Recipe Weekend: 2 #Vegan Sandwiches. Tempeh Sausage & Cheese Steak

I was at Trader Joes the other day, picking up a few things for dinner. The plan was Tempeh Burgers. I was out of buns (because there are just two of us, a package of buns lasts quite a while in the freezer), but TJs selection was pretty poor. White bread, with dairy in it, is not for me. Then I saw these:

I understand that “multi grain” is just another way of saying white bread with a few extra types of flours mixed in, but what got me going was the description on the right. “Perfect for sandwiches, sausages, et. al.” Hmmm, I thought, sausages. How can I take tempeh and make sausages?

When I got home, I got out several vegan cookbooks. Nothing. All the “sausage” recipes involved seitan. So, I decided to see what I could do with a marinade. The result was tasty. Not exactly like sausage, but reminiscent of sausage shall we say. And since it has been a very long time since I have tasted a real sausage, I decided it was close enough.

Tempeh Sausage Sandwich. #Vegan.

8 oz package tempeh, sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced in half lengthwise again (to make 4 long, thin slices). If the slices are too long, you may have to cut them in half to fit when you steam them.
1/4 cup tamari
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 avocado
Sandwich Rolls
Optional sauces: mustard, vegan mayo


Steam the sliced tempeh for 15 minutes. While it is steaming, prepare the marinade by combining the tamari, garlic, olive oil, vegetable broth, vinegar, maple syrup, fennel seed, and pepper.

Remove the tempeh from the steamer, lay it in a flat pan and pour the marinade over it. Allow to marinate for about 15 minutes, turning at least once.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the tempeh and the marinade. Brown on each side. Push the tempeh to the side, then add the slice onions (you may need a little more oil). When they start to soften, add the mushrooms alongside them in the same pan. Cook both until soft and slightly browned.

Toast the sandwich roll. Top with a long tempeh sausage slice (two if you had to cut them in half). Add the onions and mushrooms. Serve with avocado and mustard and/or mayo.

#Vegan Cheese Steak Sandwich

After I posted a picture of the cheese steak on twitter, I had a spirited but friendly conversation with a follower.

1- 8 ounce package seitan (or 1 cup if you make your own), cut into strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup vegan milk (I used almond milk)
1/2 cup vegan cheese (I used Daiya Pepper Jack)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 sandwich rolls

Combine the seitan, salt, pepper, onion powder, and vegetable broth. Preheat the oil over medium heat, add the seitan mixture and cook until brown and the broth is evaporated.

In a separate small pan, preheat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat, add the onions and cook slowly until soft.

Toast the sandwich rolls.

Spoon half the seitan on each roll. Add the cheese sauce (see below) and onion. Serve with avocado and mustard.

Cheese Sauce
In a small saucepan, melt the vegan butter. Stir in the flour. Add the almond milk slowly, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add the cheese and continue to stir until the cheese melts.

I served both sandwiches with baked sweet potato fries (one day I baked some zucchini strips along with the potatoes). Enjoy for a special treat or game-day fare.

#Vegan Recipe: Tempeh Patty Melts

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may already have seen these photos from my run this morning, but I still wanted to share them here. Alan, Penny and I took a five mile run on the trails today. It was a little warm, about 80 (on its way to 110!), but with pockets of cool here and there. I love being on the road with my favorite running buddies!

running buddies

running buddies

running buddies

running buddies

After the run I headed off to yoga class, which seemed extremely challenging today (maybe because I haven’t been for a couple weeks?). I have pretty flexible hips (about the only flexible part of me. Runner, y’know). For example, I love pigeon pose. But some of the poses today required hip/abductor strength, and there I found the challenge. I’m sure part of it was the run, but I think I should address some of my hip strength imbalances. That sounds like a topic for Wednesday Workout!

After a long nap recovering for a bit, I spent some time on blog-related chores, answering commenters, reading other blogs, updating photos, planning a few posts, etc. For the last two years I have participated in Vegan MoFo, the Vegan Month of Food, which starts tomorrow. I am not going to join this year (unless I change my mind in the next 24 hours, always a possibility). While I love to post recipes, reviews, and other vegan food related things, doing it every day while trying to maintain my regular theme days, not to mention cross country, and, you know, my job, seems like too much. But, I’ll keep up with other bloggers who are participating and share some good stuff this month.

