Smoky tempeh breakfast sandwiches

Smoky tempeh breakfast sandwiches

This post was created in partnership with Califia Farms.

I originally titled this post How to Make a Kickass Breakfast Sandwich but then I realized you guys probably don’t need step-by-step instructions on how to construct a proper (vegan) breakfast sandwich. Do you? Unfortunately I didn’t realize that until after I finished carefully crafting a novel-length post about the importance of condiments (very important when you don’t have an egg-y component, BTW) and the type of bread you choose. And then I read it one last time and realized I would roll my eyes at the person who published an in-depth how-to for a fucking sandwich.

And I’m pretty sure you would, too.

Anyway, after the events that occurred over the weekend I’m finding it difficult to get in the proper headspace to write anything that doesn’t seem worthy of being plastered with an AYFKM gif. Every time I sit down to draft a post or work on something OLC-related I ask myself HOW MUCH DOES THIS REALLY MATTER RIGHT NOW? And then I remember how truly insignificant the work is that I do in this space. You know, in the grand scheme of things.. when white nationalists are coming out of the sewers and marching in our streets and He Who Must Not Be Named refuses to acknowledge that nazis just might be worse than antifas and anarchists (I can’t believe I just linked to a tweet from Mitt Romney). Mad times we’re living in, eh?

So this is where I leave you with the breakfast sandwich of my dreams. It’s simple but it does require a bit of effort on your part (you’ll likely be cursing me in the midst of mashing the tempeh) (which, by the way, is a fantastic and nonviolent way to work out your frustration). And if you’re in need of a smile today, do yourself a solid and read this. <3

Smoky tempeh breakfast patties in the makingMashin'Smoky tempeh breakfast pattiesAsk Thom how much he hates the way I slice tomatoesFULL SHOTSmoky tempeh breakfast sandwichesAvOcAdOSmoky tempeh breakfast sandwichesSmoky tempeh breakfast sandwiches

Notes: Mashing the tempeh is a real pain in the ass but I promise it’s worth it. Yeah it’d be a lot easier to blitz the mixture in a food processor but going the manual route makes it easier to control how much of the tempeh you’re mashing (that and processing tempeh in a food processor makes for a gross end product) (I tried it and would not recommend it). If you don’t have brown rice flour, feel free to use chickpea, buckwheat, or oat flour. The patty recipe was inspired by Isa Chandra’s tempeh sausage crumbles. Spice direction provided by Thom who repeatedly suggested MORE MORE MORE PEPPER! Use a 3 1/2″ round cutter to cut the biscuits; this will yield five of ’em.

This post is sponsored by Califia Farms, maker of my favorite non-GMO + carrageenan-free almondmilk (amongst other delicious beverages). All opinions are my own and I think Califia rules. 


Smoky tempeh breakfast patties
2 tablespoons (22g) coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup (110g) Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
8 ounces (227g) tempeh

2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried sage

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1-2 tablespoons (9-18g) brown rice flour
, if needed

You’ll also need
Coconut oil biscuits (see notes above)
Chipotle aioli
Leafy greens
Tomato slices

Avocado slices

To make the patties, preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a small baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside. Add the coconut oil and almondmilk to a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Bring liquid to a simmer then crumble in the tempeh and add the garlic and spices; stir to combine then cover with a lid and cook for 5-6 minutes (or until the tempeh has absorbed all the liquid). Once the liquid has been absorbed, off the heat and set the pan aside for 20 minutes (to allow the tempeh to steam/soften).

Once the tempeh has softened, mash the heck out of it with a pastry blender or the back of a fork (LOL HAVE FUN!). The aim here is to mash up just over half the beans but still leave a good amount of them so that they lend a bit of texture to the patties. Once mashed, test the mixture for moisture – if it feels too sticky to shape into patties, add 1-2 tablespoons of brown rice flour (I almost always add at least 1 tablespoon). Divide the mixture into five patties (1/4 heaping cup), roll between your hands, and then flatten on the prepared baking sheet so that the patties are ~3 1/2″ in diameter. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Baked patties will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to one month.

Just before serving, fry the patties in a well-oiled (more oil = more delicious) skillet. I like to do a few minutes on each side, just until the patties are slightly blackened.

