• June 15, 2022

What’s the difference between Tofu, Tempeh and Seitan?

As the plant based diet has sky rocketed in popularity in the last 10 years it can be hard to navigate all these new terms and proteins.  

So we are here to answer to all important question… What is the difference between tofu, tempeh and seitan? 

What is Tofu? 

Tofu is a protein source made from soy beans. The process of making tofu is very similar to making cheese. Once you have the soy milk you add a coagulant which gives you curds and whey. You then press the curds to create tofu. At The Tofoo Co our tofu is super-duper firm as we pressss it extra hard. This means that the texture is sturdier than other tofu’s, which can sometimes be a bit soggy. 

As well as creating the texture, pressing tofu allows it to soak up any new flavours like a sponge (which is why marinated tofu is always so tasty!). Tofu is very versatile and can be used in a wide variety of dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our website is full of tons of yummy recipes.  

What is Tempeh? 

Tempeh is like tofu that’s been hitting the gym – hard. Like tofu, tempeh is still made from soy but the whole bean is used in a fermentation process. Using the whole bean gives tempeh it’s chunkier texture which holds its shape better, making it ideal for crispy cubes or ‘bacon’ rashers. The fermentation process gives it a slight nutty, earthy taste compared to the more neutral tasting, softer tofu and makes it great for gut health!  

The whole method of making tempeh is much slower than tofu- as after the initial bean soak the actual fermentation can take up to a couple of days (compared to tofu which can after soaking can be ready to rumble in a matter of hours).  

Both tempeh and tofu are highly nutritious and an AMAZING addition to any meal. Tempeh has a higher protein content than tofu (over 40g of protein per pack!) and is higher in fibre (since the whole bean is used). Whereas Tofu is slightly lower in calories and fat.   

Tofu vs Tempeh?

Tofu and tempeh are both super versatile ingredients and will work very similar way (just expect tempeh to have that firmer bite!). Tempeh can be fried, baked, sliced added to curries, stir fry’s and more. There’s no limit to the amount of flavour that can be packed in through processes such as marinating.   

Tofu is softer so can be blended and scrambled as an alternative to egg, for example. Whereas Tempeh crumbled would be more of an alternative to mince as the firmer consistency means it is more likely to retain its shape and texture in stews and sauces. Think tempeh tacos or tempeh chilli! Tempeh also can be made into some top-notch tempeh bacon. *drooling*  

Tempeh has also been described as a closer alternative to meat than tofu because of its taste and texture. So is a great starting point if you’re dipping your toes into meat-free.   

What is Seitan? 

Seitan is a protein made from vital wheat gluten which is a high gluten flour that creates a similar texture to meat. This is the closest in texture of the 3 to actual meat and is also the highest in protein with 75g of protein per 100g (compared to 25g per 100g of steak) – who says veggies can’t get their protein?! You can make seitan at home or buy it in the shops. You can buy seitan is all different forms. Mock Chicken, Sausage, burgers etc!

We think that all 3 protein sources have a place in your fridge! They are all very very yummy.