What s the main difference Between Tofu, Tempeh and Seitan


3 Most Popular Types of Meat Replacements: Tofu, Tempeh and Seitan

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Tofu vs. Tempeh / Which is Healthier?

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Is SEITAN bad for you?!

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Tofu vs Tempeh / The 3 Things You Need To Know

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Tofu Vs. Tempeh Vs. Seitan

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What’s the difference between tofu, tempeh, and seitan?

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Tofu. Also known as bean or soya curd, tofu is a soft, cheese-like food made of condensed soy milk pressed into tight blocks and mixed with nigari. While this product can be rather bland, tofu easily absorbs flavors of other ingredients, such as spices. Tofu has been a staple in Asian countries for more than 2,000 years!

Unlike tofu and tempeh, seitan is derived from wheat gluten. The product is made by washing dough made from wheat flour until all the starch has been removed, resulting in a sticky mass. Seitan (pronounced say-Tan) differs even more from tofu and tempeh because it’s made from wheat gluten as opposed to soy.

A lesser-known vegetarian protein, seitan is made from gluten, the protein in wheat that gives bread its springy texture. (While it is a healthy plant-based option for most people, those with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivities should avoid it.). Seitan. Seitan is very different from tofu and tempeh. Seitan isn’t made from soy beans but from wheat flour and water.

By rinsing the dough with a special technique only the wheat-protein, or the gluten, remains. These gluten are boiled in water or a vegetable broth until a spongy texture is formed with a (depending on the broth) savory taste. Unlike tofu and tempeh, it is not made from soy, so it is an excellent option if you’re trying to avoid or cut down on soy products.

Avoid it all costs if you are following a gluten-free diet though. Seitan is the most similar to the look and consistency of meat. It is brown in color and has a chewy texture. Seitan differs from tempeh and tofu in that it isn’t made from soy.

It’s actually made from wheat, and more specifically gluten. Some even refer to it as “wheat meat.” It’s high in protein as wel. The difference is that tofu and tempeh are easy to find in grocery stores. Seitan on the other hand won’t be called “seitan”, but many mock meats in the vegan/tofu section of stores have meat substitutes that are made from vital wheat gluten (the main requirement of being called seitan). However, most people make their own seitan.

Seitan and tempeh are both loved by vegan athletes, since they are two of the best sources of plant-based protein. They are also both foods that I never heard of before going vegan. Turns out, I was missing out. I’m going to break down the main differences between seitan and tempeh in terms of taste and nutrition, so [ ]. Secondly, there is a vast difference in nutritional value between unfermented and fermented soy.

Thirdly, the industrial processing and ubiquitous genetic modification of American soy plays a huge role. To explore this issue further, let’s compare two popular soy types: tofu (which is unfermented) and tempeh (a fermented, whole food soy product). Tempeh and tofu are processed soy products. Tofu, which is more widespread, is made from coagulated soy milk pressed into solid white blocks.

It’s available in a variety of textures, including.

List of related literature:

Seitan is like tofu, in that it is a formed block

“Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food” by Jeff Potter
from Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food
by Jeff Potter
O’Reilly Media, 2010

The flavor of tempeh ranges from nutty and subtle to smoky and tangy.

“Culinary Nutrition: The Science and Practice of Healthy Cooking” by Jacqueline B. Marcus
from Culinary Nutrition: The Science and Practice of Healthy Cooking
by Jacqueline B. Marcus
Elsevier Science, 2013

Tempeh differs from tofu it has a denser firmer composition, a mushroom-like aroma and is higher in fiber.

“Linda Page's Healthy Healing: A Guide To Self-Healing For Everyone” by Linda Page
from Linda Page’s Healthy Healing: A Guide To Self-Healing For Everyone
by Linda Page
Healthy Healing Publications, 2004

In this book, when I call for seitan, I mean regular,

“The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet” by Alicia Silverstone, Neal D. Barnard, M.D.
from The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet
by Alicia Silverstone, Neal D. Barnard, M.D.
Rodale Books, 2011

Meat substitutes may be made from textured vegetable protein (TVP), soy protein (tofu and tempeh), wheat gluten (seitan), and even fungi (Quorn) among other ingredients.

“The New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great” by Dr. Eric C. Westman, Dr. Stephen D. Phinney, Dr. Jeff S. Volek
from The New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great
by Dr. Eric C. Westman, Dr. Stephen D. Phinney, Dr. Jeff S. Volek
Atria Books, 2010

The difference between the two is that firm tofu is harder than regular tofu.

