Tofu, Seitan, and Tempeh

Are you looking for a nutritious way to substitute meat in your meals? Find out everything you need to know about tofu, seitan, and tempeh.
Tofu, Seitan, and Tempeh

Last update: 02 February, 2019

Have you ever heard of tofu, seitan, and tempeh? They’re the foods that act as meat substitutes for those who are vegan or vegetarian. In this article, we’ll explain the differences between tofu, seitan, and tempeh.


This food is also known as bean curd and has a mild flavor similar to that of cheese. However, the difference is that it’s made from condensed soy milk.

Tofu is pressed in blocks and then mixed with magnesium chloride. What’s more, it absorbs the flavors from spices and other ingredients in any dish.

Tofu seitan and tempeh

Another great fact about tofu is that it’s very versatile. Indeed, cooks use it in a variety of dishes to make vegan and vegetarian versions of cakes, desserts, smoothies, and cheeses. As such, it has been an important staple in many Asian countries for over 2,000 years.

The following article offers a few simple tofu recipes for you to try at home.


Seitan is also known as wheat gluten and first appeared in Asian cuisine in the 6th century. Since then, people have used it as a meat substitute.

At first, people made this product by rinsing wheat dough in order to remove the starch. The end result was a protein-rich food, (up to 60 grams per cup). What’s more, people realized that it was a perfect meat alternative.

Seitan dish with turmeric

Today, you can buy ready-made seitan in most supermarkets to create different vegetable meats.

You can also buy wheat gluten in most natural food stores. It comes as a powder and you can easily transform it into dense, flavorful “meat” to add to your recipes. Seitan takes on the flavors of a dish’s condiments. In addition, it has no cholesterol and is low in carbohydrates. And, even better, it’s very cheap!

Below, we’ll tell you how to make a delicious pasta recipe using seitan:

  1. Firstly, cook the pasta for about ten minutes.
  2. Then, chop the seitan into slices.
  3. Brown the fillets in a pan over medium heat and once they’re in place, put them aside.
  4. Then, cook wine with pepper for a few minutes in the pan.
  5. Once the wine evaporates, remove from heat.
  6. Then, add different spices to add flavor, and stir everything until you get a uniform sauce.
  7. Finally, fry the seitan slices for another five minutes and remove from heat; add it to the pasta and stir. And now, enjoy your meal!


Tempeh is a staple from Indonesia. It’s soy that’s left to ferment in banana leaves until a firm and compact cake is formed. People have used it as a meat substitute since the 12th century, meaning it appeared later than seitan.

What’s more, tempeh contains 31 grams of protein per cup. As such, it has more fiber and protein than tofu. It has a mild, nutty flavor, so it works very well in different recipes.

Here’s a recipe for grains and tempeh:

  • Firstly, cook the grains and the tempeh separately. Then, cut the tempeh into pieces so that it’s easier to crush and mix it with the grains. Once cut into pieces, boil it with with a spoonful of soy sauce and kombu seaweed for about 10 minutes.
  • Then, boil the grains with a little salt for about 10 minutes.
  • While the ingredients boil, stir fry the onion and carrot that you’ll be adding to the dough.
  • Once the tempeh and the cereals have cooked, drain them, removing as much water as possible. The patties shouldn’t be too soft; this will make them easier to prepare.
  • Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and add two tablespoons of oregano for more flavor. Knead until the dough is firm and uniform, to form balls of about 130 grams and shape them into patties.
  • Finally, brown the patties on each side in a pan with a little oil.

Tofu, seitan, and tempeh: conclusion

As you can see, there are different foods you can use to substitute meat for vegan or vegetarian dishes. In this article, we took a quick look at tofu, seitan, and tempeh. Indeed, each one has something unique to contribute to a variety of dishes. Which recipe will you try?


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.