Hearty and protein rich vegetarian tempeh cheeseburgers are a great meatless BBQ idea. These tempeh burgers are easy to make vegan – just omit the cheese or use vegan cheese.

Two vegetarian tempeh cheeseburgers with caramelized onions on dinner plates.  
Whether you’re a vegetarian, trying to eat a little less meat, or just struggle to feed vegetarian friends at summer BBQs – this is a recipe to bookmark.  With BBQ sauce, sweet caramelized onions, sharp melted cheddar, microgreens and of course avocados this meal is hearty enough even for the manliest meat lovers. 
Kids playing at the beach.
And I have to be honest… brushing a piece of Trader Joe’s tempeh with BBQ sauce is much easier than getting my hands all yucky forming turkey or beef patties. Tempeh is sold next to the tofu and other soy products. We have been spending long days at the beach and returning home sandy and tired, so quick and easy has been key lately. 
Delicious vegetarian vegan tempeh burgers with bbq sauce on ciabatta buns with caramelized onions and microgreens.  
Caramelized onions make everything sweeter. 
A little girl eats a BBQ tempeh cheeseburger.
Miss B agrees. 

More Veggie Burger Inspiration:
101 Cookbooks: Ultimate Veggie Burger Recipe
Cooking Light: 10 Best Veggie Burger Recipes 
Green Kitchen Stories: Portobello and Peach Burger
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Lentil Burgers
The Kitchen: Best-Ever Beet and Bean Burgers

Yield: Serves 4

Tempeh Cheeseburgers

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Hearty and protein rich vegetarian tempeh cheeseburgers are a great meatless BBQ idea. These tempeh burgers are easy to make vegan - just omit the cheese or use vegan cheese.

Tempeh Cheeseburgers


  • 1 pound tempeh, cut into square patties
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oilย 
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled, halved, and slicedย 
  • 4 crusty rolls, halved
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 cup microgreens


  1. Place tempeh patties into a shallow dish and cover with BBQ sauce, turning to coat. Set aside.
  2. Coat a saute pan over medium heat with olive oil. Add sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Coat grill with cooking spray and heat to medium high. Alternatively, heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove tempeh from dish and place on grill or bake right in the dish. Grill until dark grill marks appear, turning once, about 10 minutes total. If baking, bake for 20 minutes, turning once.
  4. Place rolls on grill with bottom half placed cut side down, and top half cut side up. Immediately place cheese on top half of rolls. Close grill and toast rolls until cheese has melted. Remove from heat.
  5. Assemble burgers by placing sliced avocado on bottom half of roll. Place tempeh on top of avocado. Top tempeh with microgreens, caramelized onions, and top half of roll.
  6. Serve with more BBQ sauce, if desired.


If you'd like more tender tempeh patties that absorb more flavor and less bitterness, steam the whole tempeh for 10 minutes, then drain and proceed with marinating in sauce.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 burger
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 458Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 406mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 27g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.