Heathen Vegan Tempeh Sandwich Recreation

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)

IMG_3664IMG_3663 What you’ll need:

  • 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.

IMG_3628 IMG_3629While 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.

IMG_3632 IMG_3634 IMG_3635 IMG_3637Thinly 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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10 responses to “Heathen Vegan Tempeh Sandwich Recreation

  1. Pingback: Southwestern Chickpea Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers | Girl Eats Greens·

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