Jamaican Jerk Seasoned Tempeh Sandwich

Looking back at my recipes, I realized I haven’t written about yet another soy product that pops into my kitchen now and then – Tempeh. Originating from Indonesia, tempeh is prepared by fermenting soybeans with a starter. More about it here and here.


For a vegan product, it may look strange. Its distinct nutty taste and grainy texture may require some getting used to. The first time I tasted tempeh, I felt it was too harsh for my palette. I reverted back to tofu, gained knowledge on how to spice up tofu products, and only then got on terms with tempeh. In due course, its nutty taste was sought after, and naturally, I got creative in cooking with it. Its high protein content was an added bonus.

Also, they stand up to strong marinades, making them ideal for make-ahead meals. Keep them marinated, and make a sandwich as given below. Or add to stir-fries in place of tofu. Or grind with vegetables for croquettes. Our favourite tempeh marinade is Jamaican jerk seasoning.

I buy this brand of Tempeh, as it is the only available one. I have tried almost all the flavours, and frankly, there isn’t much difference once it is coated with spices. Also, I have used a ready-made Jamaican jerk blend (as used in this recipe). The ingredient list includes ginger, brown mustard seed, onion, allspice, garlic, hot paprika, thyme, fennel seed, black pepper, red pepper, cloves.

Habanero Jack Cheese

If you are a pepper jack fan, like me, then this should grab your attention – Habanero jack cheese, my latest craze. I just couldn’t resist from buying when I saw this at Whole Foods. It lives up to its name, quite a spice kick.

Tempeh Sandwich (makes 4 sandwiches)

Tempeh – 1 packet, cut into 8 slices
Shredded cheese such as Jack, Cheddar, Swiss – ½ cup
Whole wheat bread – 8 slices


Jamaican jerk seasoning – 2 tbsp
Green onions/Scallions – 2, chopped
Green chilli – 1
Garlic – 1 clove
Honey or Agave nectar – 1 tbsp
Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
Red wine vinegar – 1 tbsp
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Juice of half a lemon
Water – as needed

Spice spread

Onion - 1 small, finely chopped
Tomato - 1, finely chopped
Red pepper flakes – 1 tsp
Garlic – 1 clove, minced
A spray of oil

Pineapple salsa

Pineapple – 2 cups, small dice
Red onion – ½ cup, small dice
Red bell pepper – ½ cup, small dice
Green chilli – 1, minced
Cilantro – 2 tbsp, finely chopped

Pineapple Salsa


Make the marinade by taking all the ingredients in a blender and grinding to a smooth mixture. Sprinkle water, if necessary, to make a loose paste. Coat tempeh slices in the marinade and let rest from at least 30 minutes to overnight.

When ready, preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with foil, lay the slices side-by-side. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning the slices once in-between. To prevent tempeh from drying too much, you may cover the slices with foil, but I didn’t.

Meanwhile, prepare pineapple salsa by mixing all the ingredients and let the flavours develop. Also, prepare the spice spread by sautéing the listed ingredients, over low flame. The onion and tomato should become soft. Keep the mixture warm.

When tempeh slices are done baking, toast the bread slices. Apply the spice spread and immediately sprinkle with cheese. The heat from the spread will slightly melt the cheese. Top with 2 slices of tempeh, and another slice of toast. Serve pineapple salsa on the side. Omit cheese for a vegan sandwich.

Jamaican Jerk Seasoned Tempeh Sandwich

Spiced, hearty tempeh, with habanero cheese, and tangy pineapple salsa – myriad of flavors. Off it goes to Sangeeth of Art of Cooking Indian Food, who is hosting Eat Healthy - Protein.


Sangeeth said...

wow! great entry dear...lovely pics....thanks for sending it to eat healthy contest!

amna said...

i always associated the work jerk with beef (and some of the guys who used to give me a tough time in college). Most of the ingredients you have used here is new to me :)

Sure worth a shot since TH loves sandwiches!

Arundathi said...

I love Habanero Jack - mmm - and I've grown to enjoy tempeh too - guess I had to take a forced break from it when I moved to India - haven't seen tempeh around here...

FH said...

LOVE Jerk seasoning. I even add it to bread when baking!:D
Looks yum. Good one Suganya.

Unknown said...

Excellent recipe and superb pictures.Nice to know about Tempeh.

Priya said...

I read about tempeh and seitan on many vegan blogs and was tempted to try it out. But when I saw tempeh at the grocery store the look/texture/feel of it in the package totally put me off :(

evolvingtastes said...

Gorgeous pictures Suganya. I like tofu too, but never tried tempeh, for no particular reason.

Shilpa said...

Another new ingredient..never heard of it. Sandwich looks great

notyet100 said...

wow,.this looks so colourful and tempting,..looks delicious tooo

Anonymous said...

Wonderful Sandwich. I haven't tried Tempeh yet. Pineapple salsa is a nice twist.


Sunshinemom said...

I have never tasted tempeh - one of the things we don't find here! But this sounds like a good treat:)

Lisa Turner said...

I am always looking for ideas for tempeh and you have certainly come up with a creative one here. Alas, another recipe to add to the list :)

Swati Raman Garg said...

tempeh is new to me but the sandwich definitely loooks divine....

heyy i have a small something for you in my blog.. come over and check it :)

@the_whisk_affair said...

great entry suganya! and the pics are mouth watering as usual!

KonkaniBlogger said...

Haven't yet tasted Tempeh..Pineapple salsa looks very nice..

Chef Jeena said...

You are right tempeh is strong tasting, you certainly make it looks very delicious.

A_and_N said...

Beautiful, and I agree with Nags :) Delurking to comment for the first time. Been an avid follower of your blog :)

Can we add you to our blogroll?

Sum Raj said...


Mandira said...

that looks fantastic, makes such a delicious workday sandwich. Thanks!

Linda said...

I do love jerk seasoning -- never thought to use it for tofu. Tempeh may be a little beyond me yet ;)

Lovely pics as usual!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I have recently gotten my mom hooked on tempeh. I'll have to share this recipe with her. She'll love it! Thanks, Suganya.

SMN said...

Wow that such a lovely food with nice pics.

Hey i have a surprise for u in my blog

Vaishali said...

I love tempeh, Suganya. Your marinade sounds delicious.

Kalai said...

Beautiful pics. Love jerk anything really and this is a great idea! Also wanted to confirm that you received my entry for AFAM, Suganya. :)

Cynthia said...

I've only heard of tempeh but never had it.

Oh gosh! I too love the Habanero jack cheese. It's so good isn't it? And I am not a cheese lover!

Lore said...

Gorgeous photos! You have such an eye-candy blog :)

ST said...

Excellent healthy recipe and superb pictures.......

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