marinated tempeh sandwich with a quick & easy peanut sauce

8th December 2009


In Australia at Sunshine Beach earlier this year, I did most of my food shopping at the Eumundi Markets.  There was a stall called ‘Gourmet Roast Tempeh’.  It was a fantastic organic stall with a mountain of freshly grown knobbly ginger and fresh turmeric root.  There were also crispy broccoli, different types of Chinese greens, bunches and bunches of fresh coriander, and this delicious marinated tempeh.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me to capture all that beauty, but I did come away inspired to make my own marinated tempeh.

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Sunshine Beach, QLD, Australia

Tempeh is a soybean cake made by fermenting cooked soybeans.  It has an aroma that would be best described as mushroom-like.  Because tempeh uses the whole bean (unlike tofu), it contains all its nutrients and can be considered a whole food.  Tempeh is super high in protein, fibre, phytonutrients, vitamin B2 and minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, and copper.  The fermentation increases the digestibility (especially its proteins), its nutrient absorption, and most importantly, it deactivates the phytates and enzyme inhibitors present in beans.

Always check the “sell by” date.  It should have one, and you should ensure it is as fresh as possible.


marinated tempeh sandwich

I always make more than I need for the marinade, as it is handy to have on hand to spruce up a meal.  

marinated tempeh

1 packet/200g tempeh

cup tamari

¼ cup maple syrup

2 Tbsp mirin

1 heaped Tbsp freshly grated ginger

for the sandwiches

whole-grain sourdough bread

peanut sauce (recipe below)

avocado slices

fresh salad greens (lettuce, arugula, coriander, etc.)

grated carrot and beetroot

freshly cracked pepper

prepare the marinated tempeh

1. Mix the tamari, maple syrup, mirin, and grated ginger in a screw-top jar.

2.  Place the tempeh in a small shallow tray, pour over ¼ cup marinade and allow it to marinate for 30 minutes – 1 hour, then turn the tempeh over and marinate for another 30 minutes. The longer it sits in the marinade, the stronger the flavours.  Any leftover tempeh can sit in the fridge in a sealed container for 7 days.

3.  Slice the tempeh into slabs and use the leftover marinade in the peanut sauce below.

4.  Heat a spoonful of ghee/oil in a skillet; lightly saute both sides until golden.  Remove from heat and set aside.

assemble the sandwich

5. Slather a slice of bread with the peanut sauce.  Place slices of avocado on top, followed by the tempeh, lots of greens, grated beetroot and carrot. Drizzle with more peanut sauce if needed.

Serve immediately and enjoy, or wrap up to take to work later that day.

If you are trying to avoid bread, wrap everything in a large lettuce leaf and drizzle lavishly in peanut sauce.  If you have time,  slice up fennel rounds and sweet potato slices, saute until a little charred in a very hot skillet and add to the sandwich or wrap.

For a salad, toss in a bowl big handfuls of garden fresh salad greens, fresh coriander, grated carrot, beetroot, thin slices of red pepper, finely chopped fennel, avocado and some cooked quinoa/millet/rice.  Place tiny cubes of marinated tempeh in a hot skillet with some oil and saute until golden.  Add to the salad and drizzle with peanut sauce, an extra squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

easy peanut sauce

makes about 1 cup


⅓ cup organic peanut butter

4 Tbsp tamari marinade sauce (above)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

¼½ tsp hot paprika or chilli powder

½ cup hot water


1.  In a bowl, combine the peanut butter, tamari marinade sauce, lemon juice and chilli powder and slowly pour in hot water, stirring between each addition until a creamy thick sauce has formed.

2.  Taste and adjust by adding more tamari sauce, lemon or sweetener (honey/maple syrup).  It should be thick enough to spread – you can thin it out later for more of a drizzling sauce.


references –

Shared goodness from Stacey

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