I’m pretty sure you know how to make a sandwich but just in case you don’t: cut a biscuit in half, smear one half with chipotle aioli, then top with a patty and your favorite fixings. Personally, I like a combination of the above but feel free to let your freak flag fly (peanut buuuuutterrrrr!) and make this sandwich your own.

Serve with tangerine juice and/or full shot cold brew coffee (my new fav). Or CaliCoco. Or black label cold brew coffee with a splash of unsweetened better half. Or black & white cold brew coffee. And add a bowl of homemade coconut yogurt on the side, just because.

Yield: 5 sandwiches


Califia Farms <3


  • Reply Valentina | The Blue Bride 16 August 2017 at 4:56 PM

    I don’t know how many times I said that, but I love your writing style. You’re honestly the only one I read from the start to the end because you’re practical and concrete. And funny. And I love the idea of a scone instead of a bread bun. I love you. Bye.

  • Reply Aimee 17 August 2017 at 7:00 AM

    I have a feeling I’ll be smashing up some tempeh and muttering curses about He Who Must Not Be Named tonight – because, duh, breakfast sandwiches for dinner sound AMAZING.

  • Reply Abby @ Heart of a Baker 17 August 2017 at 7:24 AM

    I’m feeling 100% the same and felt a similar way while writing my post this morning. The good news is that nourishing ourselves with kickass food (like this) will give us the energy to fight those assholes (also, very glad you call him He Who Must Not Be Named). Love your writing, LOVe this sandwich. Let’s share one next time I’m in Denver? xo

  • Reply Mel 17 August 2017 at 7:29 AM

    I didn’t get to make the biscuits (because I only had enough coconut oil left for the patties and I was too tired to walk to Kroger this morning) but I made the patties and dang! You weren’t lying about the mashing being labor intensive. Totally counts as an arm workout, right? ;) High fives to Thom because the spice level is spot on.

  • Reply Kate 17 August 2017 at 7:32 AM

    first ever comment to tell you i love you. so much. that’s all.

  • Reply Asha 17 August 2017 at 9:17 AM

    Hi Ashlae,

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. Btw, I wouldn’t roll my eyes and I would really like step by step instructions on how to make a proper vegan sandwich! :)

  • Reply Simone Anne 17 August 2017 at 11:53 AM

    Kick ass didn’t fly huh? ;)

    • Reply Ashlae 17 August 2017 at 2:08 PM

      Ha! Califia actually approved kickass.. they cool AF. 😎

  • Reply Simone Anne 17 August 2017 at 12:09 PM

    Also yeah, mad fucking times.

  • Reply Gemma 19 August 2017 at 3:46 PM

    This breakfast sandwich looks beyond delicious, actually I’d enjoy it for dinner too (or as a brunch) cause I’m a big fan of tempeh.

  • Reply Weekend Reading | The Full Helping 20 August 2017 at 2:51 AM

    […] of savory breakfast, I’m loving Ashlae’s vegan breakfast sammies with smoky vegan tempeh […]

  • Reply SujanaYoga 21 August 2017 at 2:41 AM

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. It looks delicious.

  • Reply Erin 22 August 2017 at 7:39 AM

    Damn I’m going to have to make these v soon – I bet they would be epic burger patties too! xx

  • Reply Taylor Ann | Content Content 26 August 2017 at 10:55 AM

    I love the styling of this post. The little trays are simply so cute and happy! I would eat anything if you put it on a cute tray!

  • Reply Billy 29 August 2017 at 12:35 PM

    These pictures are killer! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. Cannot wait to try making this at home – I definitely want to try and find some more recipes that are meat alternatives, this one looks so delicious!

  • Reply Fig & Almond Ricotta Toast, Two Ways (+ Weekend Links) - The Green Life 11 September 2017 at 8:25 AM

    […] Super intrigued by this breakfast tempeh sandwich. […]

  • Reply Melanie 26 September 2017 at 4:03 PM

    I feel the same way when I start writing a blog post. I have a tendency to overexplain things and I suddenly find myself writing very mundane details. I don’t want it to become a bore to readers but I want to provide as much information as I can.
    For the record, I would have been interested in hearing about condiments :)
    BTW bookmarking these tempeh breakfast sandwiches!

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