I am still in love with a sandwich I ate at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner in Madison, WI this past December. It was simply amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I am attempting with all my might to recreate it. It was a rich, kind of tangy, tempeh and mushroom goodness. I really couldn’t put my finger on what exactly made it so good. Which makes it all the harder to try and recreate. I have to admit, I didn’t get it quite right. Monty’s was still a bit richer, mine a bit saltier. But never fear, I will try again. In the meantime, this take on the Heathen Vegan was definitely good and blog-worthy so I couldn’t help but share it. If you’re looking for a sandwich that’s extremely hearty almost meaty, you’ve come to the right place. Though be patient, this recipe calls for marinating and slow cooking. If you’re in a rush, maybe come back to this another day. But if you have some time, it’s definitely worth it. (and it’s mostly inactive time anyway – perfect for multitasking)
- 1 8-12 ounce package tempeh
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
- 3/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (or regular, I just happened to have white on hand)
- 1 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoons agave nectar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup hummus
- 2 teaspoons harissa
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- hearty, crusty bread
- avocado for topping
If you’re like me, and find tempeh to be bitter at times, start by steaming the tempeh for about 10 minutes. This doesn’t have to be a fancy process. I used a pan and a metal strainer.
While the tempeh is steaming, go ahead and slice the mushrooms and onions. I was super excited to break out a new kitchen tool for this. My mom got me this amazing slicer for Christmas and it was perfect for this scenario. If you don’t have a fancy gadget, just try to slice the onion as thin as you can.
Thinly slice the tempeh when it’s done steaming. Whisk together the vinegars, soy sauce, garlic powder, cayenne, agave, oil, and liquid smoke. Layer the onions, mushrooms, and tempeh into a shallow pan. Pour the vinegar and spice mixture over top. Cover, and let it marinate overnight.
The next morning, separate out the onions and mushrooms, and cook them a bit over medium heat in a greased skillet. You’ll want the onions to be fully cooked to cut some of their strong flavor and let them get a little caramelized. Add the tempeh at the end for a little searing action.
Then add the marinade, tempeh, mushrooms and onions to a slow cooker on low. Add one cup of water and cover. Let the mixture simmer for 4-5 hours. When you’re ready to eat, mix the hummus, harissa, and lemon juice for a spicy sauce for the sandwich.
Slather the hummus on crusty bread, top with onions, mushrooms and tempeh and sliced avocado. I served the sandwich open-faced because it was so huge. This sandwich was definitely a hit with R. It is pretty manly. Or just made for a large appetite. It wasn’t quite the same as Monty’s but will definitely find a place in our regular rotation. And I could see serving this to non-vegans and having it go over quite well.