Tofu vs Quorn vs Seitan vs Tempeh etc - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-18-2008, 05:20 PM
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I figured food discussions might be a good place for this question



I am a new veggie and am enthusiastically trying the meat substitutes/protein things. I like soy products (i.e. morningstar) but tryng not to eat too many due to health reasons. I tried Seitan havent had Tempeh or Quorn.



I live in NY so the choices are vast, and honestly overwhelming. I found Seitan kinda bread-y (not surprising given its component)and hmm it was alright. Are these recipes that call for Seitan or Soy/Tofu/Tempeh or Quorn interchangeable (I mean when these items are plain and dont have seasonings mixed in already)? For example, do they all equally take on the taste of the sauce/breading/seasonings or is one definitely more distinct in flavor than the other when used in recipe? For any tofu recipe could I subsitute quorn or seitan and more importantly in something like tofurkey why is tofu used? Is it the flavor/consistency/texture or just tradition?



You look up faux grilled chicken and there is morningstar (and now they have more than one kind altho I am loathe to try it bc I found their "steak" strips revolting), quorn, seitan, and the list goes on and on and on. I was just wondering what everyone here likes for recipes and taste.... all opinions welcome! Thanks
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#2 Old 10-18-2008, 06:02 PM
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Each has it's distinct character really - Tempeh, I find, is a lot more nutty. The texture is totally different (its kinda got lumpy bits - in a good way!). Tofu comes in lots of kinds, and some work better in other recipies than others. So you could substitute tempeh in a tofu recipie that calls for firm tofu perhaps (that's just personal preference), but don't put tempeh in your tofu-based smoothie - different tofu!



I like tempeh marinated in ketchup, soysauce, ginger, garlic and pineapple - sweet and sour!
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#3 Old 10-19-2008, 07:32 AM
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I think they all have their benefits, and if you can use a wide range of them so much the better, as it stops you overloading on either gluten, soy or quorn and can keep your diet healthier.

For me, I find some substitute for certain meats better than others (e.g. I think quorn is the best "chicken" and "beef burger", but have had much better "sausages" from other brands where I think they use more barley and seasoning. The quorn "bacon" is ok, but until they stopped selling the morning farms one near me, that was so much better for "bacon" purposes.



I think the difference is partly a texture thing, and partly to do with how individual brands do their seasoning. There is also a bit of an issue that quorn bacon tastes more similar to quorn ham than real bacon tastes to real ham, so if I am trying to do a nice spaghetti carbonara, it is much better to have quorn ham and a different brand of bacon than it is to use both ham and bacon from quorn.



You are so lucky being a "fake meat eating vegetarian" in New York. Whilst I was there on holiday I visited a few veggie restaurants (notably Veg. Paradise II and the Vegetarian Dim Sum House) and they had an enormous range of different "meats" on the menu, vastly outweighing the number of tyoes you normally see in stores. I think part of the way they manage this is by using a variety of different substitute type ingredients in their menu rather than relying on just soy etc. e.g. at the dim sum house Im pretty sure my Honey Roast Pork was tofu slices, but the giant plate of sweet and sour chicken had a slightly (not unpleasant) flourey texture to it which makes me think it was more of a gluten based thing (and now I really really want to go back and eat in New York again).
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#4 Old 10-19-2008, 09:47 PM
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Thanks for the tips



piratemoon- I didn't know it was nutty, that's good to know and I think I may like it. Also that recipe sounds REALLY good - kinda reminds me of hawaiian food meets chinese?



QA- I dont think I saw the burgers? Nice! Just the grilled chicken strips. Btw, what did you think of the MSF chicken strips (grilled). THe nuggets are good but the steak strips I find awful so I am a bit nervous. Mmm spag cab with quorn tasty! Are you vegan?

There are sooo many veggie places I want to try now- there is a great new place that I want to try- o heck there are alot since I am a new veggie. Next time you are in NY if you need a veggie bud to try a place out or just a recommendation let me know. I met 2 vegans today and I think with one of them we are going to explore some places.

I find seitan kinda flourey or...bready or something?
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#5 Old 10-20-2008, 02:05 PM
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Tempeh is the best from a health perspective!

