Tempeh Hoagie-Letta


Recipe By Kim O'Donnel from the book “The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook”

Born and raised outside of Philadelphia by two Philly natives, I cut my teeth (not long after the T-bone from my high chair days) on footlong sandwiches that are my hometown's cultural icons. I’m talking about the cheese steak and the hoagie, possibly two of the greatest artery cloggers ever invented, a mound of meat and fixins tucked into a freshly baked Italian roll, always made to order with homegrown “atty-tude” in a neighborhood joint—a luncheonette, corner sandwich shop, or street cart.

I wondered if it was possible to recreate the hoagied bliss of my youth, but without the cold cuts. Here, pan-fried tempeh (which you’ll also meet on page 131) stands in for the Italian meats and cozies up with an olive salad that is reminiscent of the dressing on a muffaletta, the hoagie’s distant and equally scrumptious cousin from New Orleans.

Ladies and gents, meet the hoagie-letta.

Yield: 4 sandwiches



  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Juice ½ lime
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped, plus
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce of choice (optional)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package soy tempeh (multigrain or flax is fine, too; see page 19 for recommendations), sliced into thumb-size pieces, about ½ inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • 4 (6-inch) hoagie rolls (baguette is too hard; look for something soft)
  • Olive oil, to moisten the rolls
  • A few slices of smoked Gouda or provolone cheese per sandwich (optional tasty treat)
  • Fixins Salad
  • ½ medium-size onion, cut through the root in half, then sliced into half-moons
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 small celery stalks, washed thoroughly, halved lengthwise, and cut into ½-inch slices
  • Juice ½ lemon
  • ½ cup good-quality olives (green and/or black), pitted and chopped roughly
  • ¼ cup pepperoncini or your favorite pickled pepper, chopped roughly
  • ¼ cup roasted peppers (½ to 1 medium-size pepper), chopped roughly (see page 194 for how-to details; jarred variety also fine)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • Salt and ground black pepper


  1. In a shallow baking dish, combine the soy sauce, mustard, sesame oil, lime juice, garlic, and hot sauce (if using) and whisk with a fork to blend. Add the tempeh, making sure it’s covered in marinade. Allow to marinate about 30 minutes, turning to coat the second side after 15 minutes.
  2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the onion, oregano, oil, celery, and lemon juice and stir. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes. The onion will mellow out a bit with the citrus.
  3. Stir in the olives, pepperoncini, roasted peppers, and parsley. Taste for salt and pepper, and season accordingly (the olives and pickled peppers are salty, FYI). Can be made several hours or day in advance. The salad gets better the next day.
  4. Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Remove the tempeh from the marinade and transfer to the skillet to pan-fry. Don’t crowd the skillet; if necessary, cook the tempeh in batches.
  5. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. With tongs, transfer to a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle immediately with salt.
  6. Slice the rolls in half (but not all the way through; keep attached along one edge). In a dry skillet or under the low setting of your broiler, toast the rolls, cut side toward the heat source, until slightly crisp on the inside. Remove from the heat and rub the insides with the whole garlic clove.
  7. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on each roll half to moisten. Add the cheese, if using, followed by ½ cup of salad, topped off with four pieces of tempeh. Push the tempeh down to meet the salad, squish both sides of roll, and dig in.
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