“Asian Foods: Science and Technology” by Catharina Y.W. Ang, Keshun Liu, Yao-Wen Huang
from Asian Foods: Science and Technology
by Catharina Y.W. Ang, Keshun Liu, Yao-Wen Huang
Taylor & Francis, 1999

Another food you can use as a substitution while transitioning to a whole food, plant­based diet is tofu, which is available in varying consistencies, from very soft to extra firm (for slicing and crumbling).

“The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes” by LeAnne Campbell, T. Colin Campbell, Steven Campbell Disla
from The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes
by LeAnne Campbell, T. Colin Campbell, Steven Campbell Disla
BenBella Books, Incorporated, 2013

These flavor differences are most pronounced when the tofu is served fresh in its least disguised forms, such as Chilled Tofu or Simmering Tofu.

“Tofu & Soymilk Production: A Craft and Technical Manual” by William Shurtleff, Akiko Aoyagi
from Tofu & Soymilk Production: A Craft and Technical Manual
by William Shurtleff, Akiko Aoyagi
Soyfoods Center, 2000

Tempeh differs from tofu it has a denser firmer texture, and is higher in fiber.

“Linda Page's Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-healing for Everyone” by Linda G. Rector-Page
from Linda Page’s Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-healing for Everyone
by Linda G. Rector-Page
Traditional Wisdom, 2000

In its raw state, tempeh has a bland, beany, mushroom‐like flavor.

“Microbiology and Technology of Fermented Foods” by Robert W. Hutkins
from Microbiology and Technology of Fermented Foods
by Robert W. Hutkins
Wiley, 2018

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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  • I can’t explain it but most of the time I criticized unknown bloggers or YouTuber’s but as soon as I saw you I liked you and I can’t explain it so congratulations keep it up

  • im not vegan nor vegetarian. But tempeh is in the top of my menu and tofu is the second. So if you dont like tempeh.. maybe you tried the wrong tempeh.. just search the real one

  • Just had Tempeh for the first time tonight and anyone who knows me knows I will eat anything but I couldn’t eat it, it’s awful, just my opinion, yuk….

  • I’m probably going to sound dumb. But….. how do you tell if the tempeh is good. Everytime I go to the store and look they date are all good but when I look at the tempeh it looks moldy. Is this normal? The ones that are at the stores near me are the same brand you got in this video. Thank you for any suggestions.

  • Seitan is not a fairly new product. It’s been eaten in China, Japan, Korea, Russia and the Middle East for thousands of years. The word seitan is of Japanese origin and was coined in 1961 by George Ohsawa, a Japanese advocate of the macrobiotic diet, to refer to a wheat gluten product created by Ohsawa’s student Kiyoshi Mokutani.

  • I hope you try tempeh made with leave banana, the taste is deferend than tempeh made with plastic. If you visit indonesia tempeh in there is the best.

  • Various Types of Tempeh:
    Soy Tempeh (The most popular type of tempeh)
    Green Beans or Red Beans Tempeh
    Rubber Seeds Tempeh
    Cassava Leafs Tempeh
    Tempeh Gembus (Tempeh gembus is tempeh that comes from tofu waste with a savory taste and soft texture).
    Tempeh Menjes (Peanuts Tempeh)
    Lupine Seeds Tempeh

  • I have been eating seitan since I was little….you have to wash it until the water is clear….the water of the first washed in heat up and use it as glue for my art and craft.

  • My Italian grandmother said that they used to use this as a meat substitute 100 years ago because no one ate meat the way they do now or could afford it. She used to make it as chicken Parmesan. Absolutely fantastic

  • hey can u do a video on what u eat in a day? I am new to this life style and trying to figure out whst to eat. thanks for the information.

  • I just had some chicken Seitan from a grocery store and it was great. Meat flavor without hurting an innocent animal. I love it.

  • Sorry, I didn’t like this video because as a vegan of 30+ years, I found a lot of errors in your analogy between the two. First, you say tofu isn’t fermented but, in actuality it is. The soymilk is cooled to a certain temperature before it’s lixed with Nigari, or Lemon Juice, etc. The ferment is a short ferment but it’s still a ferment.

