Mini Meaty Tempeh Sausages (vegan)


I love tempeh… for its texture and nutritional benefits. But I can’t say I love the flavour of it. Is that superficial? I honestly don’t understand why people say it tastes ‘bland’ or ‘nutty’. Maybe it’s the brand I’ve been getting, but my tempeh tastes fruity. As in: apple sauce mixed with alcohol kind of fruity (?). And it most definitely isn’t bland. However, tempeh is packed with protein and fibre and is less processed than tofu. It also resembles minced meat when you grate it, so it’s perfect for pasta sauces or chilli. And sausages of course 😉

These sausages still taste a little like tempeh, but have a meaty kick to them. They are soft in the middle but don’t crumble like other vegetarian sausages can do and brown nicely when you pan fry them. Feel free to up the spices, this recipe was meant to be fairly neutral so it can definitely take more of them. I put the sausages on a small bread roll with some pickled red cabbage I bought plus a tangy salad and some caramelised onion I made. It probably seems a bit weird to use red cabbage here but growing up in Belgium, one of my favorite dishes was red cabbage with sausages and potatoes. So hey, at least I didn’t put potato in it! I included the recipes of the salad and the onion because this combination worked really well so I figured you might want to try it. But as usual, it’s completely up to you! 🙂 There will be leftover salad too so you can have it as a side dish.

What is your favorite way of preparing tempeh?

Ingredients (makes 4 mini sausages with salad, onion and red cabbage on bread rolls):

Mini Meaty Tempeh Sausages

  • 1/2 package or 200 grams of tempeh, grated coarsely
  • 3/4 cup of filtered water
  • 1/4 cup of red wine (don’t omit, this really gives the tempeh a nice flavour)
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetarian oyster sauce (this is what gives the tempeh its meaty flavour, don’t omit!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of marmite (or vegemite)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried sage (if you have good-quality rosemary, you can use this too)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano (you can sub this with marjoram but you’ll have to use more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of paprika powder
  • Black pepper and salt, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar (this is needed for the sausages to brown nicely plus it tastes nice)
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour (you need this to bind the sausages)
  • A glug of sunflower seed oil (or any other vegetable oil)


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or any other vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (you can sub this with any clear vinegar you like)
  • 1 teaspoon of sharp mustard (use more if you really like mustard)
  • 1 tiny clove of garlic, grated finely
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 small carrots, grated coarsely
  • 1 large head of chicory, bottom cut off (because this can be very bitter) and cut into half rings

Caramelised Onion

  • 1 medium sized onion, cut into strips (shallots would work too)
  • A glug of olive oil (sub with any other vegetable oil)
  • Salt, to taste

+ store-bought pickled red cabbage in a jar and 4 small bread rolls, although mini hot dog buns would work better because they allow for the other flavours to shine.


Mini Meaty Tempeh Sausages

  • Whisk water, wine, oyster sauce and marmite together and pour it over the tempeh in a small pot.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and bring the tempeh mixture to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. You do this to get rid of the bitterness and to lightly flavour the tempeh.
  • Drain the tempeh in a colander, and let it cool down. When cool enough, squeeze the liquid out of the tempeh.
  • Mix the onion, sage, oregano, paprika, pepper, salt, sugar and flour together, then knead this through the tempeh and form 4 logs. Don’t overknead, you still want some texture. The sausages will still be very sticky but don’t worry, it won’t stay like that.
  • Let the sausages rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes. This helps to dry out the sausages a little and to ‘set’ the sausages.
  • Pan fry the sausages until browned in a small non stick pan (otherwise they will definitely stick!) with a good glug of sunflower seed oil over medium heat. Don’t be afraid to use plenty of oil, tempeh is very lean so oil is definitely needed!


  • Whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic and salt together to make the dressing.
  • Mix the dressing with the salad right before serving.

Caramelised Onion

  • Caramelise the onion in a good glug of olive oil in a small pan over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle salt over the onion when done.


Put the sausages on the buns, then put the onion, cabbage and salad on top. Enjoy!

Storage and tip of the day:

I am not entirely sure how long you can keep these (cooked) sausages for, my guess would be a few days in the fridge, and about 1-3 months in the freezer.

You can do many things with pickled red cabbage in case you have some left. I threw it in some chilli sauce for example but I think it would work really well in Japanese style soups too. The same with chicory: I ended up using it in my kimchi soup. Talk about fusion recipes 😉

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