3 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 (adapted) 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)


The fried tempeh fillets are best consumed right after frying, but leftover fried fillets can be refrigerated and consumed within 4 to 5 days. To reheat, warm the fillets over medium-high heat in a pan or in a preheated 375°F oven. However, they might not get as crispy as when you first fried them. The homemade tartar sauce can be made and refrigerated up to seven days ahead.


For the filet-o-tempeh sandwiches

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

For the homemade 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 filet-o-tempeh sandwiches

Step 1: To marinate the tempeh, slice the brick of tempeh in half and slice each half lengthwise so you have 4 thin fillets. Combine the 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of the Old Bay, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish. Submerge tempeh 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.

Step 2: When you are ready to fry the tempeh, add 4-6 cups 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.

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

Step 4: Take each tempeh fillet from the marinade and dredge through the flour, getting all sides well coated.

Step 5: When you’re ready to fry, gently stir the 1 cup 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.

Step 6: Cook for 2 minutes, flipping the fillet after 1 minute, until golden brown on all sides. Using a slotted frying spoon, remove the fried tempeh fillet to a wire rack set over a baking sheet. This will help keep the fillets crispy while you continue frying. Laying them on paper towels could make the fillets soggy.

Step 7: Make sure the oil is still between 350°F and 365°F before frying another fillet. Repeat the beer batter and frying process for remaining tempeh fillets. 

Step 8: 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 2 cups sprouts, a fillet, avocado slices and more tartar sauce on top.

For the homemade tartar sauce

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

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