BBQ Tempeh Sandwich

BY : PUBLISHED : January 5th, 2022 UPDATED: August 5th, 2022

This vegan BBQ Sandwich uses deliciously smoky and savory Tempeh patties nestled between soft, fluffy buns! It is so easy to throw together when needing a quick yet filling lunch or dinner. It's a healthier and lighter alternative that is downright delicious; even meat-eaters will love them! They are the perfect addition to your next backyard BBQ party.

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two completed BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches against a white surface

What is Tempeh and Why Use It?

Also called tempe, this protein-packed vegan alternative to meat is made of fermented whole soybeans packed in cake form. It is often compared to tofu as they are both made from soy. However, tempeh offers a different nutritional package. It has higher fiber and vitamin content plus has a firmer texture. So, while it is the less popular sister of tofu, tempeh is something that we love using in our recipes! It is so versatile and can be cooked in a lot of different ways! You can fry, grill, boil, and bake it. And with its mild flavors and chunky-firm texture, it can be transformed into a variety of your fave dishes.

The Best Homemade BBQ Tempeh Sandwich

This BBQ Sandwich recipe is one of the best ways to highlight tempeh's goodness! It is infused in a smoky, caramelized BBQ sauce, so you can enjoy the taste of summer all year round! The flavor of the tempeh will depend significantly on the BBQ sauce that you will be using, so use your favorite one! You can get really creative with this as well.  You can add any burger toppings you like, such as lettuce, tomatoes,  crispy fried onions, and spicy peppers.

two completed BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches against a white surface

Ingredients Needed

  • Tempeh - we used regular tempeh for this recipe. We diced them into bite-sized proportions but feel free to cut them in strips instead.
  • BBQ sauce - use your favorite vegan flavor and brand! You can opt to use sweet, smoky or tangy - it is up to you.
  • Garlic and red onion - we used a savory base for the tempeh BBQ sauce.
  • Liquid smoke - gives the tempeh patties a deep smoky, and grilled flavor. You can use any type like hickory or mesquite.
  • Buns - you can use round or long buns, whichever you prefer.
  • Burger toppings - stack your sandwich with whatever toppings you like! You can go classic with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Or you can simply garnish with crunchy garlic and parsley.

How to Make BBQ Tempeh Sandwich

 Making this is really quite simple! You will have your yummy sandwiches in under 30 minutes, including prep time!

  1. Saute the Aromatics. Cook garlic and onion in a non-stick pan until fragrant.
  2. Add Tempeh and Liquid Smoke. Let the tempeh cook for 5 minutes until browned on all sides.
  3. Add BBQ Sauce. Add enough to submerge the tempeh pieces and let them simmer until caramelized.
  4. Serve! Place the tempeh filling in the buns and add your favorite toppings.

completed BBQ Tempeh Sandwich against a white background

 Tips when Making BBQ Tempeh Sandwich

  • If you are using smoked BBQ sauce, you can omit the liquid smoke in this recipe so it does not become overpowering.
  • You can also cook the tempeh patties on a grill if you are making this as part of your backyard BBQ party. Just cook them in a foil packet instead of a pan.
  • If you like to make it spicy, use a spicy BBQ sauce or add some chili powder, cayenne pepper, or red chili flakes to the mix.
  • Make this sandwich free of gluten by using gluten-free buns.
  • Slap some Vegan Coleslaw instead of your usual burger toppings – it is an absolute match made in heaven!

Serving Suggestions

This recipe is quite versatile and can be served in a lot of different ways!

  • Pair your BBQ Tempeh Sandwich with a light salad on the side like Fresh Crunchy Salad with Peanut Dressing or Garbanzo Bean Kale Salad.
  • Instead of placing them on buns, you can also use the tempeh filling to make lettuce wraps! They would be the perfect appetizer for your next BBQ party.
  • Or, you can use them as fillings for tortillas, tacos, and quesadillas too.
  • Make some good old BBQ pizza by using the tempeh pieces as toppings together with some greens, onions, and vegan cheese.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I need to boil or steam the tempeh first before frying? In this recipe, we will be frying them so there is no need to pre-cook the tempeh.
  2. Can I use frozen tempeh? Sure! Just make sure to thaw it on the fridge overnight before using them. If you do not have time to do this, submerge the packet in lukewarm water until it softens.
  3. Can I use other sauces instead of BBQ? That is entirely up to you. Some great options would be teriyaki sauce or sweet and sour sauce.

two completed BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches against a white surface

Storing BBQ Tempeh Sandwich

 If you have any leftovers, place them in a sealable plastic/Stasher bag or tightly lidded container and put them in the fridge for up to three days. They are also freezer-friendly and can be frozen for a month or two. You can reheat using a microwave or stovetop.

Here are some more of our must-try Tempeh Recipes!

  • Ginger Lime Tempeh - This flavor-packed recipe will be a fantastic introduction if you are new to tempeh! Eat it with some plain rice and steamed veggies.
  • Sweet Jalapeño Tempeh Strips - If you're looking to try out more tempeh dishes, these Sweet Jalapeño Tempeh Strips are delicious! They're full of flavor and delicious plant-based protein to keep you fueled throughout your day.
  • Chipotle Lime Street Style Tacos - If you are planning on what to make on your next taco night, then this Chipotle Lime Tacos recipe is precisely what you need. Enjoy the smoky, spicy, and savory tempeh filling nestled in a soft tortilla topped with your choice of veggies!

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

two completed BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches against a white surface

BBQ Tempeh Sandwich

Terrence Paschal
This vegan BBQ Sandwich uses deliciously smoky and savory Tempeh patties nestled between soft, fluffy buns! It is so easy to throw together when needing a quick yet filling lunch or dinner. It's a healthier and lighter alternative that is downright delicious; even meat-eaters will love them!
4.84 from 24 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 484 kcal
METHOD Stove
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package of tempeh diced
  • 2 cups of BBQ sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • ½ small red onion diced
  • ¼ teaspoon of liquid smoke
  • 4 buns
  • Your favorite burger toppings

Instructions
 

  • Cook garlic and onion in a nonstick or lightly oiled pan for 5 minutes.
  • Add tempeh and liquid smoke, continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add BBQ sauce until the tempeh is submerged. Cook for 5 more minutes or until sauce is caramelized.
  • Serve tempeh mix on a bun and top with your favorite burger toppings.

Notes

  • If you are using smoked BBQ sauce, you can omit the liquid smoke in this recipe so it does not become overpowering.
  • You can also cook the tempeh patties on a grill if you are making this as part of your backyard BBQ party. Just cook them in a foil packet instead of a pan.
  • If you like to make it spicy, use a spicy BBQ sauce or add some chili powder, cayenne pepper, or red chili flakes to the mix.
  • Make this sandwich free of gluten by using gluten-free buns.
  • Slap some Vegan Coleslaw instead of your usual burger toppings – it is an absolute match made in heaven!

Nutrition

Calories: 484kcalCarbohydrates: 86gProtein: 17gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 1462mgPotassium: 519mgFiber: 2gSugar: 43gVitamin A: 254IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 111mgIron: 13mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

About Terrence Paschal

Plant based food, micro brews, punk rock, and running are what I am about.

View all posts by Terrence Paschal

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Teodora Grujic says

    Looks like a real comfort food!

  2. Gina House says

    Super delicious sandwich! I love this BBQ Tempeh so much!

  3. Jay says

    OMG this sandwich looks sooo good! YUMMY!

  4. Andrea White says

    This sandwich is epic! So good!

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