Do you know what is tempeh? And, how is it different from tofu? Tempeh is prepared from soybeans that have been fermented and converted into a firm and thick cake like structure. Some types of tempeh also contain quinoa, brown rice, flax seeds, and spices. Tempeh is chewy and gives a nutty taste, while tofu is more neutral and mimicks with various flavours and spices very easily in foods. Both the products are mostly consumed as a nutritious meat alternative and can be cooked in many ways easily at home. On the other hand, tofu is processed soybean curd. Tofu and tempeh are both common sources of plant-based protein. Even if you are a vegetarian or not, they can be healthy additions in your diet.
Tofu can be both soft and firm, and is white in colour. Tofu looks very similar to paneer and is usually used as its substitute. People who are lactose intolerant can eat tofu as it is made up of condensed soy milk that is pressed into solid white blocks. The process is just like that of cheese making. Moreover, tofu is even known as bean curd. Some people try to include tofu in their diet some way or the other, while some think it has less health benefits as compared to paneer. To clear the air about tofu and tempeh, Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dietician Arushi Gupta, Associate Dietician, Dayanand Medical College and hospital, Ludhiana, about the health benefits, side effects, nutrition and ways to consume tempeh and tofu.
Nutritional value of Tempeh and Tofu
Tofu and tempeh both can be substitutes for the vegetarians and vegans for chicken and eggs. There is a good amount of protein present in both of them. Along with protein, these are also rich sources of calcium. There is a huge difference between the nutritional value of tempeh and tofu. As per Dt. Arushi, here are the nutritional facts of 85 grams of tempeh and tofu:
Calories 140 80
Protein 16 g 8g
Carbs 10 g 2g
Fiber 7 g 2g
Health benefits of tofu and tempeh
Both of these soy processed foods tempeh and tofu offer a wide range of similar health benefits but they are quite different in appearance, flavor, and nutritional values. As per Dt. Arushi, here are the health benefits of tofu and tempeh:
- Prevents heart disease
- Regulates kidney function
- Good source of protein
- Increases fiber intake
- Boosts gut health
- Rich in vitamins and minerals
Risks of tofu
Tempeh and tofu both are soy processed products. Therefore, overconsuming can lead to some side effects as well. According to Dt. Arushi, here are the risks of too much tofu:
- Excessive soy intake
- Allergic reactions
- Harmful for thyroid and uric acid patients
Risks of tempeh
There are not many health risks of consuming tempeh. But, these are the side effects that you should know about:
- Can be bitter
- Not gluten free
Ways to consume tempeh and tofu
According to Dietician Arushi, here are the ways to consume both tempeh and tofu healthily:
Tempeh and tofu can be cooked and used in various salads. You can marinate tempeh and tofu prices with mustard sauce and olive oil and pan fry them. You can also try grilling for a less fatty alternative. One can also use tempeh bacon or vegan bacon and just toss them with green veggies like lettuce, capsicum and kale ( you can also add cucumbers for added freshness) along with some vinegar and enjoy your protein packed vegetarian salad.
You can use tempeh bacon along with cheese to make simple grilled sandwiches. Tempeh mimicks meat very nicely, hence it can be used to make vegan barbecue sandwiches. It can also be minced and cooked along with green onions and then used as a sandwich filling along with vegetables. You can experiment with a lot of flavours to make a variety of sandwiches. Tofu mimicks cottage cheese very well so it can be used as its substitute.
3. Stuffed vegetables
You can crumble tempeh or tofu and cook them with some cream ( coconut milk for vegan alternative) and stuff them in vegetables like zucchini, tomato, capsicum and even potatoes. They can also be used in traditional Indian gravies in the same way as we cook cottage cheese.
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