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What’s the Difference Between Plant Proteins Tofu, Tempeh, and Seitan?

 
Before plant-based burgers and sausages became popular, tofu, tempeh, and seitan were the main “meaty” plant proteins that vegetarians went for. All three are good sources of protein, but are very different.
 
Here is what you need to know about each of them.

Tofu is made from soybeans that have been processed into milk and then into blocks. It may be the most easy to find of the vegetarian proteins, and is sold in different textures for cooking.
Firm varieties are best to saute, roast, and grill. Silken is good to blend into smoothies or soups. Plain tasting on its own, tofu soaks up the flavor of what you cook it with.

Tempeh is made from whole, fermented soybeans. With use of the whole beans, it has more texture. The flavor is more earthy, similar to mushrooms.
Tempeh can be crumbled and used as a ground meat substitute, cubed and tossed into a stir-fry, or even marinated and seared in strips to make veggie bacon.

Seitan is made from wheat gluten. It does not contain soy. It has a dense, slightly spongy texture that makes a great meat substitute.
It can be used in fajitas or stir-fry.
 
Research shows these meat substitutes can be healthy additions to most people’s diets.
 
 
Quick Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry
Servings: 4
 
Ingredients:
 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
1 garlic, finely chopped
1 small red chili, finely chopped
8 ounces firm tofu, cut into cubes
5 – 6 green beans, cut into half lengthwise
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup zucchini, cut into cubes
1/2 cup yellow squash, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon honey, optional
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
 
Preparation:
  
1. To a large pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and swirl to coat.
Add ginger, garlic, and red chili. Stir-fry till aromatic and garlic turns light brown in color.
2. Add the tofu cubes and cook for 1 – 2 minute on each side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
3. Add veggies one by one and stir-fry on high heat. Cook for 5 -7 minutes, stirring the skillet. When the vegetables have some color and have softened a bit, add the soy sauce, salt, pepper and stir. Then add the tofu and stir to coat.
Cook the mixture for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. When veggies are softened, remove from heat. Drizzle honey, mix gently and sprinkle sesame seeds before serving.
 
 
Serving Size: 1/4 recipe

Nutrition Information per Serving: 137 calories, 9 grams total fat, 1.3 grams of saturated fat, 6.7 grams carbohydrate, 2.4 grams fiber, 9.8 grams protein, 31 milligrams sodium, 249 milligrams potassium, 2.4 grams sugar
 
 
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