Smoky, Spicy Tempeh Burger with Sundried Tomato Sauce

. September, 2016
Photography by Kelly Gibney.
Smoky, Spicy Tempeh Burger with Sundried Tomato Sauce

My hearty and wholesome take on a vegetarian burger is simple to put together and is big on flavour. The cucumber and avocado are an essential part of the combination – adding a cooling creaminess that makes the burger really sing. Use your favourite gluten-free burger buns or serve as an open sandwich on toasted sourdough or rye bread.

Serves: 4


Sundried Tomato Sauce
60 grams sundried tomatoes, drained of oil
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup olive oil
2–4 tablespoons water (as needed)
sea salt and ground black pepper

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or brown sugar or coconut sugar)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon hot curry powder
¼ teaspoon good-quality hot smoked paprika
sea salt and ground black pepper
250 grams tempeh (I used the Tonzu brand)
4 x gluten-free burger buns (I used Vogels)
1 avocado, sliced
¼ telegraph cucumber, sliced
handful mesclun or rocket leaves


Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Tomato sauce: Combine all the sauce ingredients and use a hand blender or mini food processor to blitz until a desired consistency. Add water as needed to loosen to a spreadable texture. Set aside until ready to use.

Burgers: Whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, tamari, lemon juice, curry powder, paprika and a generous seasoning of sea salt and black pepper. Cut the tempeh into 1cm slices. Lay in an ovenproof dish and pour the marinade over the top. Turn the tempeh until well coated. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once.

Cut the burger buns in half and place under a hot grill to toast. Spread one side of each bun thickly with the sundried tomato sauce. Top with avocado, cucumber and tempeh slices. Add mesclun and serve immediately.