• Home
  • Guides
  • Couscous vs Tempeh: What’s The Difference?

Couscous vs Tempeh: What’s The Difference?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between couscous and tempeh, foods from the grains and legumes food groups. Read on to learn more about the couscous vs tempeh comparison.
Catherine Toledo, Journalist

Written by Catherine Toledo, Journalist. Updated on February 14, 2023.

Although couscous and tempeh belong to different food groups, while couscous belong is a grain, and tempeh belong to legumes food group, and it’s not that common to compare foods from different groups, people are often interested in these comparisons as well.

That’s why we decided to create an in-depth article that compares couscous and tempeh, their nutritional values, similarities, differences, macronutrients, and micronutrients – vitamins and minerals.

Generally speaking, foods from grains and legume food groups are both high in carbs and protein and valuable addition to a plant-based diet.

Now, let’s see how couscous and tempeh compare specifically.


Couscous (Couscous) is a type of pasta made from small, round granules of semolina, which is the coarsely ground endosperm of durum wheat.

It is a good source of carbohydrates and small amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals like iron and B vitamins, depending on the ingredients used in the dish’s preparation.

Couscous is a staple food in North Africa and the Middle East and is traditionally served as a side dish or as a base for stews and salads. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest.

Couscous can be enjoyed in various ways. It can be cooked in different sauces, with herbs and spices, and can also be used in salads and soups. It can also be paired with vegetables and lean protein sources such as legumes and in moderate portions.

Couscous is an excellent source of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and some Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).


Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans.

It is a popular ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian dishes due to its high protein and fiber content, as well as its distinctive, nutty flavor.

Tempeh is made by fermenting cooked soybeans with a starter culture, which gives it a firm, cake-like texture, and a unique flavor.

It can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes, including tempeh stir-fries, tempeh sandwiches, and tempeh bacon.

In addition to being a tasty and nutritious food, tempeh has been shown to have a number of potential health benefits.

It is a good source of antioxidants and has been linked to lower levels of cholesterol and improved blood sugar control.

Tempeh is also a good source of several important minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.

Tempeh is an excellent source of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin K.

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B9 (Folate), and Vitamin E.

Couscous vs Tempeh Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing couscous vs tempeh.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of couscous and tempeh and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

Energy376 kcal192 kcal
Carbs77.4 g7.64 g
Sugar0 g7.33 g
Fiber5 g9.3 g
Protein12.8 g20.3 g
Fat0.64 g10.8 g
Saturated Fat0.117 g2.54 g

Couscous vs Tempeh Calories

Most calories in raw grains and legumes come from carbs. Peanuts are an exception here, but they are often considered a nut instead of a legume because of their nutritional profile.

Comparing tempeh vs couscous for weight loss, tempeh is slightly lower in calories, with 192 calories per 100 grams, compared to 376 calories per 100 grams of couscous.

However, both couscous and tempeh can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Couscous vs Tempeh Protein

Legumes and most legume products, including couscous and tempeh, are important sources of plant-based protein.

Tempeh offers around 37% more protein than couscous.

Tempeh has 20.3 grams of protein per 100 grams, while couscous has 12.8 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Couscous vs Tempeh Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in couscous and tempeh.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 90% higher in couscous than in tempeh. It have 77.4 grams per 100 grams, compared to 7.6 grams in tempeh.

There’s less sugar in couscous than in tempeh, 100% precisely.

One handful of couscous (28 grams) contains 0 grams of sugar, while the same amount of tempeh contains 2.1 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in couscous and tempeh.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 2.6 grams of fiber per portion, tempeh is a better source of fiber than couscous which offers 1.4 grams per portion.

Couscous vs Tempeh Fats

Like most other grains and legumes, with the exception of lupins and peanuts, couscous and tempeh are low in fat.

Fats in couscous and tempeh are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in couscous and tempeh:

  • Couscous: 0.6 grams per 100 grams
  • Tempeh: 10.8 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, couscous is 96% lower in saturated fats.

Couscous and tempeh contain 0.1 grams and 2.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Couscous vs Tempeh Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of couscous and tempeh.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Couscous has a higher amount of vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), vitamin B12 (Cobalamin), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

However, tempeh has a higher amount of vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B3 (Niacin), and vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).

Couscous and tempeh contain the same amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D.

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins couscous and tempeh contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

Vitamin A00
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.163 mg0.078 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.078 mg0.358 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)3.49 mg2.64 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)1.24 mg0.278 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.11 mg0.215 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)20 µg24 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00.08 µg
Vitamin E00.85 mg
Vitamin K047 µg

Couscous vs Tempeh Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc or, iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the couscous and tempeh comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Couscous is a better source of calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc than tempeh.

On the other hand, tempeh is a higher amount of selenium, and sodium.

Check out the table below to learn how couscous and tempeh compare when it comes to mineral content.

Calcium24 mg111 mg
Copper0.247 mg0.56 mg
Fluoride02.2 µg
Iron1.08 mg2.7 mg
Magnesium44 mg81 mg
Manganese0.78 mg1.3 mg
Phosphorus170 mg266 mg
Potassium166 mg412 mg
Selenium2.8 µg0
Sodium10 mg9 mg
Zinc0.83 mg1.14 mg

The Final Word

Couscous and tempeh are highly nutritious and a great addition to a plant-based diet.

Both couscous and tempeh are high in specific vitamins and minerals, and including them in your diet will give you the most benefits they offer.

Antioxidants found in grains and legumes can help to protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of certain diseases and the effects of aging.

Additionally, the fiber and other nutrients in these foods can support the health of the digestive system and may even help to prevent certain digestive cancers.

Legumes and grains are a versatile food that can be incorporated into any meal of the day, including breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can be served hot or cold, making them a convenient and tasty addition to a variety of dishes.


Holy Peas has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals, associations and government institutions. Read more about our process.

How we ensure this article is accurate?
  1. It's written and or reviewed by an expert.
  2. We cite relevant studies and trusted sources.
  3. It's regularly updated.

Read more about our process and team.