Tempeh Joes

I’m 28 years old.

At the age of 9 when I tasted my first sloppy joe.  And, I still remember the sauce.  Delicious sauce!  I remember seeing the commercials on TV for Manwich sandwiches and see the kids wipe off the red sauce from their mouth with the back of their hand (“I want a Manwich please!”) and wanting my next sloppy joe (and a napkin).

At the age of 13, I had my last sloppy joe.  For no other reason than I moved to high school where sloppy joes were somehow left off the school lunch menu.  And, my Indian mom sure as heck would not be making a sloppy joe at home without adding her own Indian flair to it.  So, in an attempt not to dilute the original, I never requested it.

15 years later…

I bought some tempeh and marinated it in my favorite BBQ sauce.

Ignore the burnt spatula – I love that thing despite what I’ve put it through!

I added it to some sautéed onions, garlic, red and green bell pepper.

And I made my own Tempeh Joes!

And you can’t leave out the slaw (mine was shredded cabbage and carrots quickly warmed in a pan) or the pickle.

I finished and relished every bite!  It brought me back to the cafeteria lunch line, ya’ll – minus the mystery meat, which I discovered at age 15.

Tempeh Joes Recipe

Adapted from here


  • Tempeh, 1 8oz package
  • 1 and 1/4 cup BBQ sauce of your choice*
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • Crumble the tempeh with your hands or a grater until it resembles ground beef.
  • Marinade the tempeh in 1 cup of the BBQ sauce.  I added 1 tsp of Tabasco for a kick.
  • While the tempeh is marinating, prepare your veggies.
  • Heat non-stick pan over med-high heat.
  • Once heated, add oil and wait to heat over same heat.
  • Add onions, garlic, jalapeno (optional), and saute until soft.
  • Add red and green bell peppers and continue to cook until tender and the onions have browned.
  • Add the tempeh and the BBQ sauce to the veggie mix.
  • Cook until heated and cooked through.
  • *Add the 1/4 cup BBQ sauce and cook until warm.
  • Serve on toasted buns (*snicker*)!

*Note:  I like my Tempeh Joes on the saucy side.  If you do not, then omit the 1/4 cup of BBQ and do not add it at the end.

This was my first experience with tempeh and it definitely won’t be my last!

P.S. I made a killer dressing to the slaw that’s creamy without any dairy!  That post is coming up soon! 🙂

Do you cook with tempeh?  If so, what do you do?  What’s your favorite way to cook it?


Filed under Dinner, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

16 responses to “Tempeh Joes

  1. I was just thinking about what in the world I was going to make for lunch with my block of tempeh, and here you are inspiring me! BBQ sauce marinated tempeh it is! 🙂

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  3. oOOOooO that meal looks delicious! I use tempeh once in a while–and I love the texture it has! Have you tried WHOLE FOODS’ Bone Suckin’ BBQ sauce?! I bet it would be great with you dish.

  4. I love tempeh but usually I just eat it alone. This is GREAT! I’ll have to try this!

  5. That is a genius idea for tempeh, I’m always looking for new and fun creative ways to use tempeh! Looks yummy too. 🙂

  6. So would your mom make curry sloppy joes?? I am intrigued by that, well, the answer at least since me no likey the curry.

    I love sloppy joe’s and can remember the taste if I think really hard since it’s been awhile but I am loving your spin on it. And the slaw. The whole shebang! It’s like a big plate of comfort and I am a comfort girl all the way.

    I’ve only made tempeh in tacos and spaghetti but I am always looking for new ways to mix it up!

  7. This looks so good!! I think my dad had some choice words about Sloppy Joe’s too – I think it’s an Indian thing?

  8. These look great!
    I’ve never cooked with tempeh, but I get it when I’m at a restaurant. It’s a little intimidating to me……

  9. I’ve never had tempeh before…I have to admit, vegetarian products scare me sometimes. But I would definitely try it! Looks really good 🙂

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  11. I never liked sloppy joes growing up. I never knew what they were really so I guess that has something to do with it. Tempeh? yes

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