2 ratings

Filet o' Tempeh

Plant-based, quality fast food right from home
Courtesy of Lauren Toyota

Beloved filet-o-fish gets an upgrade with this vegan take on the sandwich that uses tempeh as the protein. Serve the dish with a side of chips or French fries to get your fast food fix from home.

Reprinted with permission from HOT FOR FOOD VEGAN COMFORT CLASSICS. Copyright ©2018 by Lauren Toyota. Published by Ten Speed Press, anim print of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Ready in
7 h and 13 m
7 h and 5 m
(prepare time)
8 m
(cook time)


For the beer-battered tempeh

  • 1 brick (8 oz/225 g) tempeh
  • 1/3 Cup water
  • 1/3 Cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 Teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 Teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4-6 Cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Cup cold vegan-friendly lager or ale

For the sandwiches

  • 4 whole wheat, sprouted, or sesame seed buns
  • The Tartar Sauce (see recipe below)
  • 2 Cups packed sunflower sprouts or shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, quartered, and sliced

For the tartar sauce

  • 1 Cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/4 Cup finely chopped dill pickle
  • 2 Teaspoons pickle brine
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 Teaspoon ground pepper


For the beer-battered tempeh

To marinate the tempeh, slice the brick of tempeh in half and slice each half lengthwise so you have 4 thin fillets.

Combine the water, vinegar, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of the Old Bay, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a shallow dish and submerge thetempeh fillets in the marinade.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or upto 6 hours. Do not leave them longer than that or they may be too soft to handle without breaking.

When you are ready to fry the tempeh, add vegetable oil to a heavy bottomed pot or deep fryer and heat to 350°F or as high as 360°F on a deep-frying thermometer.

To make the batter, put 1⁄4 cup of the flour in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the remaining 3⁄4 cup flour, remaining teaspoon salt, remaining teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon ground pepper with the baking powder and paprika.

Leave out the beer until the oil is hot enough to fry. Take each tempeh fillet from the marinade and dredge through the flour, getting all sides well coated.

When you’re ready to fry, gently stir the beer into the flour and spice mixture. Don’t stir too much, as you want air in the batter. Coat a fillet in the beer batter and put it directly into the hot oil. You’ll probably need to do 1 fillet at a time so you don’t overcrowd the pot.

Cook for 2 minutes, flipping the fillet after 1 minute, until golden brown.

Using a slotted frying spoon, remove the fried tempeh fillet to a wirerack set over a baking sheet. This will help keep the fillets crispy whileyou continue frying. Laying them on paper towels could make the fillets soggy.

Make sure the oil is still between 350°F and 365°F before frying another fillet. 

For the sandwiches

To assemble the sandwiches, cut the buns in half and toast, if desired.

Spread some tartar sauce on the bottom half of each bun, then add the sprouts, a fillet, avocado slices, and more tartar sauce on top.

These are best consumed right after frying, but leftover fried fillets can be refrigerated and consumed within 4 to 5 days.

Warm the fillets overmedium-highheat in a pan or in a preheated 375°F oven. However, they might not get as crispy as when you first fried them.

For the tartar sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl or jar and refrigerate until using. Consume within 7 days.