I created this recipe in the 80’s along with my fellow cooks at Green Acres Macrobiotic Restaurant. Vegan recipes were not easy not find at that time, so we created many.

Tempeh is produced by a natural culture of soybeans and sometimes other legumes, seeds, or grains.  The process is very similar to that by which cheese or yogurt are made. Tempeh has a full-bodied, meaty texture. It can be used as a main course and substitute for animal foods in stews, soups, spreads, sushi or sandwiches. It is readily available in natural foods stores. Tempeh is high in protein and B vitamins. Buy organic and non-GMO tempeh.

Tempeh needs to cook 20-25 minutes to be digestible. If slicing it thin, it will be cooked in 15 minutes. Many recipes (even the package) will tell you to pan fry on each side a few minutes. It will be very hard on your digestive system and will not taste good either.  And please never eat it raw. If you want it fried, first simmer in water with kombu 20-25 minutes, drain and then fry.

Kombu, a sea vegetable, is one of the most highly mineralized foods. It improves the digestibility of all beans and bean products. It has no taste and I recommend eating it.



One 8 ounce package organic tempeh 2-3 tsp. wheat free soy sauce or tamari
one inch piece kombu seaweed Sourdough Rye Bread (or use GF bread)
Sesame Oil – I like the toasted variety Vegan Swiss Cheese
1-2 cups naturally fermented sauerkraut Vegan Thousand Island Dressing 



  1. Cut tempeh into 2-3 inch squares and slice in half down through center to make the slices thinner.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet; add tempeh slices and brown on each side.
  3. Add a cup of water, soy sauce or tamari, and kombu.
  4. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes. 
  5. If there’s a lot of water in the pan, cook uncovered at this point to reduce it.
  6. Brush one side of each slice of bread with oil or vegan better. Set on plate oil or butter side down.
  7. Add the thousand island dressing, cooked tempeh, cheese, and sauerkraut to one slice of bread and top with the other slice of bread, oil or butter side up.
  8. Place in a skillet, cover, and cook over medium low heat about 6 minutes, flipping once. You want the cheese to melt and the bread to be crispy.
  9. Serve with sprouts.


Tips and Options

  • I like Lightlife organic Tempeh original. Some tempeh contains gluten grains such as barley but the original does not.
  • Caraway seed makes a nice addition.
  • Sautéd onions are good on this sandwich.
  • You can use olive oil instead of sesame oil.
  • Annie’s and Follow Your Heart make good vegan Thousand Island dressings.
  • If you don’t like Thousand Island dressing, you can use mustard.
  • I like Chao and Violife brands of vegan cheese.
  • Simple Kneads makes high quality GF, yeast-free sourdough bread and is my choice.
  • Rye is a gluten grain, so use an alternative if you are gluten-free.
  • If you want to avoid bread, you can add more water and thicken with kuzu or arrowroot to make this a stew. Serve over your favorite whole, unrefined grain.


Savory Tempeh Stew Recipe

More Recipes Here