After making the tempeh meatballs, I thought I should give tempeh another go and see if I could come up with another way that I’d actually like to eat it. To be clear, I don’t HATE tempeh, but I definitely ain’t the biggest fan. It seems no matter how much I steam the stuff, I can’t seem to get rid of that weird beany flavor and unless I out right deep fry it, there’s no way to make that stuff crispy. Hence why you keep hearing me babble on about tofu bacon, while never making a peep about the tempeh variety. I kind of view tempeh like tofu’s weird sibling that you have to invite to the party out of obligation, they’re not THAT bad, but you didn’t really want them there in the first place. Sorry tempeh, tofu is just the cooler of the soy bean foods and you’ve got a lot to live up to.
I’m sure some of you tempeh lovers are yelling at right now, so let me just say that I don’t think it’s all that bad, it does make a pretty rad meatball and is mighty tasty when smothered in gravy. After discovering that marinating the stuff doesn’t really work for me, I decided to take a different approach. Smother the shit in BBQ Sauce! BBQ sauce can pretty much cover up the strongest flavors, plus you don’t need to do any fancy marinating or baking. You literally just throw some tempeh in a frying pan along with some BBQ sauce and cook until it’s all sticky and caramelized. Ok, there’s a few more steps then that, I still boiled the stuff to at least try to decrease the tempeh flavor but the recipes still stupid easy.
First I sliced the tempeh into squares, and boiled it with some no-beef broth to give it a more meaty flavor. Just an FYI, in the pictures I just cut the tempeh into 4 squares, which threw the tempeh to BBQ sauce ratio way off, so I’m making them thinner in the instructions. The broth does make a difference! So if you have it, use it. Then I just fried it for a few minutes on each side and coated them all in smoky BBQ sauce, cooking and flipping from time to time. When it’s all thick and sticky, it’s done! Next is sandwich building time.
Pickles, onion, sauerkraut and arugula, yup that’ll do. That’ll do just fine. The first time I tried sauerkraut was from a can…it. was gross…don’t make the same mistake I did people, buy the bottled variety, or even better make it yourself! Now there’s a road I have’t ventured down yet, but someday soon, because I am a sauerkraut fiend, especially when hot dogs or BBQ are involved!
Back-up snacks this go around was my absolute favourite apple variety, pink lady and some of the BBQ flavoured Chia Crisps that came in the my Vegan Cuts box. They seemed pretty appropriate with the whole BBQ theme and all.
Lunch Lady Tips:
- Pack all your sandwich fixins separately from the bun and put together before eating.
- To decrease some of the moisture, squeeze some of the liquid out of the sauerkraut and pat dry the pickles before packing.
- Instead of buying a bunch of little snacks, buy a big bag and portion out in little plastic bags for a quick snack.
BBQ TEMPEH SANDWICH
Full of tangy BBQ sauce, this hearty and delicious tempeh sandwich makes for a quick and filling meal
- 8 ounces tempeh, quartered then sliced in half on the thin side
- 2 teaspoons no-beef bouillon
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1/2 cup store bought or homemade BBQ sauce
- 4 hamburger buns
- 4 tablespoons vegan mayo
- pinch of garlic powder
- pinch of chipotle powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- pinch of salt & pepper
- red onion, sliced
- dill pickles, sliced
- In a large pot place the tempeh and add enough water just until covered, bring to a boil then mix in the bouillon. Cover, turn the heat down and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat drain the tempeh and let it cool slightly.
- In a large frying pan over medium heat add the oil. Once the oil has heated, add your tempeh slices, cook for a few minutes on each side or until they start to brown slightly. Turn the heat down to medium-low and pour the BBQ sauce evenly over top. Add a squeeze of hot sauce for a spicy kick. Cook until the sauce has reduced and become sticky and caramelized, make sure you flip while cooking so that the tempeh is evenly coated. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, garlic powder, chipotle powder, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Toast your hamburger bun, coat each side with the mayo mixture. Top the bottom half with two slabs of tempeh, then pickle slices, a few pieces of sliced red onion, as much or as little sauerkraut as you’d like (don’t be a pansy, pile that funkiness it on!), a handful of arugula and top with the remaining bun. Now take a big bite and pat yourself on the back, you’ve tamed the fickle tempeh beast.