Tofu and Quorn are both pretty popular meat alternatives.
They’re plant-based foods that are high in protein and make great substitutes in a variety of meat dishes.
That being said, they have their differences too, having different histories and being made from different ingredients.
Let’s get into the details and explore the differences and similarities between tofu vs. Quorn.
What Is Tofu?
Tofu is a white, soft food made from soybeans.
Soybeans are soaked in water and ground up, creating a white, protein-rich liquid called soy milk.
When soy milk is coagulated and then shaped in a form, much like making a dairy cheese like paneer, the result is tofu.
Tofu is high in protein and low in fat and calories.
In addition, it has a mild flavor that makes it suitable for a vast range of recipes and dishes.
Tofu was invented in China and has been used in Chinese cuisine since the Han dynasty, 2000 years ago.
It’s popular throughout Asia and is part of many traditional dishes in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, and more.
Recently, it has become popular worldwide as a healthier, more environmentally responsible alternative to eating meat.
What Is Quorn?
Quorn is a meat alternative sold as a cooking ingredient or as part of pre-made and pre-packaged meals.
Quorn is made by cultivating and processing a single-celled microfungus high in protein.
The microbial biomass is then bound together using egg whites or potato starch, added flavoring ingredients, and then shaped into various forms.
Quorn is available flavored and formed like chicken products, beef products, etc., or it can simply be purchased in cubes, minced, etc.
Quorn is a brand name belonging to Marlow Foods, which developed the process for cultivating and mass-producing the microfungus into food.
Research into Quorn began in the 1960s, sparked by fears that overpopulation would lead to food shortages.
Quorn was first introduced in 1985 and became widely distributed in the UK by 1993.
Quorn was initially bound with egg whites and gained approval from the UK Vegetarian Society by switching to whites from free-range eggs.
In recent years, more of their products, particularly those sold in the US, use potato starch as a binder, so they are a vegan food.
What Are the Similarities Between Tofu and Quorn?
Here are the fundamental similarities between tofu and Quorn:
Both tofu and Quorn are high in protein without using any meat.
Quorn and tofu contain the complete profile of all the essential amino acids humans need.
Tofu and Quorn are both incredibly versatile, capable of taking on different flavors and being used in various recipes.
Reducing meat and animal products in your daily diet reduces your carbon footprint and more sustainably uses water.
What Are the Differences Between Tofu and Quorn?
The most critical differences between tofu and Quorn are:
Tofu is high in protein and calcium and low in fat and carbohydrates. It is also a good source of iron.
Basic Quorn is much higher in protein by weight and lower in other minerals.
Tofu is an ancient food, while Quorn is a modern, patented product.
Therefore, other vegan proteins derived from microfungi or similar processes cannot be called “Quorn.”
Tofu gets its protein from soybeans, which are naturally high in protein and low in fat.
The protein in Quorn is derived from a fungus, specifically the commercially developed Fusarium venenatum microfungus.
Tofu is almost always available as simple bricks, which must be further prepared at home, although a few more tofu-based foods are available today.
Quorn is available in a vast range of prepared foods, from frozen foods like meatless meals and entrees to pre-packaged chicken or beef substitutes to meatless strips and slices.
These pre-prepared and packaged foods have various nutritional profiles, and some are higher in fat, calories, or sodium, depending on the dish and recipe.
Tofu is available in soft and silken to firm and extra firm textures. These textures tend to be a bit more chewy and spongy than meat.
Quorn is developed to be texturally similar to the meat that is being simulated (poultry, beef, pork, etc.), so it has a very similar mouthfeel.
Summary Table: Tofu vs. Quorn
|High protein vegan meat alternative||Yes||Yes|
|Complete protein with all nine essential amino acids||Yes||Yes, and higher in protein|
|More sustainable and eco-friendly than meat||Yes||Yes|
|Versatile foods with a wide range of uses and recipes||Yes||Yes|
|Contains calcium, iron, and other nutrients||Yes||No|
|Primarily available in prepared, packaged foods||No||Yes|
|Texture||Variety of textures||Meat-like texture|
The essential difference between Quorn and tofu is really the question of application.
While you can purchase Quorn mince and use it at home to replace ground beef, Quorn is primarily available in pre-packaged foods, such as vegan meat alternatives like chicken cutlets, beefless burgers, or grilled ChiQin.
Quorn is also available in a range of vegan frozen foods and meals, including vegan lasagna, vegan parmesan, and more.
It’s designed to make high protein, meat-free foods simple and convenient.
Tofu is almost always sold as a package of tofu submerged in water for freshness.
While some vegan pre-prepared meals and foods use tofu, most people purchase tofu and prepare it themselves for inclusion in their recipes.
Because tofu usually requires draining, pressing, and marinating, tofu can take more time than simply purchasing a frozen package of a Quorn product and thawing it in the microwave.
While this makes tofu more versatile and adaptable to different foods and recipes, it also means that Quorn can provide a better texture and flavor in a specific dish.
Because tofu is lower in fat and calories and higher in some vitamins and minerals, tofu is a healthier food than Quorn.
However, Quorn is a more satisfying vegan meat alternative in the foods and recipes sold by Marlow Foods.
Hopefully this article helped you to better understand how these plant-based alternatives are similar yet different.