Pigeon Peas vs Tempeh: Which Is Better?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between pigeon peas and tempeh, foods from the legumes and legume product group. Read on to learn more about the pigeon peas vs tempeh comparison.
Catherine Toledo, Journalist

Written by Catherine Toledo, Journalist. Updated on January 20, 2023.

Pigeon Peas 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 pigeon peas and tempeh and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.

Pigeon Peas

Pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan) are a legume widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.

They are a staple food in many countries, including India, Africa, and South America.

Pigeon peas are known for their high protein and fiber content, as well as their rich flavor and versatility in cooking.

Pigeon peas can be used in various dishes such as dals, curries, soups, and stews. They can also be used to make flour and snacks.

They peas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and are a good source of minerals like iron, zinc, and potassium.

They are also rich in antioxidants and can help to reduce inflammation and protect against certain types of cancer.

Pigeon peas are also low in fat and cholesterol-free, making them a great option for a healthy diet.

Pigeon Peas is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine).


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.

Pigeon Peas 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 pigeon peas vs tempeh.

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

Pigeon PeasTempeh
Energy343 kcal192 kcal
Carbs62.78 g7.64 g
Sugar7.33 g
Fiber15 g9.3 g
Protein21.7 g20.3 g
Fat1.49 g10.8 g
Saturated Fat0.33 g2.54 g

Pigeon Peas 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 tempeh vs pigeon peas for weight loss, tempeh is slightly lower in calories, with 192 calories per 100 grams, compared to 343 calories per 100 grams of pigeon peas.

However, both pigeon peas 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.

Pigeon Peas vs Tempeh Protein

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

Pigeon Peas offers around 6% more protein than tempeh.

Pigeon Peas has 21.7 grams of protein per 100 grams, while tempeh has 20.3 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Pigeon Peas 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 pigeon peas and tempeh.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 88% higher in pigeon peas than in tempeh. It have 62.8 grams per 100 grams, compared to 7.6 grams in tempeh.

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

One handful of pigeon peas (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 pigeon peas and tempeh.

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

With 4.2 grams of fiber per portion, pigeon peas is a better source of fiber than tempeh which pigeon peas offers 2.6 grams per portion.

Pigeon Peas vs Tempeh Fats

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

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

Total fat in pigeon peas and tempeh:

  • Pigeon Peas: 1.5 grams per 100 grams
  • Tempeh: 10.8 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, pigeon peas is 88% lower in saturated fats.

Pigeon Peas and tempeh contain 0.3 grams and 2.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Pigeon Peas vs Tempeh Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of pigeon peas and tempeh.

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

Pigeon Peas has a higher amount of vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B12 (Cobalamin), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

However, tempeh has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and vitamin B9 (Folate).

Pigeon Peas and tempeh contain the same amount of vitamin C, and vitamin D.

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

Pigeon PeasTempeh
Vitamin A28 IU0
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.643 mg0.078 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.187 mg0.358 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)2.965 mg2.64 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)1.266 mg0.278 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.283 mg0.215 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)456 µg24 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00.08 µg
Vitamin E00.85 mg
Vitamin K047 µg

Pigeon Peas 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 pigeon peas and tempeh comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Pigeon Peas is a better source of fluoride than tempeh.

On the other hand, tempeh is a higher amount of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc.

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

Pigeon PeasTempeh
Calcium130 mg111 mg
Copper1.057 mg0.56 mg
Fluoride02.2 µg
Iron5.23 mg2.7 mg
Magnesium183 mg81 mg
Manganese1.791 mg1.3 mg
Phosphorus367 mg266 mg
Potassium1392 mg412 mg
Selenium8.2 µg0
Sodium17 mg9 mg
Zinc2.76 mg1.14 mg

The Final Word

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

Both pigeon peas 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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