The Health Benefits Of Tempeh, Ways To Prepare It, And Hearty Tempeh Reuben Sandwich Recipe

Hearty Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

Hearty Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

Where do you get your protein? This is by far the most common question asked to those who adhere to a plant-based diet. Although there are many answers to this question (examples: quinoa, lentils, beans, split peas, tofu, seeds, greens, etc.), my #1 favorite source of plant-based protein is tempeh.

Tempeh is a traditional soy product that originated in Indonesia, and is made from whole soybeans which are bound into a cake-like form through a natural fermentation process. I love its firm texture and earthy flavor which is perfect for those times when I crave a hearty meal. Since tempeh retains the whole soybean when it’s made, it has a high content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins such as manganese and copper. In fact, it’s a complete protein food that contains all the essential amino acids.

Tempeh is full of healthy probiotics or “good bacteria” which you would typically associate with yogurt because it’s fermented. The enzymes produced by tempeh’s fermentation process helps your body fight bad bacteriabetter absorb important nutrients like iron, and aid in the digestive process.

Not only does tempeh’s fermentation process produce natural antibiotic agents, but it leaves desirable soy isoflavones intact. Soy isoflavones have many health benefits such as strengthening bones, easing menopausal symptoms (I’m going to eat more!), and reducing risk of coronary heart disease and some cancers.

Although I’ve always loved tempeh (even before I became vegan), I always found it a little tricky to prepare. I usually cut it into strips, marinate it in soy sauce, and pan-fry it with some garlic and onions.

I thought it might be helpful if I provided you with these 5 Simple Ways To Prepare Tempeh which I found on the website The Kitchn.



Adapted From The Kitchn

1. Steamed

Place sliced tempeh in a saucepan and cover with water or vegetable broth. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove the tempeh and proceed with marinating, grilling, baking, or otherwise seasoning and cooking it.

2. Marinated

Cut an 8-ounce block of tempeh into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Marinate for 10-20 minutes in a mixture of Bragg’s liquid aminos (1/4 cup), rice wine vinegar (1 tablespoon), sesame oil (1/2 teaspoon), and minced garlic (1-2 cloves). Pan-fry over medium heat until golden brown and crispy.

*Other possible tempeh marinade ingredients include soy sauce, vinegar, citrus juice, coconut milk, peanut butter, ginger, spices, or sweeteners like maple syrup or agave nectar.

3. Thinly sliced

Slice tempeh about 1/4 inch thick. Grill or pan-fry in a bit of oil and/or soy sauce until edges turn crispy.

4. Blackened

Brush tempeh patties with oil, coat them with a prepared Cajun-style seasoning, and sear in a hot frying pan. Let the spices smoke for 5-10 seconds to blacken.

*You can also make your own spice mixture with equal parts paprika, cayenne, black pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried thyme, and salt.

5. Crumbled into sauces and stews

Add crumbled, grated, or cubed tempeh to spaghetti sauce, stew, chili, or curry.


My favorite way to eat tempeh is in a Hearty Reuben Tempeh Sandwich. Not only does my brother Matt ask me to make tempeh reubens every time he plans to visit me, but Matisyahu told me when I met him that he absolutely loves tempeh reuben sandwiches.

My favorite recipe for tempeh reuben sandwiches comes from The Candle Cafe Cookbook, one of My Top “Go-To” Vegan Cookbooks. It takes a bit of fussing to make them, but it’s worth it. Personally speaking, I think every plant-based foodie should have a great tempeh reuben sandwich recipe in their repertoire. Don’t you? I hope you enjoy it.

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Hearty Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

Hearty Tempeh Reuben Sandwich


From The Candle Cafe Cookbook

Makes 4 sandwiches


1 cup apple juice

2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar

1/4 cup shoyu or tamari soy sauce

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 slices of fresh ginger

2  8-ounce packages tempeh, cut in half horizontally, then cut into 4 squares per package

8 slices of rye bread

1/2 cup sauerkraut

1 cup caramelized onions (recipe below)

Russian dressing (recipe below)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or prepare a charcoal, gas, or stovetop grill.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the apple juice, maple syrup or agave nectar, shoyu or tamari soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Place the tempeh in a baking dish, add the marinade, and let sit for 30 minutes.

3. Bake the tempeh for 30 minutes, or if using a grill, cook over medium-hot heat for 2 to 3 minutes a side, basting with the marinade.

4. To assemble each sandwich, place 2 squares of cooked tempeh on a slice of rye bread and top with sauerkraut and onions. Spread a tablespoon of Russian Dressing on the other slice of bread. Place on top of the sandwich and slice in half.


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1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 onions, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon sea salt


In a sauté pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and salt, and cook, stirring often, until the onions begin to caramelize and turn a rich deep brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.


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Makes 1 cup


1/2 cup vegan mayo (Vegenaise or make your own)

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup stone-ground mustard

1/4 cup finely chopped onion


In a small bowl, mix together the Vegan Mayo, ketchup, mustard, and onion until well combined. Chill for at least an hour before serving. The dressing will keep, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.










  1. This looks so delicious! I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t really know what tempeh was or how it was different. I love rueben sandwiches so I’m definitely going to make this. Can you get tempeh in most Whole Foods and stores like that?

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