BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches with Rainbow Slaw

Hi, weather? Is that you? Oh, hi it’s Cory, and I have to admit you’re leaving me more confused than my chemistry textbook.  One day you’re above 80 and I’m drinking a Dogfish poolside and the next it’s pouring down rain. It would be lovely if you could make up your mind!  I dreamt up these wonderful sammich’s when it was hotter than purgatory and now I’m bundled up in my rain jacket cursing the sky because I can’t ride my bicycle.

Wellllll, I am going to post this recipe anyway 🙂

BBQ sauce is inextricably reminiscent of summer time, just the mere aroma of it can send me delving into a wonderful summertime nostalgia. But what to slather it in if you don’t eat meat? Tempeh! DUH! If you have never heard of tempeh, well today is your lucky day.

Tempeh is similar to tofu, but in my opinion, much better. It’s dense, chewy, and much more similar to meat than tofu.  You can buy it at most grocery stores in the natural food section! It’s basically fermented soy; and before all you health-food-phobics tear your hair out and run the other way screaming, that just means it’s easier for us to digest!  Along with offering up a hefty amount of protein and B vitamins, tempeh is a probiotic; it contains bacteria good for our gut.  Please don’t get me started on which bacteria because I am a gigantic microbiology nerd and won’t be able to stop myself once I start.

Rhizopus Oligosporus.

Okay sorry, that was it. I’m done. I feel much better now.

BBQ and coleslaw…they go together like peas and carrots.


…Only better.

This recipe perfectly pairs tempeh smothered in a thick smokey homemade BBQ sauce with a tart refreshing and crispy apple coleslaw. Squash it between two pieces of bread and we’ve got a duo that’s sexier together than Brangelina.

BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches with Rainbow Coleslaw

  • 8 oz package of tempeh

For the BBQ Sauce:

  • 1.5 cups ketchup
  • 1.5 T white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 T liquid smoke
  • 1 T sweetener of your choice: honey/brown sugar/agave

For the Slaw:

  • 2 cups red cabbage
  • 1 large green apple
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T honey/agave
  • juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
  • salt/pepper
  1. Prepare the tempeh first: cut the block into thin strips and steam for 10-15 minutes.  Lay strips in a glass baking dish and set aside
  2. Now make the BBQ sauce!  Add all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat, stirring very frequently over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Stir that sauce like your life depended on it. The fate of this sandwich rests solely in your hands. I mean whisk. Add more paprika for more heat, and less liquid smoke if you prefer a less smokey sauce.  If you’re a fan of sweeter BBQ sauce, add more sweetener, but calm down you sugar fiend, not too much because it will burn faster when you cook the tempeh.  Trust meh.  Taste and add more salt/pepper if you deem it necessary.
  3. Smother the tempeh in the sauce, coating both sides, and let marinate for at least an hour.
  4. When the tempeh is more saucy than my mother on Mardi Gras, it’s ready to bake.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then flip the tempeh and bake another 10.
  5. While the tempeh is cookin’, prepare the slaw.  Cut the cabbage and apples into really thin strips.  Mix all the liquid ingredients and add in the apples and cabbage at the end, coating them sufficiently.
  6. Toast up some carb-e-liscious bread (or gluten free bread…) and stack tempeh and slaw in between. For a more savory sammich’, I would switch out the cabbage in the slaw for carrots, add 2 T tahini to the slaw, and then layer a slice of gouda cheese in there. This ain’t no Burger King, but you can still have it your way.


And don’t think I forgot the music in this post.  (I almost did.  Blasphemy.)

Speaking of excellent duos (peas/carrots, Brangelina, BBQ sauce/coleslaw…) I present to you a new and exciting feel-good jam from San Francisco based boy-girl duo CATHEDRALS.  It’s called Harlem and I’ve got this on replay. Bump this as you’re shreddin’ them apples.


  1. Leopard Mama Beans

    Honey, this looks delicious, and the Yreka Raleys even had a coupon special the other day on Rhizopus Oligosporus! (BTW, we should talk about the music copyrights….)

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