Tempeh, Pepper, and Spinach-Pesto Sandwich

This image courtesy of Celine Steen

A spin on a traditional BlT, this sandwich is particularly exceptional served alongside a generous helping of German potato salad.

NotesTofu Mayo (Almost 2 cups (470 ml):

No need to worry if your local market doesn’t carry egg-free mayo-just whip up some of your own. This recipe works very well as a sandwich spread or in any of the mayonnaise-based dressings right here in this book. As long as you use gluten-free vinegar, this mayo is indeed gluten free.

7 ounces (198 g) extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed

¼ cup (35 g) finely ground raw cashews

1 tablespoon (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon (12 g) raw sugar or (21 g) agave nectar

1 teaspoons brown or Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar

½ teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons (90 ml) canola oil

Place the tofu, cashew powder, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, vinegar, and salt in a blender or food processor and whirl away. Slowly drizzle in the oil while the machine is running until you reach the desired consistency. Store 1 an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Spinach Pesto (1 cup (240 g)):

1/3 cup (53 g) dry-roasted whole almonds

31/4 cups (113 g) fresh baby spinach leaves

1/4 cup (6 g) fresh basil

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 to 1/3 cup (60 to 80 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Grind the almonds in a food processor. Add the spinach, basil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Pulse until no whole leaves are left. Slowly drizzle in the oil while the machine is running until the desired consistency is reached. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

4 sandwiches


Total Timeunder 1 hour

Kid FriendlyYes

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Mealdinner, lunch

Type of Dishsandwich


  • 8 ounces (227 g) tempeh, sliced into 16 strips (cut in half lengthwise, each half cut into 8 thin strips)
  • 1½ tablespoons (23 ml) reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, quartered
  • 1½ teaspoons (7.5 g) light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (56 g) vegan mayonnaise, store-bought or homemade (see Notes)
  • ½ cup (60 g) Spinach Pesto (see Notes)
  • 8 slices whole-grain sandwich bread, toasted
  • 2 whole roasted red peppers, patted dry and halved
  • 3¾ cups (113 g) fresh baby spinach leaves or (75 g) baby arugula


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

  2. To make the bacon: Place the tempeh slices in a shallow dish. Combine the soy sauce, liquid smoke, mustard, oil, onion, paprika, chile powder, garlic, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Pour on top of the tempeh slices, carefully brushing it allover on both sides. Spread on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly coat the top of the tempeh with cooking spray.

  3. Bake for 10 minutes, flip over, lightly coat with spray again, and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack. (The bacon is at its crispiest right out of the oven.)

  4. To assemble the sandwiches: Combine the mayonnaise and pesto in a small bowl. Apply 1 tablespoon (15 g) on every slice of bread. Place 4 slices of bacon on 4 slices of bread. Top each sandwich with half a roasted red pepper, 1 scant cup (28 g) spinach or (19 g) arugula, and the remaining slice of bread.


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