Vegan Reuben Sandwich

by Eva Agha
A wooden board featuring a sliced reuben sandwich stacked with a steak knife stuck in them, a bowl of light orange sauce and potato chips on the side.

The reuben is a much-loved sandwich filled with pickle-y and fermented flavors. From it’s meat to the cabbage and the sauce. All those tangy, rich flavors are enough to make your mouth water, at least for the vegan version. The reuben sandwich is not vegan-friendly. It’s made with corned beef, swiss cheese, and mayo-based thousand island dressing (or sometimes Russian dressing). Never fear, we can get all that delicious flavor without any animal products! The most important thing you need for your vegan reuben sandwich is the meaty filling.


Corned Tempeh

8oz tempeh
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dry ground mustard seed
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp oil

Everything Else

Sliced rye bread
Thousand island dressing
Vegan Cheese Slices (optional)
Vegan butter


Make the Corned Tempeh
1 – Cut the tempeh into thirds lengthwise. Then cut each piece into three thin slices. Place in a shallow dish or a ziplock bag.
2 – In a large measuring cup mix together the rest of the corned tempeh ingredients except for the oil. Pour the marinade over the tempeh and let marinate for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally (or toss if in ziplock bag) to evenly marinate the tempeh. You can do this step in advance and refrigerate the tempeh while marinating for up to 1 day.
3 – Heat a large skillet over medium and add a little oil to coat the pan. Remove the tempeh from the marinade, letting excess marinade drip off the tempeh before transferring it to the hot pan. You may have to cook the tempeh in batches so the tempeh can cook in a single layer.
4 – Cook the tempeh for 2-4 minutes on each side or until golden. If cooking in two batches, remove the first batch from the skillet and fry the second batch. When all of the tempeh is browned add the first batches back in and pour the remaining marinade over the tempeh. Let the marinade come to a boil and soak into the tempeh, glazing the outside. Flip the tempeh a few times to evenly coat everything.

Prepare the Vegan Reuben Sandwiches
1 – Clean the skillet out from the tempeh then heat back over medium-low heat.
2 – Butter the outside of the slices of bread and place buttered side down on the hot skillet.
3 – Place sliced vegan cheese on one slice of bread (if using). Then spread some thousand island dressing on the second slice. Pile warm corned tempeh over the cheese as it melts (use 1-3 slices of tempeh per sandwich depending on size of bread and your appetite). Top the tempeh with sauerkraut, and when the bread is toasted top it with the thousand island dressed slice. Serve immediately!


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