Smoky Tempeh Sandwich with Sundried Tomato Pesto

tempehHello friends,
While I am away on holiday over the next few weeks, I will continue to post recipes just not full articles. Enjoy!

One thing I love about being in America are the amazing sandwiches you can get just about anywhere. On our California honeymoon I ate my fair share, and although Kauai seems rather far away from the mainland, there are health food stores selling amazing things between two slices of bread all over this island. Hoorah!

The other thing I love about America is the accessibility to foods like tempeh. Very hard to come by in Denmark, tempeh is a staple of my diet when I spend summers back home in Canada. Tempeh is a fermented soy “cake” that is super high in protein, phytonutrients, and minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, and copper. Although it may sound a little strange, I assure you that tempeh is delicious, and a fabulous food to supplement any diet whether you are vegetarian or not. I will also emphasize that I do not eat any non-fermented soy foods, such as tofu, but tempeh is high on my love list because it is highly digestible. If you have never tried tempeh before, this amazing sandwich would be a great way to give it a shot.


I should mention that this sandwich was a last-minute addition to my travel food picnic basket. It kept really well for a few hours until the combination of temptation and sheer airplane boredom took hold. The sandwich is incredibly delicious. Spicy, smoky, tangy, juicy and crunchy – it really has it all going on. The pesto is a wonderful thing to make and have on hand in the fridge to perk up other kinds of sandwiches, or pastas, eggs, grain salads or roasted veggies. And the tempeh can be saved for more than just a sandwich. Try it crumbled up in a salad, or even served on the side of a savory breakfast.



  1. valerie {all mussed up}

    I grew up on tempeh in Asia, and was thrilled to find that the ethnic groceries here in the Netherlands stock it, and for cheap! It is endlessly riffable — I love all the different flavours it can pull off.

  2. Sara


    A mouth-watering and inspiration post as usual :) I was just talking to my (very non-vegetarian, anti-healthy-food) father about tempeh today, and was trying to explain why fermented soy products were more healthful, or perhaps less dodgy, than non-fermented ones. If you ever felt the desire to share them, I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue–either in post form or otherwise!

    Happy vacation!

  3. Peanut

    Lucky the american, then! Here in Italy not only it’s not easy to find, you have to go in little organic food shops, but it’s reaally expensive! That’s why I’ve eaten it only twice, although i’d really enjoy it :(
    This sandwich is amazing!
    I hope things will be changing…

  4. Julia

    another zinger!!! this Canadian gal has a nice little stash of tempeh in the freezer.. waiting for this sandwich recipe!! i am so totally pumped to try this!! i have everything at home to make it!! thanks SO much sarah b. .. Aloha! xx

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  6. Kirsten

    Hey, hope you found Papaya’s (health food store) and Mermaid’s on Kauai Sarah! I love Kauai — going there in two weeks!!!

  7. Kristy

    I absolutely love your blog and have been reading for quite a while now:) I love that I can take your recipes and sometimes just tweak the flour used(I have children with food allergies, one of them being wheat, so I normally switch spelt out with oat and quinoa flour) and make them an awesome dessert without refined sugar it it. Their birthday cakes have become awesome from your recipes:) dairy being one allergy as well we have never used cows milk and used soy for a little bit but then heard things about estrogen and that kind of stuff about soy…I also hear that about 98% of soy is GMO too…so I also would love to hear your thoughts about different types of soy. I would love to be able to add a new thing in my children’s limited diet:) thanks so much! Enjoy your vacation!

  8. Abi

    Such a great combination of flavors. I’m gonna try making this. How long can I keep it outside specially with avocados?

  9. Sasha

    This sandwich certainly puts boring sandwiches everywhere in their place! I love the flavour combinations you came up with here.

    Because tempeh is quite difficult to find here in Germany as well, I wonder if you have any experience making it from scratch? No rush to answer (enjoy Paradise!), but after a quick search it seems to be quite a lengthy process and I’m not sure if I would have any more luck finding soy beans. That said, I’m curious if you’ve made it and if you have any tips to pass on.

