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You Ask, I Answer: Tempeh vs. Tofu

Posted Jan 19 2010 10:01pm

Sliced_tempehIn some of your posts, you have mentioned that tempeh (pictured, left) is more nutritious than tofu.

Is that just because tempeh is fermented, or are there more reasons?

– Sarah Bertanke
(Location withheld)

While tempeh’s fermentation process certainly gives it a nutritional (and probiotic!) boost, there is more to this tale.

FYI: Fermentation reduces soybeans’ phytate content, thereby making their zinc and iron much more bioavailable.

Whereas tofu is made by coagulating soy milk with a precipitating agent (in most cases calcium sulfate, thus the high amounts of calcium in tofu), tempeh is made from whole soybeans.

The presence of said soybeans — in some cases along with wild rice or flax — makes tempeh a high-fiber food.

While four ounces of tofu provides 1.5 grams of fiber, that same amount of tempeh adds up to 11 grams!

Due to its “whole food” status, tempeh is also an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, and potassium.

Tempeh is also significantly higher in protein and omega-3 Alpha-Linolenic fatty acids than tofu.

Although I enjoy the taste of both, I am partial to tempeh’s nutty flavors and unique mouth-feel.

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