BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches with Apple Slaw

Barbeque sandwiches with crunchy apple slaw just scream summertime, don’t they?

BBQ Tempeh Burgers with Apple Slaw (85)

When I saw this recipe on Kristin’s blog, I immediately started drooling. She’s always whipping up something incredible in her kitchen and I just can’t resist trying to recreate vegetarian friendly versions of her food.

BBQ Tempeh Burgers with Apple Slaw (91)

After listening to Michael Pollen’s book, it sparked my curiosity on the wonders of fermentation and started me on a bit of a tempeh kick.  Tempeh bacon BLT’s, tempeh lettuce wraps with peanut sauce (recipe to come soon!), and now tempeh barbeque sandwiches. I just can’t get enough!

BBQ Tempeh Burgers with Apple Slaw (11)

If you’ve never heard of tempeh, it’s basically just fermented soybeans (read: full of healthy probiotics) lumped together in a square.

BBQ Tempeh Burgers with Apple Slaw (16)

I know, it doesn’t sound or look very pretty (and I need a new cutting board) but after you smother it in your favorite sauce it’s great, I promise! It isn’t mushy like tofu and it can actually be very versatile. Oh, and did I mention how healthy it is?

If you haven’t tried it, I urge you to be brave and give it a go!

Whether or not you make these sandwiches with tempeh or chicken, you have to try them with the apple slaw. It’s incredibly easy to make and it pairs perfectly with the gouda and barbeque sauce.

BBQ Tempeh Burgers with Apple Slaw (41)  BBQ Tempeh Burgers with Apple Slaw (42)

I’m telling ya’, that Iowa Girl knows where it’s at.

By the way, if you’re a vegan, you can always make this sandwich using agave in place of the honey as well as vegan cheese instead of gouda.

And making the barbeque sauce yourself does add on some extra work so feel free to marinade the tempeh in your favorite bottled barbeque sauce to save time, if you please.


BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches with Apple Slaw

Click to Print this Recipe!

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats


  • 1 (8 ounce) package organic tempeh, sliced vertically into 16 strips
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey (use agave for vegan version)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 slices smoked gouda
  • 4 buns

Apple Slaw

  • 2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • dash of salt & pepper

Makes 4 large sandwiches


  1. Start by combining all of the ingredients for the sauce (starting with the ketchup and ending with chili powder) in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for about thirty minutes.
  3. Remove sauce from heat and transfer to a shallow bowl or dish.
  4. Place tempeh in the bowl and coat well with the barbeque sauce. Allow to marinate for an hour.
  5. Start to prepare slaw about 10 minutes prior to cooking tempeh so that the apples don’t brown. For the slaw, combine ingredients from olive oil down in a large bowl and mix well.
  6. Add the sliced cabbage and apples to the bowl and toss until well coated.
  7. To cook the tempeh you can either bake it at 400°F for about 10 minutes on each side or you can cook it in a skillet sprayed with non-stick spray over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. Reserve the left over sauce in the bowl after cooking the tempeh.
  8. Place 4 strips of tempeh on each bun and top with remaining sauce and a slice of gouda. Broil for about 2 minutes so that the cheese is melted.
  9. Top with apple slaw and second half of bun and serve.

BBQ Tempeh Burgers with Apple Slaw (68)














I really loved this recipe and will definitely be making it again!



Have you ever tried tempeh?

Do you prefer spicy or sweet barbeque sauce?

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{ 31 comments… add one }

  • Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl July 24, 2013, 6:47 pm

    Tempeh is the BEST and this sounds SOOO good. I cannot wait to try it! :)
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  • Christine @ Gotta Eat Green July 25, 2013, 2:25 am

    It wasn’t love at first bite with tempeh, but I am slowly getting used to it. I can’t eat it alone, without any sauce, but in a sandwich like this it taste great! I guess it is kind of like tofu for me… at first I couldn’t stomach or handle the texture/flavor but now I can’t get enough of it!
    Christine @ Gotta Eat Green recently posted…Frothy Cantaloupe SlushiesMy Profile

    • Sarah July 25, 2013, 12:19 pm

      Oh, I could never eat it plain!! Blech.

  • Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies July 25, 2013, 4:42 am

    I looooooove BBQ sauce. Unhealthy obsession, probably. This sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try it out!
    Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies recently posted…Udi’s Gluten Free Review + Giveaway!My Profile

  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles July 25, 2013, 4:57 am

    Considering that I loved Kristin’s version, I think it’s safe to say that I would adore this one too ;-) I’ve only tried tempeh a couple of times, and I wasn’t really a fan – I bought the premarinated stuff and I wasn’t a big fan of the flavour, which I’m pretty sure was my only problem with it. I keep meaning to try a different one though!
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…Why I Subscribe to Your Blog.My Profile

  • Sara @ Fit.Fun.Femme July 25, 2013, 6:16 am

    I really don’t know how you do it – I want to eat everything you post…that NEVER happens to me on other food blogs. I have never tried Tempeh (mostly because I’m intimidated) but really want to after seeing these mouth watering pictures. Yet another MTFH recipe I am printing and planning to make. Thanks Sarah!

