Vegan Homemade Kaiser Rolls with Po' Boy Tempeh Sammich

A vegan Po' Boy tempeh sammich on homemade Kaiser rolls--nothing short of incredible and delish!
A great shot of the inside to show how much stuffin' the sammie can take--not too much, but just enough!
After the Kaiser dough goes through a two hour rise, you will then have a few more "shaping" steps--this shows how big my circles were in comparison to the cookie sheets they were on.

Then the old Kaiser fold happens (see my link below for further detail). I gave an extra finger punch for effect.

Turning the rolls upside down during their final 1 hour rise before baking helps them maintain their Kaiser shape--plus keeps the seeds on them.

Just about ready for their baking--though I did poke my finger one more time into the middle of the rolls trying to keep the fold from baking itself out of the roll.

What can I say? Just beautiful and the smell--amazing!

This is my tempeh mixture cooking.

Having a good sandwich now and then makes life worth living. I know that's how Mr. Thyme feels--anything for dinner that can be held with two hands and we have a "ten" rating for the night's meal. I could serve a lettuce wedge in between two pieces of bread and call it Mr. Greensleeves--as long as it sits between two slices of bread--it's all good (I think it's in the male genes--I also think it's a fast food conspiracy, too--but more on that during another post). When I began the "blog lurking" yesterday morning, I had no idea where I'd land. That is what I love about the foodies in the blogosphere--so much amazing talent, so much to see and read! One of my first stops is usually on Not nearly enough time in a day for me to view all I'd like to. But as the network goes, there are some fabulous cooks out there (not all vegan, of course, but many inspirational dishes that can easily be made vegan). A few of my new cyber world friends have come from this site.

First stop yesterday was on Cajun Chef Ryan's page. His blog and recipes are brilliant--not a vegan per se, but he does deliver up some incredible recipes and terrific meal ideas. And he's a Cajun chef, what more could you want? Some of the best cooking in the country comes from our Cajun region.That's how my dinner last night got started--seeing his shrimp and slaw sandwich and reading it was actually a version of the Po' Boy. Mmmm, Po' Boy sammies. Southern in nature (the South--I am quite acquainted with thee, y'all). The sandwich is quite often made with shrimp or, in the case of my Southern Living cookbook, one recipe made it with fried clams dredged in cornmeal and crackers, topped with a mayo concoction or slaw--but vegan mayo is a must. I went with my own interpretation (using tempeh instead)--but knew to really take this recipe to the top, there was no way a store bought Kaiser roll would do. If I were in New York, I may run have run out for some deli Kaisers, but here, Kaisers from a St. Louis grocery store: no way. (I am sadly disappointed in bread options in my neck of the woods--sadly.) Thus my infatuation and determination for a good roll intensified.

So then, another search began: Homemade Kaiser Rolls. Here is where my OCD kicked in. My two hour read and search bonanza began about noon. As it was a holiday yesterday, Mr. Thyme busied himself with reading a book or two (he is Evelyn Woods Reading Dynamic times three) and giving me input as I stated my latest finds on the making of the beloved Kaiser. Here is where my next few stops helped turn last night's dinner out. I landed on several options--of course any baker worth their salt knows of King Arthur Flour or KAF. And of course, they had a recipe for the Kaiser. But I had to seek further options. There was the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge group who just recently made the Kaiser Rolls (from author Peter Reinhart). Note to self, look into getting this book? Here I was intrigued, but the recipe used in the book apparently calls for a day ahead prep of some sort of starter for the dough. I was not into "day ahead" anything. I needed them in about three hours. Then came a chance encounter with a site called The Fresh Loaf. First of all, the directions for this Kaiser was just what I was looking for--one day prep, and a deli-worthy roll to boot! Look at the roll--just a thing of beauty, honestly. The recipe the fresh loaf author created was culled from combining both the BBA recipe and another author's, Bernard Clayton (whom I am not familiar with--but must be someone to look into given the outcome of this roll). Perfect! I was ready to get my flour mojo on!