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#6 Old 10-20-2008, 02:10 PM
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Yeah, the pineapple huh? Thats kinda what we put in our sweet and sour here in Britain! Don't know if its the Chinese way... Tempeh is nice
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#7 Old 10-23-2008, 08:54 AM
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OMG! My vegan life changed when I discovered the Quorn products!



I have served them to so many omni friends and they had no freakin' idea it was a faux meat, lol!!! They were like wow, we didn't know you were eating meat again, ..."not!"



IMO, Quorn products are awesome for vegans who truly miss the texture etc of animal products. Sometimes it tastes just too real for me and I get grossed-out, lol!
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#8 Old 10-23-2008, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beansprout View Post

OMG! My vegan life changed when I discovered the Quorn products!



I have served them to so many omni friends and they had no freakin' idea it was a faux meat, lol!!! They were like wow, we didn't know you were eating meat again, ..."not!"



IMO, Quorn products are awesome for vegans who truly miss the texture etc of animal products. Sometimes it tastes just too real for me and I get grossed-out, lol!



Quorn contains egg whites and isn't vegan.

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#9 Old 10-24-2008, 12:10 PM
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I'm not the biggest fan of meat substitutes, and prefer to cook without them myself. But there's no doubt that having such stuff to hand can be very convenient when you're tired or want something quick and easy.



Not tried Tempeh myself, so no clue on this.

Nor seitan except in wheat protien based products. What I've had, I do like better than soya based products though.



The dried TVP/soya mince works great IMO in *small* amounts. Where a recipe calls for a little mince to add a bit of texture, rather than *bulk* it's a really handy cupboard standbye. In bulk I find it tough going. I like it in what I call 'Icken Noodle Soup.



Dried TVP/soya chunks work fine in dishes with a sauce that is richly flavoured and satisfying. The best thing I ever had this stuff in was a fabulous Rogan Josh curry, that absolutely rocked. But again, I wouldn't rely on it in a dish that needed a lot of meat substitute to bulk out the dish.



For me, Tofu as a meat substitute works best in dishes that it's 'at home' in. So it's a perfect meat substitute in any dishes that involve classic oriental flavourings. Anything with rice, noodles, ginger, sweet & sour, and soy sauce. And for these dishes, I always buy it firm and smoked. Brilliant stuff. I even like it cold cubed and simply marinated in soy sauce, chilli sauce and a bit of sesame oil. MMMmmm.



My favourite type of mince for texture and flavour in any dish, is the chilled stuff (whatever the brand - I just look at the ingredients list), that is composed primarily wheat protien. I guess it's a processed form of seitan, but they usually have a bit of soya in there too.



For chunks of 'chicken' or 'pork' in anything not oriental where there's a lot of it needed, I go for Quorn. Highly versatile, great texture and very satisfying.



For veggie 'meaty' burgers, I go for the 1/4lb Quorn ones - the small ones aren't satisfying IMO, but the 1/4lb Quorn burger with processed cheese slices and relish make an exellent alternative to beef burgers (though frankly if I'm buying 'burgers' from the chiller cabinet, gimme a classic hydrogenated fat saturated mexican bean burger every time!)



For veggie sausages (bangers not frankfurters) personally I don't usually care what they're made of, just as long as there's a lot of good herby flavours going on. So if there's a choice, I'll always go for more flavourfull 'cumberland' style veggie bangers, or similar. Quorn do do quite a few tasty types of banger now.



For vegetarians seeking meat substitutes (though not vegans) in the States who are only just getting Quorn, your world just became far more interesting...!

GA
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#10 Old 10-25-2008, 03:56 PM
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Thanks everyone for all your replies- I thought I had posted something but I guess it didn't go through!

piratemoon- I think pineapple is in sweet and sour sauce here too- its just so coated when someone gets it I cant tell what it is- but i have seen chinese places where its just the breaded chicken. I think pineapple always just reminds me of hawaii and hawaiian dishes

I havent tried tempeh but do plan to do so. I was away the last few days and I went to this vegan store upstate New York and there were so many tempeh varieties.

