(Gates) BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches

Remember me mentioning last week that I was in Kansas City, Missouri for a wedding? Well on top of our bedside table there was our wedding favor bag marked “The Browns.” And inside that brown Brown bag, alongside a copy of their cursive-written invitation to the reception and extra bottles of water (for when the night turned up), was a little bottle of Gates original BBQ sauce.

Believe me, by then I had already heard all the good things there ever was to hear about this sauce. Eric practically won’t stop talking about his memories eating Gates’ burnt ends, and how this very establishment (BBQ sauce more importantly) completed his childhood in such and such ways. Everyone around me in addition to this goodie bag kept screaming, “You can’t leave this city without tasting this!” It is apart of the city’s identity for so many people, and that alone made me respect the bottle.  I started making some big plans for it when I got back home to Boston. 

The wedding? Oh it was beautiful. If I ever planned a wedding I’m sure it would look nearly identical. 



Me and Eric (plus his Uncle and Cousins) in the photo booth BUS. <3 

And here’s what I ended up doing with that sauce when I got back home:

(If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I initially had plans to cook the sauce with shredded jackfruit to make more pulled “pork” buns. But I couldn’t find the cans of unripe jackfruit anywhere, and I surely didn’t feel like doing what I did the last time I made jackfruit sandwiches/spend all afternoon, chopping, seeding, and cooking this hairy-looking fruit. So I just pulled a block of tempeh I had in the fridge and began thinly slicing away. Don’t worry, I really had no other plans for the tempeh at the time. I never really know what to do with it because the texture has always thrown me off a bit. But after this recipe, baking it until it crisped and then smothering it in sweet smokey sauce, I finally understood why people use tempeh as a bacon replacement. It’s fabulous when you cook it right!!)

I served some Roasted Onion and Ginger Slaw on top and that made it even more delicious, if you can believe it.

Makes about 4 sandwiches or 3 overstuffed ones.

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 block tempeh, thinly sliced 
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 inch thumb ginger, grated 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

For serving:

  • Whole Wheat Honey Sesame buns, for serving (or other favorite burger buns)
  • fresh greens like kale or spring mix
  • sliced scallions (the green parts)
  • crispy fried onions
  • extra BBQ sauce, if you like 

Spread the tempeh and sliced red onions out on a baking sheet, toss with olive oil and salt to taste, and bake at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the tempeh is crunchy on the edges and the onions turn translucent and begin to crisp a little too. Check on the tempeh halfway through, they might need to come out before the onions are done depending on how thin you slice them. Remove the tempeh from the oven and toss with the BBQ sauce. Set aside.

Make the Roasted Onion and Ginger Slaw by adding the roasted onions to a bowl along with the shredded cabbage, olive oil, vinegar, grated ginger, and salt and pepper to taste. Massage the cabbage with your hands until it softens. 

Assemble the sandwiches, by placing the fresh greens down on the bottom bun, topping with the BBQ tempeh, then the slaw, and then the sliced scallions, and fried onions (if using). Top with the other half of the bun. Assemble the others sandwiches and serve! Enjoy


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