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.
Smoky Tempeh Sandwich with Sundried Tomato Pesto
Makes 1 sandwich
2 slices wholegrain sourdough bread
a few slices Smoky Tempeh
a generous slather of Sundried Tomato Pesto
¼ – ½ ripe avocado
plenty of salad greens (spinach, butter lettuce, arugula etc.)
cracked black pepper
1 package tempeh 7oz. / 200g
1 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. melted coconut oil or ghee
1 tsp. smoked hot paprika or ground chipotle
1. Slice the tempeh into slabs or long strips, depending on the shape of your block of tempeh.
2. In an oven-proof dish whisk together all other ingredients. Place the tempeh in a single layer covering the bottom of the dish, then flip each piece so that it is coated with the marinade on both sides.
3. Place in a 375°F / 190°C oven for 20-30 minutes until the tempeh has absorbed the marinade. Remove from oven and let cool until you are ready to make your sandwiches.
Sundried Tomato Pesto
Makes about 1 cup
1/3 cup / 50g organic sundried tomatoes
2/3 cup / 150ml hot water
½ cup / 65 g pumpkin seeds
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
salt to taste, if desired
1 tsp. raw honey (or maple syrup) if desired
1. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and cover with just-boiled water. Let soak until soft, about 30 minutes.
2. In a dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the pumpkin seeds until they puff up and smell nutty. Be careful not to burn them! If you want a completely raw pesto, skip this step or soak the seeds overnight to activate them.
3. Drain the tomatoes through a strainer over another bowl to catch the water – you need to save the liquid for the pesto as it contains many nutrients and tons of flavour.
4. In a food processor, pulse peeled garlic to mince. Add all other ingredients, except salt and sweetener, and blend on high until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt or sweetener if desired. Store in a tightly sealed glass container in the fridge for up to one week. Enjoy on sandwiches, with eggs, on pasta, or as a dressing on grain salads and fresh veggies.
1. Toast bread if desired.
2. Slater one half of the bread with Sundried Tomato Pesto. Place sliced avocado on top of the pesto, followed by tempeh and greens. Serve immediately and enjoy, or wrap up for a picnic later in the day.