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Beginner’s Guide to Plant-Based Protein: Tofu & Tempeh

An increasing source of commonly consumed plant-based protein is tofu and tempeh. It definitely is a highly nutritious food that ought to be included in one’s diet. Even, for a hard-core vegetarian, tofu and tempeh can prove to be a rich and good source of protein, in comparison to meat.

Although tofu and tempeh are both soy-based food and offer almost the same sort of nutrition, their differences lie in their appearance, taste and nutrient count.

In this blog, we shall reconnoitre the similarities and differences between tofu and tempeh. To begin with, first of all, let us know what are these foods?

So, what are tofu and tempeh?

Tofu and tempeh are processed versions of soy. Tofu, which is more commonly used worldwide is made by the coagulation of soy milk, which is further pressed into white cubicle blocks. The texture of tofu might differ from hard, soft or silken. Tofu’s taste is neutral, and it has the quality to absorb the flavours of the spices in the food while cooking.

Tempeh, on the other hand, is produced from soybeans that are vigorously fermented and then shaped into solid square cakes, that are firm and thick in consistency. Specific varieties of tempeh might comprise brown rice, flax seeds, quinoa and various spices. The texture of tempeh is rather, chewy and it also contains a nutty and earthy flavour.

Both tofu and tempeh, make a wonderful replacement for meat and can be cooked in multiple ways.

Let us now look at the nutritional values of tofu and tempeh in detail.

Nutritional values 

The nutrition offered by both tofu and tempeh is vivid. A nominal measurement of 85 grams (3 ounces) of a serving of either tofu or tempeh, or both contains the following nutritional values:

Nutrients Tofu Tempeh
Calories 80 grams 140 grams
Carbohydrates 2 grams 10 grams
Calcium 15% 6%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 mg
Fiber 2 grams 7 grams
Fat 5 grams 5 grams
Iron 8% 10%
Protein 8 grams 16 grams
Potassium 4% 8%
Sodium 10 mg 10 mg


Although the nutritional values are similar in a few contents, there are some differences too between the tofu and tempeh.

Now, because tempeh is generally produced with the ingredients like nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes, the calories, fiber content and protein count are significantly higher in comparison to tofu. 3 ounces, i.e. 85 grams of tempeh, is enough to provide 7 grams of fiber, which is equivalent to 28% of the daily value required in our body.

Tofu, on the other hand, has low protein content and a lesser number of calories. But it offers notable amounts of potassium and iron. The count of calcium is also twice higher as that of tempeh.

Lastly, both tofu and tempeh are low in the count of sodium and are equally free from cholesterol.

Main similarities between tofu and tempeh

Similar to the nutritional resemblances between tofu and tempeh, both, more or less provide health benefits, likewise. Some of the common health benefits between tofu and tempeh are as follows:

Rich in phytoestrogens known as isoflavones

Both tofu and tempeh are rich in phytoestrogens known as isoflavones. Isoflavones are typical plant compounds that replicate the chemical structure and results of estrogen. Estrogen is a hormone, that leads to the alleviation of sexual and reproductive health and wellness.

Even for that matter, reduced risk of cancer of certain types and better heart health is also contributed by the content of isoflavones present in tofu and tempeh.

Tofu provides an approximate value of 17 to 21 mg of isoflavones in 85 grams (3 ounces) of a serving, whereas, tempeh offers 10 to 38 mg of isoflavones in 85 grams (3 ounces) of a serving size. However, with tempeh, the count is also determined by the quality of soybeans used to make tempeh.

Might make your heart, diseases free

It is thoroughly believed by scientists that increasing the consumption of soy protein in our daily food, might significantly lower the risks of heart-related ailments. This is because of the effects of soy protein present both in tofu and tempeh. The protein decreases triglyceride and cholesterol levels at a fast pace.

Now let’s look at the main differences between tofu and tempeh.

Differences between tofu and tempeh

The main difference between tofu and tempeh is that tempeh is effective in providing advantageous prebiotics.

These prebiotics are nothing, but natural, non-digestible fibers that propagate the growth of healthy bacteria in the human gut to facilitate smooth and regular bowel movements, reduce inflammation, lower the levels of bad cholesterol and improve the functioning of the brain.

Tempeh has a higher content of this prebiotics, owing to the high content of fiber present in it. Studies revealed that tempeh particularly helped in the stimulation of a type of beneficial gut bacteria, known as Bifidobacterium.


Undoubtedly, both tofu and tempeh are nutrients rich soy foods, rich in isoflavones. However, tempeh stands out in the league, owing to the content of prebiotics present in it and tofu is rich in calcium. Moreover, the earthy flavour of tempeh, outcasts the neutral taste of tofu. No matter what you choose to eat, both tofu and tempeh are great sources of increasing the intake of isoflavones in your body for promoting better health and safety against diseases.

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1 comment on “Beginner’s Guide to Plant-Based Protein: Tofu & Tempeh

  1. How do we get tempeh here?

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