% of the daily norm
  • Iron: 12% of the daily norm


  • Calories: 195
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 11.5 grams (3.5 grams of saturated fat)
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Potassium: 410 mg
  • Sodium: 14mg
  • Calcium: 8% of the daily norm
  • Iron: 12% of the daily norm

As you probably realize, tempeh is much higher in calories than tofu. But that's not a problem: both tofu and tempeh have a pretty similar 2:1 protein-to-fat ratio, are high in potassium and low in sodium.

Additionally, both are fairly low in carbs, making them ideal choices for a low carb keto diet. Although the numbers look different, both are pretty good.

Is tempeh healthy? Absolutely. It has all the qualities of tofu, a highly acclaimed superfood, and goes one step further. The nutrition of tempeh makes it suitable for people who want to eat smart and healthy.

Another frequently asked question is, is tofu vegan?

Yes. The tofu and tempeh are soy products and completely vegan.

Tofu vs. Tempeh: Use in Recipes

In many situations where the tofu needs to be fried, steamed, or heat-treated, you can substitute tempeh for the tofu. Because one thing is very important to observe:

Tempeh cannot be eaten raw.

(Video) Fleischersatz: Tempeh aus bayerischem Soja oder Lupinen - nicht nur für Veganer | Unser Land | BR

Before consumption, tempeh must be heated, which kills the culture and makes the product perfectly safe to eat. Since tofu does not contain a culture, it can be eaten without heating.

And while we're used to eating tofu in all sorts of shapes and sizes, tempeh is much more restricted. Its mushroomy flavor makes it great in stir-fries, sandwiches, and curries, but it's nearly impossible to use in desserts and other sweet dishes.

Of course, it is not only heat treatment and taste that is important, but also the texture.

Tofu comes in a variety of flavors, while tempeh is only known in its distinctive, super-firm form.

Should you choose tempeh or tofu?

Your choice between tempeh and tofu depends entirely on your food preferences. Tempeh is a denser, meatier option that only works when heat treated. It is much more similar to meat than tofu. So if you are looking for a tasty alternative to eat, give it a try!

But tofu still wins when it comes to versatility. It can be eaten both hot and cold, and it comes in different presentations, so it can be used in all kinds of dishes. It doesn't have the same umami flavor that tempeh can provide, but it's still capable of it.

In nutrition, there is not much difference between the two. Both are packed with nutrients and micronutrients and are very healthy alternatives. But there is another difference.

Tempeh is like twice the tofu, twice the fat, twice the protein, and twice the calories. So be sure to plan your tofu and tempeh meals accordingly when counting your calories.

(Video) Tofu vs. Tempeh / Which is Healthier?

In general, you do not have to choose only one or the other. Both are great on their own, and anyone looking for a great meat substitute should expect to have tempeh and tofu in their fridge. Happy eating!


1. Is Soy Dangerous? | Neal Barnard, MD
(Physicians Committee)
2. The Myths Of Soy As A Health Food – Dr. Berg
(Dr. Eric Berg DC)
3. Top 5 Health Benefits of Tempeh
(Live Well)
4. Tempeh Selbermachen | Das BESTE Rezept! 😍 | Schritt für Schritt Anleitung
(Zentrum der Gesundheit)
5. Fermented or Unfermented Soy Foods for Prostate Cancer Prevention
6. Is Soy Amazing & Should You Eat It?
(Simnett Nutrition)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kieth Sipes

Last Updated: 05/21/2023

Views: 5965

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kieth Sipes

Birthday: 2001-04-14

Address: Suite 492 62479 Champlin Loop, South Catrice, MS 57271

Phone: +9663362133320

Job: District Sales Analyst

Hobby: Digital arts, Dance, Ghost hunting, Worldbuilding, Kayaking, Table tennis, 3D printing

Introduction: My name is Kieth Sipes, I am a zany, rich, courageous, powerful, faithful, jolly, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.