After talking to Brian L. Patton about his new book, The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude, I knew I had to try some of his veganized spins on classic and awesome food. So I asked him what one of his favorite easy vegan recipes was (because, you’ll recall, the kitchen and I are not what you would call “close friends”), and he shared this one, for bourbon tempeh sliders.
The sliders are meant to be served with over-baked french fries and vegan “cheese” sauce with chili–all of which can be made basically however you want–but they’d also go great with a salad or other side. Or alone. Really, however you want.
Here’s a note from Brian about the dish:
If you’re only making one batch of these sliders, I recommend that you eat them alone. If someone walks in on you, you’d best get into an elbowy defensive position and prepare for battle.
Ingredients (for six sliders):
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- One 8-ounce package tempeh, cut into six 2-inch-by-2-inch-by-4-inch squares
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot dissolved in 1-teaspoon water
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons Smoked Cheddar Sauce (optional), warmed
- 6 mini buns (about 2 inches wide), halved
- 4 packed cup baby spinach
- 1 Roma tomato, cut into 6 slices
In a pan, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh to the pan, and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until browned on one side, then flip and brown the other side, 2 to 3 minutes. Re-move the tempeh from the pan, and set aside. Add the onion to the same pan and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until slightly browned and soft. So as to not set yourself on fire, turn off the flame, and add the bourbon to the pan. Now let the bourbon simmer over medium heat for 1 minute, or until reduced by half.
Stir in the brown sugar, and simmer until it dissolves, about 1 minute. Add the vegetable stock, and simmer for 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir in the arrowroot slurry, continuing to simmer for about 1 more minute. When the sauce begins to thicken, add the tempeh to the pan and coat it with the sauce. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, or until the sauce reduces to a glaze. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Time for assembly. If using the smoked cheddar sauce, spread it on the inside of the buns. Assemble the sandwiches from the bottom up in the following order: 1 bun half, 1 piece of tempeh, a little of the bourbon sauce and onions, a few spinach leaves, 1 tomato slice, a pinch of salt, and the other bun half.
For the smoked cheddar sauce (you want this!)
Top some french fries with the chili topping (see page 206 of the book, or make your own favorite chili) and drizzle this over it. Oh damn! I just did that thing when saliva involuntarily squirts from the back of your mouth and goes like 2 feet. I knew a guy in college who could do that at will. He was cool.
Ingredients for 3 1/2 cups:
- 1 cup whole raw cashews
- One 12-ounce package soft silken tofu
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (see WTF, page 32)
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow miso
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (see WTF, page 27)
- 2/3 cup water
In a small pot, cover the cashews with water, and boil for about 8 minutes to soften them up. Drain and let cool. In a food processor or blender, process the cashews until they’re finely ground. Add the tofu, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, liquid smoke, miso, paprika, salt, mustard powder, oil, nutritional yeast, and water. Puree till the sauce is as smooth as the following: “Excuse me, Miss, do you have a map? Because I keep getting lost in your eyes.” Okay, well, maybe smoother than that.
Excerpted with permission from The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude ©2012 by Brian Patton. Published with permission of New World Library.
Image by Hilary McHone.