Tempeh is a traditionally Asian fermented plant-based protein source made from whole soy-beans. Because of the fermentation process, tempeh also contains beneficial probiotics. With a meat-like texture, tempeh is a hearty substitute for meatless meals and pairs well with many flavors due to its own mild, slightly nutty taste. Try it with my homemade cherry barbecue sauce, a lower sugar and preservative-free alternative to store-bought versions.
Yields 4 Sandwiches
For The Sauce
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
6 oz. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves
½ cup water
1 tsp. fresh orange zest
2 Tbs. fresh orange juice
1 Tbs. agave syrup (optional)
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For The Sandwich
8 oz. organic tempeh, sliced into 15 slices
4 whole wheat buns
4 large lettuce leaves (romaine,spinach, or Boston head)
½ medium yellow onion, sliced into ½-inch thick rounds
1 small cucumber, cut into thin rounds
1. Make the cherry barbecue sauce. In a blender or food processor, blend together the pitted cherries, tomato paste, garlic cloves and water until almost smooth. Scoop into a medium sized mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients, whisking well to combine.
2. Preheat oven to 425 F. In a shallow pan, spread ½ cup of the barbecue sauce evenly on the bottom and layer the tempeh slices on top. Pour another ½ cup of the sauce over top of the tempeh and spread until each slice is evenly coated, adding additional sauce as needed. Re-serve remaining sauce and allow tempeh to marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove tempeh from fridge and place strips on the baking sheet, scraping the bottom layer of sauce over top of the slices. Bake for 15-20 minutes and drizzle an additional ¼ cup of sauce over top of the tempeh as needed (if dry looking).
4. Assemble 4 sandwiches with the buns (toasted per preference), lettuce, sliced onions and cu-cumbers, and tempeh. Enjoy while tempeh is still warm!