Its funny you guys were discussing quorn- my omni friend and I saw it at the store and she was like "I love that stuff!" I thought she was joking but she was like "no its soo good u can't tell the difference!" Another quorn fan!

GA- your tips are so helpful- a really good guide for me for cooking, etc. I agree- I dont always like meat substitutes esp since with the processing, etc., I have eaten tofu 3 times in the past 4 days and need to not have it tonight.
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#11 Old 10-26-2008, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabid_child View Post

Quorn contains egg whites and isn't vegan.



That is why this website is so lovely. :]



I've never had quorn so I don't have anything to worry about.



The tempeh that I have had... I do not like AT ALL. I don't know why, I just find it incredibly nasty.



I adore tofu, though.
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#12 Old 11-09-2008, 01:51 PM
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It's lame that Quorn isn't vegan. I've written them on this and they responded that they just don't want to spend the money for the additional egg substitute ingredients in their Quorn. This is lame because they're missing out on probably 30% of the non meat eating market.



Tempeh is definitely an acquired taste and usually doesn't work as a drop-in replacement for meat. I usually pulse it in a food processor with some spices to add to pastas and stir frys, slice it thinly and saute in canola oil and spices for sandwiches, or cut into tiny cubes before adding to stir frys.



I've managed to cut out tofu completely from my home diet and only eat it when eating out. I'm not into the whole isoflavone thing. Tempeh has less isoflavones supposedly due to it's light fermentation. Everything in moderation though!



Here's my recipe for Ground Tempeh. It can be added to spaghetti or used in tacos.



1, 8 oz package tempeh, cut into ½ inch cubes

1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon shoyu

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon onion granules

¼ teaspoon garlic granules

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon paprika



3 Tablespoons canola oil



This ground tempeh can be used like roasted ground meat. It's even more versatile, and is a great way to add savory flavors and protein to salads, pizzas, sauces, lasagnas, etc.



Add the tempeh, shoyu, dried basil, onion granules, garlic granules, cumin and paprika to a food processor and pulse several times until coarse. Add canola oil to a wok or frying pan and heat on medium. When oil is heated add ingredients from the food processor and saute for 10 minutes.



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#13 Old 11-09-2008, 08:13 PM
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I need to get out more and try new things... I don't really like tofu much in the ways that I've had it prepared.



I don't think that I've ever tried seitan or tempeh. I'd like to, but I don't want my "first time" to be messed up so I get a bad first impression.



I did try various veggie burgers and found I don't like any with soy protein as the main ingredient. I like those made out of beans, brown rice, veggies and/or mushrooms.



Lately, I've discovered Quorn. I have tried the nuggets, southwest chickn, and chickn tenders. In the freezer I have the ground Quorn as a sub for hamburger in chili, etc. I also have a turky roast (all spelling/exact names I don't know about for sure without going to the freezer). We have been trying one new Quorn product every other week or so. My younger son and husband like these too so far. Only my older son (teenager) doesn't care for them.

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#14 Old 11-09-2008, 09:07 PM
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I love tofu and I used to eat the MSF "chicken" patties and nuggets and I liked them. I never tried the MSF beef strips since I had never liked steak, but I did try the MSF chicken strips and I hated them. nasty texture.



I tried the Quorn chicken products before I went vegan and they were amazing. Especially the chicken cutlets with goat cheese and cranberries...my picky omni mom ate that and loved it..I didnt tell her it wasnt chicken.



Seitan I haven't tried yet...it just looks weird to me.....I did try the tempeh bacon on a sandwich and it was actually pretty tasty.



I tend to lean towards the veggie burgers and the black bean burgers..the ones that don't try to taste like meat. I only eat them once in a while though, as they have a lot of sodium.



I never really liked meat very much, so I usually don't like a faux meat substitute. Thats also the reason I never tried the fauz sausages and lunch meats.



I do like the vegan california veggie burgers a lot...I just can't remember if they are Amy's or Gardenburger..


