This is one of those recipes that I veganized without ever having had it in its original form. If you asked me what a non-vegan Reuben sandwich contains, I couldn't tell you one specific ingredient other than sauerkraut. I never did like cold cuts (and WOW, how that term, "cold cuts," makes so much sense now in a creepy and perverse way) so I never ate these types of sandwiches. I really wanted to name this sandwich a Tempeh Rachel since Rachel is my Hebrew name. However, I found out that the difference between a Reuben and a Rachel is not which meat you use but whether you use sauerkraut or cole slaw. So here is my vegan version of a Tempeh Reuben sandwich. And not a "cold cut" in sight.
Tempeh Reuben Sandwich [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Marinade:
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbs. low-sodium, gluten-free tamari
- 1 Tbs. gluten-free, vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbs. raw apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbs. water
- 1 tsp. liquid smoke
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. dried mustard
- 1 tsp. dried coriander
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 bay leaf, crumbled
For the Russian Dressing:
- 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 2 Tbs. ketchup
- 1 Tbs. prepared horseradish
- 1 tsp. gluten-free, vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1/8 tsp. hot sauce or Sriracha (optional)
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
For the Tempeh Reubens:
- 1 block gluten-free tempeh, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 Tbs. canola oil
- 1-2 Tbs. vegan butter
- 4 slices gluten-free bread
- 1 cup sauerkraut
- Russian dressing
- Prepare the marinade by combining all the ingredients in a bowl or container. Cut the tempeh into 8 pieces. I do this by cutting the rectangular block in half so I have 2 squares. Then I slice each square like a bagel so that it’s turned into 4 thin squares. Then cut each square in half so you have 8 thin rectangular pieces. Add the tempeh to the marinade, cover and let sit for at least one hour. Meanwhile, prepare the Russian dressing and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and grill the tempeh on both sides until browned and softened, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the grill pan and set aside.
- Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Coat one side of each slice of bread with vegan butter. Cook the bread, buttered side down, on the griddle until golden brown. Remove from the griddle but leave the griddle on the heat. Butter the uncooked side of the bread.
- On the cooked side of one slice of bread, slather some of the Russian dressing. Add 4 pieces of tempeh and a good amount of sauerkraut. Slather the cooked side of a second piece of bread with Russian dressing and top the sandwich.
- Put the sandwich onto the hot griddle, buttered side down. Press on the sandwich gently with a spatula and cook until the bottom is browned, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip the sandwich over and brown the other buttered side. Repeat with the second sandwich. Serve while hot.