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CAT Food Sandwiches

2010 August 26
by rob

I wrote this item as a guest post for Janet’s blog, the taste space, where it was posted this morning. Since I wrote it, I feel justified cross-posting it on my own blog, too!

A couple of weeks ago, I visited one of the health food shops in Kensington Market. I had a craving for tempeh. I hadn’t had it in a while. None of the shops in my neighbourhood (Yonge and Eglinton) seem to carry it. As such, I picked up a couple packages and brought them home.

I have randomly tried to prepare tempeh while traveling. I didn’t really know what I was doing and usually just fried it to enjoy its simple flavour: denser and meatier than tofu; maybe a little nuttier. I know I could do better once I was armed with my own kitchen. What was I to do? I asked Janet for recommendations. She confessed that she’s never tried tempeh before. Oh my! She’s a clever one, though, and was still able to make some suggestions for me. This recipe for Maple Grilled Tempeh looked very intriguing to me. Since I don’t have any maple syrup (what kind of weak Canadian am I, anyways?) or rice vinegar, or a proper grill to cook these on, I decided to adapt the recipe and created the marinade listed below.

Oh wow! These were tasty! They were bursting with flavour!

The first time I had these, I had some parathas and steamed broccoli on the side, which is very typical for me. I didn’t choose the broccoli for its complementary qualities to my tempeh; but simply since I usually have some in the fridge and it’s my favourite vegetable anyways. Parathas are just delicious… period. I might have chosen rice as my starchy side, but I my rice cooker is currently out on loan.

These marinated and fried tempeh pieces were great when they were fresh. As leftovers, however, there was much to be desired. They had dried out and weren’t nearly so flavourful. Eat these fresh, or don’t eat them at all!

The following weekend, I planned on going to Olympic Island with Janet and her friend, Marina, to see Arcade Fire play a show. The concert was really great! This blog isn’t a music blog, though. It’s a food blog. You’re certainly not interested in any concerts.

I’ve read somewhere that tempeh is great as a meat substitute in sandwiches. Now that was my master plan!

We preceded the show with a picnic. The picnic was really great, too! I decided to take on the task of bringing sandwiches by combining the same marinated tempeh with alfalfa sprouts and cucumber on ciabatta bread. In my head, it sounded like a match made in heaven. It worked out just fine! This recipe is not one that I found anywhere. I just thought it would work…. it looks like it did!

Oh. What does “CAT” stand for? Cucumber, Alfalfa, and Tempeh, of course! What did you think it could be?


3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and chopped finely
1 pinch of chili flakes (Aleppo chilies recommended)
1 package tempeh (240 g)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and washed
Alfalfa sprouts
1 load ciabatta bread – or similar


1. Mix the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, and chili together in a bowl in order to create the marinade.
2. Cut the tempeh lengthwise into two halves. Cut each half into four triangles.
3. Marinate the pieces of tempeh in the marinade for at least half an hour.
4. Fry the tempeh in a non-stick pan on medium to high heat. Spoon the remaining marinade onto the tempeh pieces.
5. Assemble sandwiches with the tempeh, cucumber, and alfalfa sprouts on the bread.

The photos above show the sandwiches with unpeeled cucumber. I later remade one with peeled cucumber pieces and it was much better. That’s why I’ve written this recipe with the peeled cucumber.

Makes four big sandwiches – enough to feed four to eight people.

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