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Firm Tofu vs Tempeh: How Do They Compare?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between firm tofu and tempeh, foods from the legumes and legume product group. Read on to learn more about the firm tofu vs tempeh comparison.
Esther Bumpus, Health Writer

Written by Esther Bumpus, Health Writer. Updated on January 9, 2023.

Firm Tofu and tempeh belong to the legumes and legume products food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Legumes and most legume products are an affordable source of plant protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

This article will thoroughly compare firm tofu and tempeh and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.

Firm Tofu

Firm tofu, also known as regular tofu or Chinese-style tofu, is a type of tofu with a firmer, more dense texture than soft or regular tofu.

It is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the curds into blocks, with the addition of weight or pressure to remove excess moisture.

Firm tofu has a pale, beige color and a slightly nutty flavor, and is a popular ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian dishes.

It can be used in a variety of dishes, including stir-fries, soups, and sandwiches, and can also be grilled, fried, or baked.

In addition to being a tasty and versatile food, firm tofu is a good source of protein, fiber, and several important nutrients, including iron, potassium, and B vitamins.

It has been shown to have a number of potential health benefits, including lower cholesterol levels and improved blood sugar control.

Firm Tofu is not an excellent source of any particular vitamin.

However, it contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and some Vitamin A, 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.

Firm Tofu 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 firm tofu vs tempeh.

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

Firm TofuTempeh
Energy144 kcal192 kcal
Carbs2.78 g7.64 g
Sugar0.7 g7.33 g
Fiber2.3 g9.3 g
Protein17.3 g20.3 g
Fat8.72 g10.8 g
Saturated Fat1.26 g2.54 g

Firm Tofu vs Tempeh Calories

Most calories in raw 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 firm tofu vs tempeh for weight loss, firm tofu is slightly lower in calories, with 144 calories per 100 grams, compared to 192 calories per 100 grams of tempeh.

However, both firm tofu 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.

Firm Tofu vs Tempeh Protein

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

Tempeh offers around 15% more protein than firm tofu.

Tempeh has 20.3 grams of protein per 100 grams, while firm tofu has 17.3 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Firm Tofu 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 firm tofu and tempeh.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 63% higher in tempeh than in firm tofu. It have 7.6 grams per 100 grams, compared to 2.8 grams in firm tofu.


There’s less sugar in firm tofu than in tempeh, 90% precisely.

One handful of firm tofu (28 grams) contains 0.2 grams of sugar, while the same amount of tempeh contains 2.1 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in firm tofu 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 firm tofu which offers 0.6 grams per portion.

Firm Tofu vs Tempeh Fats

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

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

Total fat in firm tofu and tempeh:

  • Firm Tofu: 8.7 grams per 100 grams
  • Tempeh: 10.8 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, firm tofu is 48% lower in saturated fats.

Firm Tofu and tempeh contain 1.3 grams and 2.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Firm Tofu vs Tempeh Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of firm tofu and tempeh.

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

Firm Tofu has a higher amount of vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B12 (Cobalamin), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

However, tempeh has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and vitamin B9 (Folate).

Firm Tofu and tempeh contain the same amount of vitamin D.

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

Firm TofuTempeh
Vitamin A166 IU0
Vitamin C0.2 mg0
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.158 mg0.078 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.102 mg0.358 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)0.381 mg2.64 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.133 mg0.278 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.092 mg0.215 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)29 µg24 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00.08 µg
Vitamin E0.01 mg0.85 mg
Vitamin K2 µg47 µg

Firm Tofu 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 firm tofu and tempeh comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Firm Tofu is a better source of copper, fluoride, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium than tempeh.

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

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

Firm TofuTempeh
Calcium683 mg111 mg
Copper0.378 mg0.56 mg
Fluoride02.2 µg
Iron2.66 mg2.7 mg
Magnesium58 mg81 mg
Manganese1.18 mg1.3 mg
Phosphorus190 mg266 mg
Potassium237 mg412 mg
Selenium17.4 µg0
Sodium14 mg9 mg
Zinc1.57 mg1.14 mg

The Final Word

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

Both firm tofu 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 beans 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 are 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.


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