    Second, your video almost sounds like you are siding with Weston Price and this is a very slippery slope. Asians have been eating tofu for thousands of years. Tempeh came from the Phillippines where the weather is very hot and the process of making tempeh was stumbled onto as many great finds are. My point is, Asians have been eating tofu for thousands of years. Many Japanese eat tofu three times a day. But the one thing they do, that we don’t, is to always good their tofu with some kombu or iodine rich seaweed. This is because soy, even tempeh, requires iodine for proper absorption. If we don’t have enough iodine in our system, soy can stress out the thryroid looking for it. This is where excess iodine is stored.

    Anyway, maybe next time you will ponder more on what you say before you say it. Colleen Patrick Goudreau has a great video on soy and Mark Messina, PhD has two amazing videos on so and I believe he eloquently touches the fermented vs the whole, and mildly processed tempeh. And, for the record, making tempeh requires more work because we have to dehull the soybeans before we ever mold them. The hulls make or s strange flavor and you have two or three pople who purchased products but they basically did nothing when it came iimt to vote.

  • Great video. I love both options but now realize tempeh is the less processed of the two. Would love to see another video on soy and how often we can eat it each week and hidden soy in products.

  • I’m so glad I found your videos! Starting a year of nutrition health. Starting with probiotics. Next fish oil. Going to buy Tempeh today and trying one of your recipes. Thanks!

  • If tempeh is too strong of flavor, steaming it or simmering it in broth or water plumps it up and takes out some of that bitterness, as well as making it easier to digest. That’s what I’ve read anyway.

  • About GMOs… techincally everything we eat has been genetically modified… through selected breeding.
    Wild cucumbers for example are poisonous in it untampered state. carrots and eggplants are suppose to be white… ect.

  • Yes actually I’d love to read it. I’ve used soft tofu on my salads & tried to bake it as well, and also tempeh. I prefer the texture of Tempeh over tofu, but haven’t eaten any in a long time. So if I do get back into cooking it etc. it’d be good to know first hand from people who know what they’re talking about what i’m putting in my body…
    sounds scary the way you explain it so yeah lol… I do believe my PM is open to anyone..

  • It looks like whatever brand of tofu you picked up it’s the same brand that probably makes it for Trader Joe’s, which is my favorite the extra firm high protein. I also like the fact it’s not in a plastic tray. You don’t even need to press out any water, but you have to keep it in water if you don’t use it all up. My father made me my first tempeh dish back in the 80s, and although I found it a little weird, I loved it, and I’ve been eating it ever since.

  • Best vegan meat substitute is Oyster Mushrooms Cluster. It tastes just like chicken when you use BBQ sauce and so on. You need to press it down in the pan with some weight on top till the water comes out, brown a bit seasoned and then throw it inside the oven with your favorite sauce. It’s delicious.

  • I really wish seitan wasn’t called seitan: / There’s just more easy ways for people to find judgment. People give me the weirdest look, as if I just called on the dead and summoned satans demons from hell, with just one word.

  • How does Seitan work in the way of nutrition, if it is a by product of Wheat? Or is it the main healthy part of wheat that is lost when people use flour? I’ll have to research this more, but now I wonder how many vegetarian foods I buy like Vegan Meatballs…are made with seitan? Interesting, I am new to all of this:-) I never knew the impact of meat on the body, or for the planet. I wish I knew this decades ago I would have lived a far different life. But people just had no clue and my parents certainly didn’t pass any info down to me either.

  • Some people say seitan isn’t good for you, but there is really no good research to show it’s disease promoting. I usually eat seitan in places of processed meats like sausage or bacon. And as science has proven processed meats ARE disease promoting, they are a schedule 1 carcinogen. Not to mention processed meats are usually high in saturated fat, unlike seitan meat alternatives. Seitan sausage or bacon may not be “health food,” but it’s surely healthier than processed meat.

  • i wanna know how they made that seitan, it has a great texture, i really tried cooking seitan like that, but i never have that result, plz someone tell me:(

  • I’ve never understood what’s wrong with GMO foods. And you’ve not convinced me either.
    But thanks for the rest of the video, very informative:)

  • I never had this and actually learned of it today. I’m glad to have watched this video so I can do better with my choices in meat replacements.

  • GMO controlled by big Ag is bad for you, they don’t care about the safety of the food, they are concerned about profits. No surprise many countries won’t buy any food from USA!

