BBQ Tempeh Sandwich

When I was a meat eater I used to love a good Carolina style BBQ pulled pork sandwich. Tangy sweet BBQ topped with a cool, creamy coleslaw just hit all the right taste notes. And while I’m not a huge fan of the ‘fake meat’ concept, this is one I had to do. I’ve used tempeh here to replace the pulled pork, which works beautifully. Tempeh is extremely versatile and absorbs a good amount of flavor if prepared properly. It also comes together much more quickly than the meat version.

You’ll find the recipes for both the tempeh and the coleslaw below. I recommend making the coleslaw first, even a day ahead of time, so that all of the flavors can marry. As a note, I don’t tend to like a lot of dressing on my salads, so I generally make less. With coleslaw in general, if you let it sit in the refrigerator for a day it will produce more liquid and therefore, have more dressing.

*A note on the BBQ sauce. I really enjoy Stubb’s sauces, however since becoming more dedicated to a 100% plant based diet, I have not yet found an alternative. It’s a work in progress :). So use what works for you and you have any vegan recommendations, please, let me know. After doing a bit more research, I’ve found that this delicious sauce IS vegan. Yay!!!


  • 1/2 c. Vegan mayonaise such as Veganaise
  • 1 tbsp. Vinegar (I like white vinegar for coleslaw, it’s tangier)
  • 1 tbsp. Char free sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic power
  • 1/2 tsp. Celery seed
  • 1/2 head purple or green cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 small onion, sliced thinly
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice to taste

In a large bowl combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder and celery seed. Mix well. Add the cabbage, carrot and onion and toss everything together being sure to coat thoroughly. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper. Give it a taste and make sure that it meets your taste buds desire. Put your coleslaw in a container with a lid and store in the refrigerator until needed (preferably overnight).


  • 1 8 oz. package of tempeh (any variety will do)
  • 1/2 c. of your favorite BBQ sauce (I’m partial to Stubbs Moppin’ Sauce)
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 onion rolls

Add the onions to a large saute pan and cook over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Lower heat to medium low and cook until the onions begin to caramelize, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, Cut the tempeh patty in half so that you have two pieces about 4″ x 3″. Place the in a steamer and steam for about 15 minutes over medium low heat. Remove from the steamer and let cool for about 10 minutes. *This step is optional, but greatly increases how well the tempeh will absorb the BBQ flavor and for some people, aides in the digestion of the tempeh.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Cut the tempeh into slices about 1/8th-1/4 inch thick. Place the tempeh into the pan and cook on each side until a deep golden brown (if you’re new to tempeh, it can take a lot of browning, so don’t be afraid to get it nice and caramelized). Add the BBQ sauce and toss to coat thoroughly. Reduce heat to medium low and let the tempeh simmer for about 15 minutes.

Toast the onion rolls and layer with the tempeh, caramelized onions and coleslaw. Serve this up with the side of your choice. Onion rings are always good, baked not fried.


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