Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

This hearty vegan sandwich is one of my favorite tempeh recipes. A creamy spread and lots of veggies perfectly accent the smoky marinated tempeh.

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwich on a plate

Someone recently asked me – when do you use tempeh? I responded with, “when I’m tired of tofu and chickpeas… that’s when it’s tempeh time :)” To be honest, no one really knocks down my door begging for more tempeh recipes, but since that interview, I’ve had it on the brain. Tempeh is delicious, so let’s make it!

What is tempeh?

In my opinion, tempeh is a must-try ingredient if you have a plant-based diet or are interested in eating less meat. Unlike tofu, it has a dense, compact texture that’s wonderfully meat-like, which makes it perfect for layering into sandwiches like this one, crumbling up to mimic ground meat, tossing into stir fries, or searing like a steak!

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, which are often combined with other beans or grains in the versions you’ll find at the store. It’s high in protein, which makes it a great vegan protein source, and it’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals like calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and iron. The one caveat: it only tastes as good as what’s around it. Time to marinade!

Tempeh Recipe Ingredients

Marinating & Baking Tempeh

The marinade I created is a smoky mixture that includes tamari or soy sauce, maple syrup, ground cumin, and smoked paprika. When you first mix this together, the flavor is going to be very (very) salty and pungent, but since plain tempeh starts out with literally ZERO flavor, it’ll all balance out in the end. I bake the tempeh with most of the marinade, while reserving the excess to pour onto the strips post-bake for extra flavor. Since we’re not dealing with raw meat, it’s ok to reuse your marinade like this.

Speaking of things that aren’t bland, we’re partnering with eureka!® Organic Bread on this post. (You might remember this springy edamame sandwich from last year!). Their bread is seriously tasty. It’s vegan, non GMO, and full of good-for-you grains and seeds. Most importantly, it’s soft, chewy and delicious.

How to cook tempeh Tempeh sandwich recipe components

How to Make A Great Tempeh Sandwich

Once your crispy, golden brown cooked tempeh is ready, it’s time to load up your sandwich! Instead of mayo, I slathered this vegan sandwich with 2 flavorful spreads. The first is a lemony garlic white bean spread. The second is a sun dried tomato spread that I made by blending half of the original white bean spread with a few sun dried tomatoes. Of course, if you happen to have hummus on hand, you could use that in place of both.

I stacked my sandwiches with peppery watercress, crisp cucumber slices, and ripe avocado slices. You can see that there are some carrots up there in my prep photos, but once I started building my sandwich, I got a little carried away with avocado slices and they didn’t fit. Obviously, feel free to build your sandwiches however you like!

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

Looking for more tempeh recipes?

Try these mango tacos or this kale salad!

4.8 from 5 reviews

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This smoky tempeh sandwich is the ultimate vegan lunch! Top it with your favorite veggies, and enjoy.
Recipe type: Main dish
Serves: 4
Smoky Marinated Tempeh
  • 1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, sliced into about 15 slices
  • ¼ cup tamari
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
White Bean & Sun-Dried Tomato sandwich spreads
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 sun-dried tomatoes
  1. Make the marinade. In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, olive oil, rice vinegar, maple syrup, cumin, paprika, and several grinds of pepper. Place the tempeh in a shallow dish and pour the marinade on top. Gently flip the tempeh pieces to make sure all sides are coated with the marinade. Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Make the sandwich spreads. In a blender or small food processor, make the White Bean spread by pureeing the white beans, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if necessary to blend. Set aside half of the puree. Make the Sun-Dried Tomato spread by adding the sun-dried tomatoes. Blend again, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if necessary to blend. Chill the spreads until ready to use. Alternatively, just make 1 spread by pureeing everything at once, including or omitting the sun-dried tomatoes, as desired. Chill until ready to use.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the tempeh from the fridge and place the strips on the baking sheet, reserving the remaining marinade. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until dark brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and drizzle the remaining marinade over the slices.
  4. Assemble 4 sandwiches with the bread (toasted if you like), spreads, tempeh, watercress, tomato, cucumber, and avocado.

This post is sponsored by eureka! Organic Bread. All opinions, images and words are my own. CLICK HERE to find a store that carries their breads near you.


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. I have had tempeh in my fridge for a month and now I know what to do with it! Clubs are one of my favorites and I love a veggie version idea. So delicious!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Ha, I hope you enjoy the tempeh recipe!

      • Courtney Martel

        This is my new favorite thing to eat! I couldn’t wait to try it. When I did I fell in love! My family and I love trying new vevan recipes and this sandwich was a huge hit! My kids usually hate anything leftovers (not that we had any) but they threw fits this morning when they had to settle for oatmeal and fruit for breakfast instead of “what we had last night for supper!” Thank you for this new staple in my household!