  • ive used tofu a lot and the store bought vegetarian box meats like boca and Morningstar farms but I think I am going to go with sietan and save money making the “meat” and wont be tempted this time to go back to meats due to costs

  • Nice video, but please knock off the vague fear mongering about GMOs. The genetic modifications made to soy via genetic engineering are much less extensive and much more thoroughly understood than those that have been made through selective breeding. There is no evidence that GMO soy is dangerous, and there is not even a proposed mechanism that would justify such a concern.

  • Non-fermented soy products such as tofu have been shown to have antinutritional effects and are considered toxic. Stick with the tempeh, it will taste better anyway and eat all the seitan you like.

  • Silken tofu for making chocolate mousse, firm frozen-defrosted for air frying, bbq and other savory cooking �� Never saw “extra firm” here in Denmark, so always wonder if our firm translates to firm or extra firm… But at least the firm tofu here can be bought in a glass jar, to reduce single use plastic waste.
    Cannot find tempeh in the supermarket here, probably need to go online for that. Is it stored cool?
    Thank you for a good video! ��

  • Actually Wheat gluten has been documented in China since the 6th century. It was widely consumed by the Chinese as a substitute for meat, especially among adherents of Buddhism.

  • Honest question, but what is the problem with GMO products? Just because something has been modified doesn’t necesarrily mean it’s bad. The only problem with i’ve discovered woth GMO soy, is that it turns it into an obnoxious weed which is the hard to get rid off causing invade other crops

  • I dont think they are bad for you actually. I think its more a case of, which is better for you. not which is worse. but I wouldnt know, you can probably just google it and it will give many results.

  • herp derp GMO….you mean like every food we eat….even those labelled as non GMO are ha ha ha, selective processing and using of food and breeding modifies the gene that food contains, go ahead eat corn from the Sumerian age guess what you can’t cause it doesn’t exist, and if it did wouldn’t be palatable. OMG scientists are doing the same thing we’ve done for millenia just on a faster timeline….it can also help solve world hunger….OMG NO!!!!

  • I was about to give you a thumbs up when you blurted out that nonsense about GMO being bad, and I decided to give you a thumbs down instead. GMO is saving lives worldwide making it possible to grow crops where people would be starving otherwise, and there is no scientific research showing it hurts anybody.

  • If you really care about the food you eat, you should stop choosing between tofu and tempeh and make your food instead of buying from proceed food stores.

  • Hey, I’d just like to say I thought your video was quite informative until you started talking about GMOs.

    If you’re going to paint something like that in a bad light please back it up with evidence not just “because it’s not natural” otherwise all you’re doing is scaring people away from things for no good reason.

    This sort of “it’s not natural therefore it’s bad” is the sort of reasoning that stops parents from vaccinating their children.

  • Soy and soy products like tempeh natto soy milk and tofu are great nutricious powerhouses and there is NOTHING wrong with them.People are eating them for centuries.Just stay away from gmo sources.Also the gmo sources nearly all of them are being used for food at the factory farmed animals.So the truth is that if you buy soy even if it’s not organic the most possible scenario is that it’s ok.

  • I’ve heard soy and gluten are bad for you. I’m a new vegan. & I’ve jus stuck to bean & but meats. Any1 kno which is worse. Soy or gluten???

  • Go with tempeh, tofu is not fermented which is bad, tempeh is fermented which is good, i still drink soy milk but from time to time so dont over do it on the soy unless fermented. Also make sure its organic or at least non GMO. You dont want that stuff in you trust me.:)

  • wow thanks for the links. a couple of those links have expired articles i think they took them down, and 1 just didn’t work. but I think more than 1/2 worked. saved & will read. THANKS!! =)

  • The correct original name is a Tempe without “H”… Not Tempeh…��…
    Nutrition fact Tempe have more nutrition compare than Tofu…thanks for the video it is a great explanation

  • I hear that Seitan is wheat gluten but I hear gluten is not good for you. Is Seitan bad for you? Is it fattening as I want to diet? Let me know.

  • GMO is scientifically safe. Even if you’re afraid & buy into junk science, most of the GMO soy is fed to non human animals (consumed by omni’s & vegetarians), or is incorporated into omni foods (via junk food). I’ve never come across GMO tofu, tempeh, or edamame. But, again, GMO is safe & we need to shift away from baseless fear.

  • I really want to try seitan now!
    I’ve wanted to be vegetarian for a long time now but I’m severely allergic to most legumes, including soy. I didn’t know that you could get wheat protein! This changes everything!!

  • Good points and good video overall.
    Now, believing that we can STILL these days find nonGMO or trully organic soy products, is a nice fantasy… ask monsanto.