  10. betsy shipley

    Check out our website for our easy method for making tempeh at home.
    We have people in Sweden, England and Germany, that we know of, making the best tempeh using our method.
    We produced Betsy’s Tempeh in Michigan for 9 1/2 years and customers loved our tempeh that was similar to the tempeh eaten in Indonesia.
    Feel free to write with questions/comments.
    Betsy Shipley

  11. Heartybite

    Oh Sarah words cannot describe how grateful & happy we are ( we = my belly and I ) for your magical recipes! They all turn out great at the first try and every time I think to myself: I got a new favourite – but then you come up with something new and this turns into the most desired and so on…! You are beyond wonderful & talented, and everytime I am taking a bite of one of yours I am smiling. Cannot wait to finally meet you & thank you in person in Amsterdam! This pesto – on bread, nothing left to say!

  12. Yohann

    I have been craving sundried tomato pesto for a long time. Can’t wait for those summer fruits and vegetables!!! I comfort myself with tapenade (olive paste) in the meantime.

  13. Tania

    Just wondering what the difference is using hot water vs. room temp when making the tomato pesto?

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  16. Courtney

    I was just craving some sun dried tomato pesto and gave this recipe a whirl today, minus the sweetener but plus a dash of balsamic, and it was great. Smeared on a homemade buckwheat flatbread (I call it pizza just because I can!) with some broccoli, artichokes, spinach and roasted red peppers. I’ll give the tempeh a try next!

  17. julie winnington

    I made a measurment mistake with the tempeh marinade and made 3 times the amount! So I baked the tempeh pretty immersed in the marinade for 12 minutes, then took it out put it on a baking sheet with grapeseed oil and baked it another 12 minutes, turned out great and now I have more marinade left over! My carnivorous family loved the smell…converts?

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  19. sam bickley

    just tailored it for lunch and found something to do with those dried toms in the cupboard at last. lovely xx

  20. Jana

    hello there dear gourmet-angel:-))) the pesto is such an yummy threat on a piece of bread with some avocado slices! made it last weekend and as advised by you I kept the soaking water of the tomatoes (which was used afterwards for a great risotto), you rock:-))) happy sunny+smily week from tulipland!
    PS: I got the tempeh too (happy to be able to find it here in the organic supermarkets or in the Asian ones), making the (whole) sandwich for the coming weekend, when I have friends visit for flower-fields-sightseeing!uuuuupie:-)

  21. Rachel

    no tempeh in the house, but the picture was so tempting, I made the sandwich with marinated and baked tofu. Basil instead of salad greens. Delish!

  22. ami

    I just made this recipe! Was really easy. I opted for the toasted nuts, honey and salt in the pesto. To top it all off I went to our local 100 year old artisanal bakery and got some beautiful sourdough. I will definitely make this again. Great recipe Sarah.

    * Ami from Byron Bay Australia <3

  23. Lana

    I made this for myself and a visiting friend and we absolutely loved it! Followed the recipe to a “T” (except I used a combination of paprika and chili powder for the tempeh marinade) and it the flavor combinations were to die for!! Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe(s)!

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  26. Carmen

    Really delicious!
    Just finished for dinner my partner and my little baby!
    Indeed we enjoyed!!!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  29. Maria

    I made this and I liked it. My tempeh turned out a bit bitter tasting, but otherwise it was good. I’m thinking about using chickpeas instead of pumpkinseeds for the pesto next time, making it a sort of hummus.

  30. Lindsey

    The marinade used for the tempeh has quickly become one of my all time favorites. Thank you so very much.

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  36. Serena

    This was absolutely incredible! I find tempeh is really expensive where I am from as it’s only available in the organic foods store but it was so so worth it for this, so good and perfect for my friend who is allergic to nuts as the pesto is nut-free! love your blog so much

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