In honor of those bloggers who are participating, though, I decided to kick of October with a vegan recipe for Tempeh Patty Melts. I always loved the taste of grilled onions, and the flavor of rye bread, so substituting tempeh for meat is a simple way to make this dish vegan. I added avocado because I like adding avocado to almost everything. It’s not a requirement, though.

vegan patty melts

Tempeh Patty Melts

1/2 package tempeh, cut in half, then sliced lengthwise to create 2 burger size patties.
2 tablespoons tamari
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil (for marinade)
1 tablespoon olive oil (for grilling tempeh)
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
4 slices rye bread
2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup vegan cheese (I used Daiya mozzarella because that’s what I had on hand)
1/2 avocado, sliced


Steam tempeh in a steam basket or rice cooker for 15-20 minutes.

While tempeh is steaming, mix together tamari, olive oil, and vegetable broth.

Remove tempeh from steaming basket. Place in a flat dish and cover with marinade. Set aside for about 10 minutes.

Preheat olive oil over medium high heat. Cook tempeh until browned on both sides. Reduce heat to medium, move patties aside and add onions, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

vegan patty melt

Preheat a large frying pan over medium heat. Spread vegan butter thinly on both sides of rye bread. Place in pan and brown slightly on one side. Turn over, and moving fairly quickly, add vegan cheese to all slices of the bread. Add tempeh patty, onions and avocado. Place both sides of the sandwich together,  pressing down firmly so that melted cheese helps hold it together. Brown on both sides.

vegan patty melts

We had these with baked sweet potatoes (plus I made the whole package of tempeh and used the leftovers for dinner tonight).

Another tasty way to use tempeh! Have you tried it yet?

Tempeh Burgers. Vegan and Gluten Free

It has been more than five years since I became a vegetarian (more than two as a vegan). I made the transition as many people do, starting with meat-free substitutes, basically making cruelty-free versions of my former recipes. Great for transition purposes, but not very healthy for the long term.

Tempeh Burgers

Over time, I’ve gradually made the change to a less processed plant based diet, lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and avoiding faux meats and cheeses. While I’ll occasionally party down with vegan snacks, I stick with natural proteins sources like beans, quinoa, nuts, and less processed soy products like tofu and tempeh.

Ah, tempeh. Tempeh is a fermented soy product that has a chewy texture and somewhat nutty flavor. I have a love/hate relationship with tempeh. I love it when I have a Scorpion Burger at Native Foods. I hate it when I try to make my own version. And I couldn’t figure out why.

Until now. I read a lot of vegan cooking blogs, and unfortunately, I can’t remember where I got this tip in order to give credit where it is due. It is so simple that it may be universally known and I was the only one who was out of the loop. The key to tasty tempeh? As simple as steam.

I now steam my tempeh for about 15-20 minutes before preparing it. Steaming removes some of the bitter taste and allows the tempeh to soak up any marinade or sauce that is used in its preparation. It actually smells delicious when you remove it from the pan! I highly recommend you take this step before you prepare a recipe using tempeh, even if the package states that it is already cooked (as is most store-bought tempeh). For me, it was the difference between hate and love.

Tempeh Burgers

8 ounce package tempeh, cut in half, then sliced lengthwise to create 4 burger size patties. Note: For gluten free, check ingredients. Some tempeh is not gluten free.
1/4 cup tamari
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brown mustard
4-5 drops liquid smoke
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
Your favorite vegan/gluten free buns or bread
Choose your favorite burger condiments: mustard, vegan mayo, lettuce/spinach, tomato, onion, avocado, pickles, vegan cheese, or whatever else you little heart desires.


Steam tempeh in a steam basket or rice cooker for 15-20 minutes.

While tempeh is steaming, mix together tamari, olive oil, mustard, liquid smoke, and tomato sauce.

Remove tempeh from steaming basket. Place in a flat dish and cover with marinade. Set aside for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Burgers can be prepared in a saute pan, grill, or broiler.  If you saute, brown on both sides, then pour the remaining marinade over the tempeh and allow to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. If you broil or grill, brown the tempeh on both sides, then lightly brush the tempeh with the marinade and cook a few more minutes.

Serve with buns and condiments.

Do you like tempeh? What’s your favorite way to prepare it? Seriously, give me recipes (or links)!