When I first became vegetarian, it seemed like there were only two food options out in the restaurant world: variants of marinated and grilled zucchini/eggplant/peppers and veggie burgers (both of which were especially present at barbecues). About 10 years ago I finally reached my absolute fill — no more! So, I started to look around for other grilling options. I mean, grilling is fun! And chowing down on a burger off the grill (whatever that burger is made of) is such a part of American culture. I like joining in.
Recently I’ve really been on the tempeh wagon. Not only do I like the way it tastes, it’s a great mechanism for eating barbecue sauce, which I definitely don’t get enough of. This recipe can be made the night before your barbecue (in fact, it’s best if it is) and then slapped on the grill when you’re ready.
Inspired by the slaw at Bakesale Betty’s in Oakland
Makes 3 cups (a little bit more than enough for 2-3 burgers)
- 1/4 head small cabbage, sliced as thinly as possible
- 1/4 small red onion, sliced as thinly as possible
- 1 jalapeno, cut length-wise, seeded and sliced into thin strips (this makes for a pretty mild version — up it to 2 if you want it spicy)
- 1/4 c chopped parsley
- 3 T apple cider vinegar
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 T whole grain dijion mustard (often called “country style”)
- Salt to taste
I wished I had a mandolin when I made this recipe. If you don’t — like me — just do your best to chop as finely as possible.
Combine the cabbage, onion, jalapeno and parsley in a bowl. Stir in the vinegar, olive oil and mustard. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, but ideally overnight. The longer you let it sit, the more of a softer, pickled texture the ingredients take on. Don’t go longer than a day, though (then it just gets mushy).
BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches
Makes 2-3 servings
- 80z package of tempeh
- 1 c your favorite BBQ sauce (for marinating + extra for spreading on)
- Buns (I prefer smaller rolls, but traditional burger buns are fine)
Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil.
Cut your block of tempeh into 2-3 pieces. You’ll probably want to size your tempeh pieces so they fit with the buns you have available. As I mentioned, I prefer smaller buns, so I cut the tempeh into three pieces (this also helps the marinade profuse through the tempeh a bit better).
Boil your tempeh for 2 minutes. (Side note: I used to always skip this step when I first started making tempeh, but it really does improve the flavor and makes the tempeh much moister. Totally worth the extra step.) Drain the tempeh.
In a shallow pan coat the boiled tempeh with BBQ sauce. Let it marinate for at least an hour, but overnight is ideal (if you’re marinating overnight, cover it and throw it in the fridge).
When you’re ready, put the tempeh on the grill and cook for approximately 5 minutes per side (though, this will vary, depending on how hot your grill is). If it’s raining or you don’t have a grill — no worries! Just cook in a heavy-bottomed pan at a low-medium heat.
When it’s done, you may want to re-coat the tempeh in some fresh barbecue sauce. Then, split open your bun, maybe put a touch more of that whole grain dijion on the bun and a bit of mayonnaise (or Veganaise — my love) and then top the tempeh with as much slaw as you think you can reasonably fit in a sandwich.
Dig in! It’s fun to dip the sandwich in more barbecue sauce as you eat, too (mmm…barbecue sauce…). Don’t forget to wash it down with a John Daly!