Recipe Of The Week: BBQ Tempeh Sandwich

Yep, we’re still doing a recipe a week for you to try under lockdown! This BBQ tempeh sandwich will get you ready for summer flavours…

By Lora O’Brien

With lockdown extended for many of us, cabin fever is real. Anyone else sick of eating the same few recipes you use again and again? You’re probably daydreaming about beach cookouts and summer picnics. But the good news is that better weather is slowly but surely on its way, which means one thing (for me, anyway): vegan barbeques!

Whether you’re working from a patio grill, or just a grill pan you use on your stove, this BBQ tempeh sandwich recipe from Kathy’s Vegan Kitchen is a great way to welcome sunnier days – and to get your vegan protein in!

If you’ve never tried tempeh, you really should: this is a super healthy fermented soy product that’s a great vegan protein source, and it’s packed with probiotics, too. It also boasts a wide array of vitamins and minerals, like iron, calcium and magnesium.

It has a firm and slightly chewy texture, with somewhat nutty taste. It can be steamed, sautéed or baked and is often marinated to add more flavour. Since it’s usually vacuum packed, it’s easy to buy online, too – just make sure it’s organic, or it may be made from GMO soy.

And if you have tried tempeh and found it not quite to your taste, you may want to follow Kathy’s secret tip on how to make it taste great each and every time! I know it worked for me when I made my own BBQ tempeh sandwich.

Now, grab some buns, get the BBQ sauce ready and let’s get cooking!




4 vegan ciabatta buns, sliced and toasted (You can use gluten-free bread, a wrap, or any desired bread) or skip the bread
2 packages tempeh; each package sliced in half


1  white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
4 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
1 /2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


1/2 small Napa cabbage, chopped
1/2 small purple cabbage, chopped
2 fuji apples (or any sweet apple you like) julienned and soaked to 2 tbsp of lemon juice to prevent browning.
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 bunch green onions, chopped


1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight and drained
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 cup water




Before we cook, you need to know this awesome secret when it comes to cooking tempeh. It is naturally bitter and a little on the tough side, so it won’t absorb the BBQ marinade unless you boil it first. Yep, boiling it for just ten short minutes takes away the bitterness and allows it to become sponge-like, absorbing all that sticky, yummy BBQ-sauce goodness! 

1. Remove the tempeh from the package and cut in half, making two equal-sized squares.

2. Place the tempeh pieces into a pan, cover with water.

3. Bring the water to a boil and cook for ten minutes.

4. Remove the tempeh from the water and marinate.


Sure, you can always use a store-bought sauce, but I guarantee you’ll want to make this homemade BBQ recipe. Making your own reduces the sugar content, plus you skip all those added preservatives! Since you’ll only be using 1/4 of the BBQ sauce recipe, store leftover sauce in the refrigerator. It will last up to a week. Alternatively, you can freeze it, too. 

1. Start by frying the onions and garlic in a medium saucepan. Cook until translucent.

2. Combine all of the other ingredients into the saucepan.

3. Bring to a boil.

4. Once bubbling, reduce to a simmer.

5. Cook for 20 minutes on a low simmer.


1. Cut each tempeh block in half

2. Grab a refrigerator-safe container and pour roughly 1/8 cup of the BBQ sauce into it.

3. Place pieces of tempeh on top of the BBQ sauce.

4. Add more BBQ sauce; repeat until the top of the tempeh is covered.

5. Pop into the fridge and marinate overnight.

BBQ Tempeh recipe


Now it’s time to grill the BBQ tempeh! Because the BBQ sauce is quite sticky, it’s vital you cook the tempeh on a low heat to make sure it doesn’t burn on the grill. For those fabulous grill marks, make sure the grill is piping hot (450 degrees) before you put the BBQ tempeh on the grill to cook. Be sure to save the leftover BBQ marinade!

1. Start by heating the grill on a low heat. Remember, you want to cook low and slow!

2. Either use a grilling mat or place the tempeh directly onto the grill.

3. Put the leftover BBQ sauce in the container to once side.

4. Cook the tempeh for 8 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the pieces.

5. Place tempeh back into the container for an extra coating of the yummy BBQ sauce

BBQ Tempeh recipe


You can top your BBQ Tempeh sandwich with anything you fancy, but I honestly recommend making this maple dijon sauce. It’s incredibly creamy and yummy, and the perfect compliment to the BBQ sauce. 

1. Add all of the ingredients into a high-speed blender.

2. Blend until it’s smooth.


Make this quick and simple coleslaw recipe to top off your BBQ tempeh sandwich. It’s full of crunch and flavour!

1. Cut the apples and place them in 2 tbsp of lemon juice then set aside.

2. Cut all the remaining ingredients and place into a bowl.

3. Drain the apples and add them to the bowl.

4. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss.

Now, simply plate up! Once your tempeh has cooled in the BBQ sauce, load it onto your toasted ciabatta bun and top with your crunchy slaw. And bon appetit!

I hope you enjoyed making this BBQ tempeh sandwich recipe. And if you did, feel free to use the hashtag #eluxerecipes on social media so that we can all see and enjoy your yummy recreations!


Lora O'Brien
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