BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potato Sandwich

Last year I took a road trip through the Southern US, and we stopped at this BBQ place in the middle of nowhere in southern New Mexico. It was a tiny BBQ joint in a very tiny town, serving nothing but southern BBQ.  While I wasn’t able to eat anything on the menu (even the green beans were cooked in beef!) the smell of that BBQ was amazing.

This sandwich is everything you want a BBQ sandwich to be.

Tempeh and sweet potato slices are coated in spicy, sticky homemade BBQ sauce and sandwiched with some greens in a soft, warm bun. This sandwich brings me right back to Artesia, New Mexico!

The homemade BBQ sauce is so easy to make and so, so tasty. It’s spicy, sticky, and a little bit sour, with a hint of maple syrup flavour and a kick from the sriracha sauce.  It makes a bit extra, which you can slather on your sandwich, eat with french fries, or even eat with a spoon (which I only did so that I’d be able to tell you guys that it’s good enough to eat with a spoon. I swear.)  It’ll keep about a week in the fridge.

Recipe from The First Mess

Makes enough for two Texas-sized sandwiches


1 tsp vegetable oil

1/4 onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

3/4 cup ketchup

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp sriracha (or your favourite hot sauce)

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1/2 block tempeh, cut into slices (if you can’t find plain tempeh, you can substitute tofu, but tempeh has such a great texture)

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 rolls or buns (I used nice soft ones for a real down south BBQ feel, but you can use whatever you want)

whatever else you want to put on your sandwich (greens, sprouts, avocado, red onion, etc. etc.)


Make the BBQ sauce: heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ketchup, vinegar, sriracha, maple syrup, and worcestershire sauce and simmer until sauce has thickened slightly, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Sauce will keep in the fridge up to a week.

Place the tempeh and sweet potato slices in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover them by an inch. (If using tofu, do not simmer with sweet potato). Bring water to a light simmer and cook until sweet potatoes are soft, about 7-8 minutes. Carefully remove tempeh and sweet potato to a plate and pat dry.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your broiler (or grill). Baste sweet potato and tempeh with BBQ sauce and grill/broil, turning and basting every minute or so, until coated and a little bit charred.

Serve on buns with all the toppings you desire.

Craving a taste of down south? While I doubt very many authentic southern BBQ places serve tempeh, this sticky, spicy sandwich will satisfy your BBQ craving!


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