  • Where did you get the protein figure from (24g protein per 100g)? I buy the seitan powder in 5kg bulk and it shows 100g is 75g of protein, as well as when you google 100g seitan.

  • So seitan is basically gluten…and tofu does absorb flavors. It just depends on how it is prepared and the time given. Love all these three foods and they are actually very different in taste and texture. Tempeh is especially nice when dried, cut up and deep fried till crispy or grilled, accompanied by a sauce. Mmmm…

  • We have tofu as well in indonesia but the version is yellow tofu and brown tofu/’sumedang’ tofu which is region in indonesia. Fyi sundanese/west java region people are usually adding veggies for the side dish for every meal i’m sundanese too

  • why would soy be bad for you? it’s just soy BEANS right? which are packed full of protein & fiber… which is great for you…
    what sources are you seeing/reading that says soy is bad for you?

  • Omg I liked the video up until you said it’s not natural! There’s no chemicals in them you just wash the wheat dough and what left is gluten which is called seitan!

  • Thank you so much,
    your information was very helpful,exactly what you talked about,were some of my concers and questions.Do you have any information on how soy beans are processed,I heard somehow aluminum is used..? is it a real natural bean?

  • This guy has not learned his science. If this guy did learn his science, he would not be fearing the GMO’s. It’s that easy and serious.

  • actually tofu is considered a fermented product and I make it at home weekly. Yes, it’s made from soy milk and an agitator of some kind like vinegar, lemon juice, nigari, etc. Then it’s stirred curdles and whey are formed  but the whey in this instance is vegan. The curdles are ladled into the mold and then it is allowed to harden and take shape. It is during this time it is actually fermenting even though it’s a short ferment.

    Also, I heard you make another innacurate comment about tofu. Tofu is actually very good at absorbing flavors the but secret is that it must be pressed well. Once pressed it acts like a sponge and will soak up anything it is surrounded by. It can be marinated, sauteed, fried, etc.

    Oh, and for those who think they are allergic to soy I have news for you. Chances are very high you aren’t. Doctors do not know what to look for when it comes to vegans so they immediately label soy as the bad guy. It’s not. Soy, like every other bean, required iodine for proper absorption. Now, if you’re eating soy and you don’t have enough iodine your body will create a false positive of a soy allergy. This is because without iodine our bodies have trouble digesting it. This is where the Asian people are smarter then us. They almost always cook soy with some form of kelp, kombu, or other type of seaweed. All are high in iodine. By doing this they promote the digestion of tofu because they have introduced iodine directly into the food. So, you have two options. Take an iodine supplement or add a small bit of seaweed to your tofu. Oh, and buy your seaweed from a small, sustainable company that only takes what they need and doesn’t rob the sea of all the seaweed.

  • Great video! I was initially intimidated by both. I now feel comfortable cooking with firm tofu but I only tried tempeh once and it was pretty weird. I didn’t realized tofu was that processed though so I’m going to give tempeh another try. I would love a video on just soy products and what it is in!

  • There you go, you said Japanese which they had thousands of years for there bodies to get accustom to it. Now that being said soy has no place in a black person diet! Carbon base people need carbon base food!

  • don’t u think some ppl need meat? I tried being vegan for 3 yrs and now my hair is thinning and some other issues. I started adding eggs and seafood back in my diet to see if that will the resolve the issues

  • really concise and informative. I absolutely love tempeh one of my main sources of protein for a really long time. I rarely eat tofu.

  • Seitan is actually not new to human diet. I am Chinese and people here have been eating this since hundrends years, ( we have even some fermented ones that has a better texture and more delicious) for people who doesnt have intolerance i think its fine to eat and a good source for protein.

  • here’s the thing though, many many many plant foods contain phytoestrogen (isoflavones etc)…many of them. if people avoid soy, it shouldn’t be because of the phytoestrogens (which has been shown to be health promoting). they should avoid soy because of the gmo issue. if you’re going to eat soy, eat organic (particularly the tempeh like you said), and don’t go crazy with it.

  • Tempeh is so easy to make and it’s quite expensive in the US. Cheaper and tastier(people who say there’s is bitter?) to make large batches and freeze

  • you need to discover unripe jackfruit, it is the best by far. You can make bbq pulled “pork”, carnitas for tacos and tamales, “chicken” salad for sandwiches. Much better than soy and wheat!