        • Jeanine Donofrio

          HA, I love hearing that! So glad everyone loved it 🙂

  2. dana from minimalistbaker.com

    This sandwich is a thing of beauty. STUNNING!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      thanks Dana!

  3. Bri

    For that tempeh marinade, liquid smoke is also your friend. 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I bet! I will have to try it one day. I just assumed most people wouldn’t have it on hand (since I never have it on hand, ha!), and I just love what smoked paprika adds 🙂

  4. Buffy from begoodorganics.com

    Ha – so true jeanine about people asking for tempeh recipes – it never happens to me either! But I absolutely love it. Have you tried marinating it in liquid smoke? So delicious – gives it even more of a bacon flavour (I did a recipe with it a while back here http://bit.ly/smokeytempeh

    Anyway, love your recipes, and photos. Always stunning. And you’ve inspired me to get tempeh back on the menu this weekend. x

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Buffy, thank you! I will have to try the liquid smoke 🙂

      • Buffy from begoodorganics.com

        Definitely! Works really well also with eggplant, mushrooms, to make smoky ‘meat-like’ textures and flavours.

        Have an awesome weekend (it’s Friday 11am here in NZ so clearly I’m already thinking about it!)

        x Buffy

  5. Hanne from sunnysidehanne.com

    I am a closet tempeh lover. My family never orders it at restaurants yet they eagerly gobble it when I make it for dinner. (At least I think they do) Marinating it and making a sandwich is a wonderful direction to head with Tempeh. All those textures and flavors make for a grand sandwich. Good job.

  6. Noah from westhandphoto.com

    Hi! I stumbled upon your recipes today and can’t thank you enough. So many new things to try! I grew up in Japan but have lived happily in Austin for the last 10 years.

    My question is: Where do you recommend grocery shopping in Austin for these ingredients? Your produce looks amazing! I live in the Zilker neighborhood.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Noah, I usually go to either Whole Foods, Central Market or Wheatsville Coop!

      • Noah from westhandphoto.com

        Same here haha. Thanks!

  7. Melanie M Turner

    This sandwich is SO freaking delicious! I had it for lunch yesterday and couldn’t stop exclaiming about how tasty it was while eating it …. And after eating it. I may have told everyone I know. 😉😋

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      yay, I’m so glad you loved it!!

  8. Abby Smith

    I love this recipe. I turned mine into collard wraps and they were divine! Thanks for the deliciousness.

  9. Diana

    Made this tonight. It was excellent! Will definitely be making this again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  10. Aidan

    Hey Jeanine!

    Another awesome looking recipe. I’m just wondering: I’m on a bit of a “make ahead” kick lately. Do you think the tempeh would benefit – or I guess, more importantly, would it be detrimental to the tempeh – from setting it up to marinate in the fridge the night before?

    Thanks so much!


    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Aidan,
      Yep, you can marinate it ahead of time!

      • Aidan

        SO GOOD! Although, I was also a little overambitious with my sandwich stuffings and it was almost too big for my mouth. I made it work, though. Definitely making a mental note of this tempeh recipe – I think it would be lovely crumbled on top of a salad, as well.

        Thanks again, Jeanine!

  11. Starfish425

    This is a great recipe. Its really quick and easy to make and is very rich in flavor! I use a safe plastic toothpicks instead of the regular ones and a cute Whale toothpick holder on the side for added charm!

  12. Megan

    This is sooo good!! I also added a little bit of chipotle pepper hot sauce to the mayo which was pretty good

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Megan – I’m so glad you liked it!! I’m in love with creamy chipotle things, I bet that was delicious!

  13. Emily

    I love this recipe!! I’m super excited to try it out! I just have one question… Does it matter if I use sun dried tomatoes in oil vs. just the dried ones not in oil?
    Thank you!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      either is fine, it doesn’t matter!

  14. Madeleine

    Great recipe! I only had sweet paprika o I used that and added a tiny spash of liquid smoke to the marinade.
    I would recommend watching closely the last 5-6 minutes because I followed the recipe exactly (and my oven usually runs 10° cool) and came back to burnt tempeh 😭. Luckily enough pieces were salvageable for my sandwich.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Madeleine – thanks for your feedback about the baking time, I’ll add a larger range!

  15. Lauren

    This is so delicious! I have been craving a good sandwich and this really hit the spot!!! Thanks, the sun-dried tomato spread is amazing!

  16. Nicole

    Unfortunately I made the spread and it’s too runny. Perhaps you should clarify that the beans need to be drained.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Oh, I’m so sorry, yes the beans need to be drained. Sorry for the oversight.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.