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#15 Old 11-10-2008, 05:45 PM
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Personally, I LOVE seitan! It is my favorite of all proteins! I get the chicken seitan (it comes in a container like tofu) because it is the only vegan one I can find in my area, but, I break it up and get some peanut oil going with some fresh garlic and ginger and throw the seitan in and get it nice and brown, then towards the end throw in some tamari or soy sauce to really get it nice and crunchy - I love it like that! There's a great recipe in Vegan With Avengence for Seitan with peanut sauce and cold udon noodles. I actually serve the noodles warm, but that is SO GOOD!!



I don't like tempeh at all and I've given it a few good honest tries, just can't get into it. The quorn I used to enjoy, but it is not vegan.
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#16 Old 11-10-2008, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by VeganChick08 View Post

Personally, I LOVE seitan! It is my favorite of all proteins! I get the chicken seitan (it comes in a container like tofu) because it is the only vegan one I can find in my area, but, I break it up and get some peanut oil going with some fresh garlic and ginger and throw the seitan in and get it nice and brown, then towards the end throw in some tamari or soy sauce to really get it nice and crunchy - I love it like that! There's a great recipe in Vegan With Avengence for Seitan with peanut sauce and cold udon noodles. I actually serve the noodles warm, but that is SO GOOD!!



I don't like tempeh at all and I've given it a few good honest tries, just can't get into it. The quorn I used to enjoy, but it is not vegan.



What is the texture of seitan like? I'm sure I could get past the way it looks if the texture wasn't weird.


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#17 Old 11-10-2008, 06:03 PM
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The texture of the chicken seitan is more chewy, looks like meat actually. My kids love it too. I don't mind the texture, but I really only like it the way I described cooking it in the peanut oil and tamari. I tried roasting it with seasoning last week, and I didn't like it. There are other types of seitan which contain honey, but I had eaten them before when I was vegetarian, those are good, but kind of spongy, but still tasty.
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#18 Old 11-10-2008, 07:12 PM
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What is the texture of seitan like? I'm sure I could get past the way it looks if the texture wasn't weird.



The texture is different depending on how it's cooked and what's gone into it. A baked seitan log will be much more dense and chewy, simmered seitan is softer and more tender, and boiled seitan will be squishy and brainy (not yum). A recipe that is all gluten and water will come out like a rubber ball. Replacing some of the liquid with tofu, or adding another high protein flour like chickpea or soy, will lead to a more tender tofu. The texture raw is NOT the same as the texture cooked! And it's always more firm after it's had a rest in the fridge overnight!

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#19 Old 11-10-2008, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganChick08 View Post

The texture of the chicken seitan is more chewy, looks like meat actually. My kids love it too. I don't mind the texture, but I really only like it the way I described cooking it in the peanut oil and tamari. I tried roasting it with seasoning last week, and I didn't like it. There are other types of seitan which contain honey, but I had eaten them before when I was vegetarian, those are good, but kind of spongy, but still tasty.





I like crispy things, too. So that might be a way to try it. Thank you!





Quote:
Originally Posted by rabid_child View Post

The texture is different depending on how it's cooked and what's gone into it. A baked seitan log will be much more dense and chewy, simmered seitan is softer and more tender, and boiled seitan will be squishy and brainy (not yum). A recipe that is all gluten and water will come out like a rubber ball. Replacing some of the liquid with tofu, or adding another high protein flour like chickpea or soy, will lead to a more tender tofu. The texture raw is NOT the same as the texture cooked! And it's always more firm after it's had a rest in the fridge overnight!



Wow. It seems very versatile. I have a few recipes that people gave me and said to try making it myself....and the recipes are all so very different.

I think you just explained why to me. Thank you!


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#20 Old 11-14-2008, 06:16 AM
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Tofu has grown on me, and I liked the Quorn 'meat'balls until I noticed the egg whites. I don't call myself vegan, but I lean towards it. I have a Quorn Turkey roast in my freezer because I know my boyfriend will eat it for Thanksgiving, and my brother probably will too-- or at least try it.



I've never tried Tempeh, and I've never made my own Seitan. I do like prepackaged seitan, so I should assume I'd like homemade more.



Like others have said, they're not that interchangable. They CAN be, but I'd think seitan and pasta would be a little off... stuff like that
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