I’m sitting in a cute Montréal café. It feels good to be back here. It feels like home. I had almost forgotten how much I love Montréal in the summer. The city is vibrant, festive, alive. It makes me feel alive too. My best friend who now lives in the US is landing here tonight, and I’m so happy and excited to see her. Life is good.
I’ve been spending the week at my sister’s place. I asked her earlier this week if there was something she’d like to see more of on the blog. She told me she desperately needed simple lunch ideas. Nothing fancy or overcomplicated. Not too many ingredients. Just inspiration for easy, weekday lunches. This is how this tempeh sandwich came to life. It’s super simple, yet incredibly delicious. Tempeh if one of my favorite foods (I talked about why I love it so much in this post), and I think its perfectly hearty texture makes the most amazing veggie sandwiches.
Unlike me, my sister is not a big tempeh fan, she’s tried cooking it a few times and has always been disappointed. She’s never really loved it. So I wanted to create a recipe that she would absolutely, undoubtely love. As soon as she took a bite, I knew it was mission accomplished. This sweet, spicy and smoky marinade alone is to die for. Then there’s this creamy, tangy sunflower seed carrot aioli, some perfectly ripe avocado slices, carrot ribbons for a bit of crunch, and sprouts for a bit of green. Squeeze all of this deliciousness in between two slices of crispy toasted bread. Take a bite, wait for the party of flavours to hit your palate, and head straight to sandwich heaven.
Notes on the recipe: Soaking sunflower seeds is optimal, both for nutrition purposes and for a smooth aioli – but you can omit this step too. You might simply need to add a bit more water to achieve a smooth consistency. I used the Noble Bean tempeh for this recipe.
Sweet & Spicy Tempeh Sandwich + Carrot Aioli
For the tempeh
- 1 block tempeh 240 g, sliced into thin strips
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1 garlic clove pressed
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- A pinch of cayenne pepper to taste
For the carrot aioli
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds - ideally soaked for 1-2 hours or overnight
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup grated carrot
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the sandwich
- Bread of choice toasted
- 1 large avocado pitted and sliced
- Carrot ribbons about 1 carrot - use a vegetable peeler to make the ribbons
- Sprouts of choice
Marinate the tempeh
Place the tempeh strips in a single layer into a shallow dish. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the marinade.
Pour over the tempeh to cover and let marinate while you prepare the aioli, flipping the tempeh once or twice.
Make the aioli
Place all the ingredients for the aioli in a high speed blender (I suggest that you start with one garlic clove, taste, and add another one if you like). Blend until smooth. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency (I used about 2 tablespoons of water). Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tempeh strips. Cook until golden and crispy, about 4 minutes per side.
Toast the bread. Spread one half of the bread with a generous portion of the carrot aioli. Place cooked tempeh slices on top, followed by sliced avocado, carrot ribbons and sprouts. Serve immediately.
“Home is where your heart is”.