Tempeh Sloppy Joes

Here’s a secret: I don’t really like tempeh. But I really like this recipe, and it’s probably one of the only reasons I’d buy the stuff. Served on garlic toast, it’s one of my favourite go-to comfort food recipes.


Tempeh Sloppy Joes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (250g/8oz) package tempeh
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard (or this one)
Himalayan or fine sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high head. Add the onions and peppers, cooking until tender, a few minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Cook for 1 moment to bloom the flavor. Add tempeh, gently stirring to coat.

Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan, whisking until paste is smooth. It will not be very thick yet. Cover, reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes, removing the lid every few minutes to give it a quick stir. Add a splash or two of water if the mixture starts to stick to the pan. Remove the lid, and let continue to simmer until thickened, about 10 more minutes.

Serve warm.


9 thoughts on “Tempeh Sloppy Joes

  1. uberdish says:

    Thank you for this recipe, Laurie! We have a little one in our family who is not a big fan of tempeh, either. This recipe may be a winner for her though! I’ll keep my eyes open for Henry’s Tempeh. I’m not sure if it’s out this way. If not, I’ll put in a request for it at my favourite market.

    • Laurie @ Whisking & Writing says:

      Hi, Ang! Lots of seasoning, I think, does the trick here. And combined with homemade bread, well, you can’t go wrong!

      Henry’s is Canadian (out of KW, I believe), so you probably should be okay in finding it. I’ve never tried other brands, so I actually wouldn’t know what else is gluten-free. What brand(s) have you found?

      • uberdish says:

        Rainbow Foods in Ottawa sells Turtle Islands tempeh, but it comes from the U.S. It would be great to purchase a Canadian brand. Maybe they sell Henry’s now – I don’t know. It’s been a little while since I bought tempeh. I used it in a “meatball” recipe for spaghetti. I liked it, but the kids were just okay with it. I’ll have to try the recipe again (with lots of seasoning!), but your sloppy joes first. 🙂

        • Laurie @ Whisking & Writing says:

          Interesting! I just Googled them (hadn’t heard of them) and see it is the same brand of Tofurkey (which I have seen at the stores). I didn’t realize they made gluten-free stuff. Do you know their cross-contamination procedures? I just read on their site which ones are gluten-free, but I’m always wary when a company makes both things.

          • uberdish says:

            Yes, it’s best to be wary because I recall that the packaging itself does not say gluten-free. At the time, I examined the ingredients list and went with it. My daughter is not celiac, but has a sensitivity. She was good with eating this tempeh (just not overly crazy about the taste judging by her oh so wonderful facial expressions!). Cross contamination, I’m guessing, could be an issue. They also sell marinated tempeh that contains shoyu sauce.

          • Laurie @ Whisking & Writing says:

            Thanks! I tend to stick to brands that are either Certified gluten-free or have strict allergen protocols in place.

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