Tempeh Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions

by Maggie on March 26, 2013

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Tempeh Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions from She Let Them Eat Cake 1

Tempeh is one of my favorite vegetarian protein sources (though it has taken some time to get used to).  It’s like nothing I’ve ever eaten before – the texture is different, the taste is different, and the way you prepare it is a little different too.

Tempeh is made from soy beans.  I do try to limit my soy intake to once a week (usually in the form of tempeh, organic tofu, miso, or edaname), and I always make sure it’s organic.  Soy is a popular crop that’s genetically modified.  Thankfully, organic soy isn’t genetically modified so it’s a much safer choice.

I won’t get in to the soy debate here, but if you want to read more about it, head over to The Balanced Platter and check out The Soy Dilemma.

This Tempeh Sandwich with Caramelized Onions is one of our weekly faves.  It’s a quick meal and it’s so satisfying.  Pete and I feel like we’re totally indulging, especially when it includes a side of homemade sweet potato fries!  Hello vegetarian heaven on earth!

Tempeh Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions from She Let Them Eat Cake 3

Tempeh Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions


  • 1 cup of Caramelized onions (I follow this recipe)
  • 1 block organic gluten-free tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (cold-pressed if possible)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Gluten-free bread or tortillas
  • Vegenaise
  • 1 large ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
  • A handful of sprouts or greens of your choice


  1. Begin by preparing caramelized onions.  I use this recipe (with olive oil and no sugar).
  2. While onions are caramelizing, cut tempeh into one-inch strips.
  3. Steam tempeh in a medium-sized pot for 8 minutes. You can skip this step, but I find steaming the tempeh adds moisture and results in a better texture.
  4. Remove from heat and let the tempeh cool to touch.
  5. Preheat a pan and coat the bottom with olive oil.
  6. Add steamed tempeh strips and let cook for 3-4 minutes.
  7. Flip tempeh and let cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  8. Add vinegar (stand back as it will splash a little) and cook for another 2 minutes.
  9. Remove tempeh from pan and build your sandwiches.  We like ours with a swipe of Vegenaise, sliced avocado, a handful of sunflower sprouts, and topped with caramelized onions.

Yield: 4 sandwiches or wraps

This is one of my favorite vegan cookbooks – The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s recipe for tempeh bacon is delish!

Sandwich platters are a great idea when it comes to entertaining guests.