    • Sarah July 25, 2013, 12:11 pm

      You’re like, my own personal cheerleader. It’s awesome, thank you! :)

  • Jaclyn July 25, 2013, 6:21 am

    I’ve never cooked with tempeh…but I’d love to try it. I think this recipe would be a good way to introduce it into my life!
    Jaclyn recently posted…A Weekend With The Sister I Never HadMy Profile

  • Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness July 25, 2013, 6:41 am

    That sandwich looks like the epitome of summer! that apple slaw looks so refreshing and bbq tempeh- amazing idea!! also i LOVE the photos on the red checkered place mat!!
    Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness recently posted…Top 8 Signs You’re a LouisaMy Profile

  • Nicole @ FruitnFitness July 25, 2013, 7:16 am

    This sounds good, I have been wanting to try tempeh after seeing it on some of the vegetarian blogs. It sounds interesting and BBQ flavors are some of my favorite.
    Nicole @ FruitnFitness recently posted…healthy snack optionsMy Profile

  • Katherine July 25, 2013, 7:43 am

    Sarah, as per usual, your pictures are gorgeous! Seriously your photography always blows my mind! I had tempeh the other day at a vegetarian restaurant and it was amazing! This looks so good. And the apple slaw? Yum!
    Katherine recently posted…Georgia On My Mind.My Profile

    • Sarah July 25, 2013, 12:09 pm

      Katherine you are too sweet! Your pictures are amazing too! The apple slaw was so good, I wanted to go give Kristin a hug.

  • Ashlee@HisnHers July 25, 2013, 9:47 am

    These look delicious! I can’t wait to try them. Did your guy like them? I wonder if I could trick the hubby into eating then!
    Ashlee@HisnHers recently posted…Taco Night + Sweaty Interval RunMy Profile

    • Sarah July 25, 2013, 12:07 pm

      Brandon loved them but he’s a vegetarian too so he’s used to eating weird stuff. But when it’s smothered in barbeque sauce, it’s pretty tasty! It’s worth a shot!

  • FitBritt@MyOwnBalance July 25, 2013, 10:25 am

    I love Kristin’s blog as well! Your photos look really good! I’ve never tried tempeh and I’m a little nervous. I gotta be honest it does not look that appetizing but if you say it’s good then I gotta trust you, right?
    FitBritt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…National Dance Day Plus a Giveaway to Get Your Groove On!My Profile

    • Sarah July 25, 2013, 12:06 pm

      Well, I can’t guarantee you’ll like it. I don’t want you to try it and hate it and then think I’m full of it. But I think it’s worth trying! You just have to keep in mind that it’s a healthy alternative so it’s not going to be all juicy and meaty. :)

  • Liz @ I Heart Vegetables July 25, 2013, 6:30 pm

    That looks SO delicious! YUM!! I love new recipes for tempeh!

  • Beth @ Motor City on my Mind July 26, 2013, 6:46 am

    I have all but three of the ingredients for this recipe at home which means I need to make it. I tried cooking with tofu once and it was not a hit! So I’d love to give Tempeh a try! Thanks for the recipe it looks delicious! :)
    Beth @ Motor City on my Mind recently posted…Ouch.My Profile

  • Nicole July 26, 2013, 12:05 pm

    Oohh yum! I’ve had tempeh but don’t typically buy it to cook at home – but you’ve convinced me that I need to!
    Nicole recently posted…Five Random Things This FridayMy Profile

  • Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition July 26, 2013, 12:33 pm

    Love BBQ Tempeh!
    Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition recently posted…5 Things Yoga has Taught me about LifeMy Profile

  • Jenni July 26, 2013, 1:45 pm

    I love tempeh! I’m actually kind of obsessed with it. I’m not vegan, but I think I might like tempeh more than I like meat. These sandwiches look delicious, especially because in addition to tempeh, I’m also a barbecue sauce lover.
    Jenni recently posted…Early Bird BreakfastMy Profile

  • Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies July 26, 2013, 4:10 pm

    BBQ tempeh sandwiches are one of my favorite easy meals–I have a recipe for them on my blog too! :)
    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies recently posted…What I Ate This Week | Corn Chowder, Zucchini Fries & Too Many Long BeansMy Profile

    • Sarah July 28, 2013, 8:02 pm

      I’m sure you have just about every great vegetarian/vegan meal known to man on your blog, it’s awesome! :)

  • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats July 26, 2013, 8:06 pm

    I love my tempeh, it is really really good! This recipe looks so delicious, I love the idea of adding apple to coleslaw like that.

    P.S. I need to say it now every time because every time it is true but great photos ;)
    Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted…Friday Favourites #21My Profile

    • Sarah July 28, 2013, 8:00 pm

      Yay for tempeh lovers! And you’re too kind, thank you for the compliment! :)

  • Alex@Veggin' Out July 27, 2013, 4:53 am

    I’ve been having a BBQ sandwich craving so this looks absolutely perfect! Love that you used smoked gouda. And I bet that apple slaw adds some nice crunch. :)
    Alex@Veggin’ Out recently posted…5k Recap!My Profile

  • melissa @ my whole food life July 27, 2013, 6:48 am

    I just LOVE tempeh and will be trying this soon. Pinning!
    melissa @ my whole food life recently posted…Chocolate Peanut Butter FudgeMy Profile

    • Sarah July 28, 2013, 8:00 pm

      Thanks Melissa! :)

  • Elizabeth @ Elizabeth's Garden Kitchen July 29, 2013, 12:10 pm

    Yummy! I love tempeh but have not tried it BBQ style. I think my husband would be a huge fan of this recipe too.
    Elizabeth @ Elizabeth’s Garden Kitchen recently posted…Tofu-Mushroom-Kale Brunch ScrambleMy Profile

  • Alexis @ Hummusapien July 29, 2013, 4:00 pm

    I’ve made BBQ tempeh (in the form of sloppy joes) before and I loved it! That slaw looks fab too–love the addition of apples. YUM. I’ve been so anxious to read Michael Pollen’s new book. “In Defense of Food” is like my bible :)

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