Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tempt Me, Smoky Tempeh

Liquid smoke is the best-kept dirty little secret of vegetarian cooking.

No, vege-heads don't eat meat. And no, most of us don't even miss meat.

But if you flash that smoky, meat-hungry seasoning in front of my nostrils, my olfactory glands go wild. I start salivating. My eyes might even bug out. Let's just say that you'd better not be standing between me and that tiny bottle of liquid smoke.

Tonight, we indulged in the best-kept dirty little secret of vegetarian sammies: Smoked Tempeh Sandwiches with Sauerkraut and veggies. It's no secret that I'm a freak for vege-head sandwiches. Better yet, I'm darn close to passionate about tempeh (who would have thought a girl could be passionate about fermented soybeans?)

But when my daring husband added liquid smoke into the mix, it was obvious that I would enter a food coma within 8 minutes of taking my last bite.

Adam seeped our sliced tempeh in a smoky marinade all day. Then, we topped homemade bread with the tempeh, sauteed onions and peppers, sour kraut, and some chopped bread n' butter pickles. While tonight's dish was vegan-licious for sure, you could certainly add some Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese crumbles if your dairy-loving heart desires.

Let me tempt you with tempeh tonight...

Smoked Tempeh & Sauerkraut Sammies
(Marinade recipe from Veganomicon)

For best results, be sure to let you tempeh marinade for at least 90 minutes. As mentioned above, you can keep it vegan-licious, or add some cheese if you're craving the dairy :)

Marinade Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. tempeh, sliced
  • 3/4 cup veggie broth
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBSP liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
Sandwich ingredients:
  • Homemade bread or sandwich buns
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of sauerkraut, drained
  • optional: sweet pickles, finely chopped

1) To prepare the marinade: Mix together marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place tempeh slices in a shallow dish and pour marinade over the top. Allow tempeh to soak in the marinade for 1 - 2 hours, turning tempeh occasionally to make sure both sides get soaked.

2) Heat a dash of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place tempeh in the skillet in a single layer and pour half the marinade over top; saute until the bottom of the tempeh is lightly browned. Flip the tempeh and pour the remaining marinade over top. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and tempeh appears done (about 6 minutes per side). Remove tempeh from the skillet and set aside.

3) Using the same skillet (with the tempeh removed!), heat a dash of olive oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onions, and garlic and cook until nicely browned, about 7 - 8 minutes.

4) To assemble sandwiches: Pile your bread or bun high with tempeh, sauteed onions and peppers, sauerkraut, and pickles. Revel in the smoky goodness.


  1. Oh, lady. I could just kill for some grill-flavor, especially at this time of year. Adam gets an 11/10 for masterminding that arrangement!

  2. I remember your collard greens with liquid smoke! I have to admit that I still catch myself craving chicken occasionally, but some sort of chick'n comes to the rescue. :) Smokey tempeh sounds like another great fix!

  3. I don't know what tempeh is.... but you know what... My eye went straight for the plate... I love the red paisleys... you know if I tried (if I wanted to, not that I do right now).. go vegan here... I would starv.... or break my brain trying to figure out what has meat and what doesn't...

  4. I've always been put off by the liquid smoke thing. I have never tried it so I shouldn't say anything. I should actually try it just to see, especially since you think so highly of it! :)

  5. Mmm, I love smoky flavors, but have always been intimidated to use liquid smoke. Your tempeh looks and sounds phenom!

  6. Ooh those would be good with some bleu cheese crumbles -- yum!

    I've never used Liquid Smoke -- I've seen chefs use it on cooking shows, Top Chef, etc.

  7. yum! i'll have to try this with some black bean tempeh that I've been storing in my fridge.

    Natural liquid smoke is pretty darn lovely!

  8. I've never even heard of liquid smoke before! Where do you get it?

  9. I finally tried liquid smoke in a recipe the other day. It was so good! I couldn't believe it really added that smokey flavor. I don't miss meat, but I DO want to try this tempeh recipe!!