Vegan Creamy Slaw
*I adapted my recipe to be vegan--see Bobby Flay's creamy slaw recipe from:

Vegan Kaiser Roll Recipe

From the standpoint of directions for the Kaiser recipe--I direct you to any of the links above for your inspiration (again, I stuck with The Fresh Loaf)--making the following vegan adaptations: First, I used King Arthur Bread Flour--which I think made a huge difference. I used Ener-G Egg Replacer for the equivalent of two eggs. For the "malt powder" called for, just sub 1 tablespoon of Florida Crystals or your sugar you have on hand. For the topping, I also added toasted sesame seeds vs. his with just poppy seeds--though I did keep poppies on the bread--you have to. When you preheat your oven--make sure you have a pizza stone in there, and also, on the bottom of the oven, add a broiler tray--just the bottom part of it. When you then place the two trays of Kaiser rolls in the oven for baking, have a 1 cup of water available to pour onto the bottom broiler tray--NOT on the bottom of the oven for crying out loud, but on the tray placed inside. Quickly close the oven door--the steam produced from this is necessary for some scientific/chemical reason I am not sure of. I followed the rest of the directions regarding turning the trays half way through baking to allow for more even browning, and as you can see from the photos, this worked!

Vegan Po' Boy Tempeh Sammich

1 package tempeh
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
1 celery stalk sliced thin
Spike seasoning or salt and pepper to taste
any combo of dried fresh herbs--about 2 teaspoons worth
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons of your favorite chili powder
hot sauce (couple dashes)
2 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Amino
2 tablespoons canola oil

First, you could prep your tempeh in the morning and just let it sit in a covered dish in the fridge all day--then won't need to wait to marinate and cook it the same day. Just a thought. Heat about three cups of water in a medium suace pan. Slice the tempeh into about 5 long pieces. Add tempeh to the water and allow to simmer for 15 minutes (to get that "taste" out of it). Next, remove the sliced tempeh from the water and place in a container. Add to the container (spreading it over the tempeh)--the canola oil, Braggs, dried herbs, chili powder, garlic and onion powder. Allow to marinate in this for about 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, begin prepping your veggies. Add about 2 tablespoons of canola oil to medium saute pan. Cook the chopped veggies over medium heat until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. You can add some Spike or salt and pepper to this. Turn the heat to low and allow to simmer a bit longer while you wait for the tempeh to finish it's marinating. Add the tempeh and all of the marinade to the veggie pan--then slice the tempeh into bite-sized pieces--with a fork or knife. Sprinkle a bit more chili powder over the mixture and bring heat to medium for about 10 minutes (allowing the tempeh to brown a bit, move the veggies around to keep them from getting too brown, or you could just remove them for a hot minute, then add them back in--your call).

To assemble the sandwich: Just follow the pictures above! I also added a big slice of tomato to the mix!
Yum, Yum, Yum. We had a half baked potato with this--really wanted potato fries, but with only one oven, this was not going to happen.


  1. Yet again a great bread recipe! Ahh...I need to control my carb cravings indeed! :) Great sandwich. I found a recipe for fried faux bacon using tofu, so I think I am making this! Thanks for a great odea for tomorrow!

  2. Wow! What a great way to kick up this recipe into the vegan world! Wonderful incorporation of the tempeh with the slaw, and then you put this one into the stratosphere with the made from scratch Kaiser Rolls!

    Two Thumbs Way Up!!!!

    Culinarily yours,

  3. Those kaiser rolls look amazing! I was just digging around the internet yesterday for a good hamburger bun recipe because all the buns at our local Target are full of yucky stuff. Even the vegan ones have tons of sugar and high fructose corn syrup and all that kind of crud in them. Our health food store has great sprouted grain buns, but they are outrageously expensive! I might have to give these a try.

  4. Hello Kelly, I' love this post. Especially the sandwich of course. Great read nice blog. You have great taste. I'm now your follower! Since you like to sandwich, come visit my blog too. Thanks a million, Keri (a.k.a. Sam)

  5. These look really great! We've been meaning to try buns for sandwiches and haven't really yet. The Fresh Loaf is amazing! I came across it not long ago and was please, as well.

  6. @Cajun Chef Ryan: You are the best! Thank you so very much for your comments! I loved how the interpretation of your sammy turned out for the vegan in me! I really want to try your King Cake next. (I have the recipe bookmarked!)

  7. @Wintu's World: Thanks so much! Oh yes, I did the same before settling on making my own rolls (looking over those offered in stores with a skeptical wonder)--WHAT do they put in those?--the ingredient list alone is enough to require a science degree--glad I married one--he interprets a lot for me! I hope you try the recipe--it really was a pleasant surprise!

  8. @Vegan Fox: I hope you try them--they are worth the time and effort! I love the fresh loaf site! So many breads, so little time!

  9. @Sam: Loved your blog about sammies--brilliant idea and I will be reading you as well! I am thrilled to have you as a follower--thanks so much! Here's to more sammies in our lives!


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