Recipe: Tempeh Reuben

I’m a sandwich lover. I don’t eat them all that often- but when I do, I like to go all out. A few days ago, Zack and I were at the farmer’s market (duh- that’s where we always are) and we picked up some freshly baked rustic sourdough. It was so good, we knew we needed to make something incredible with it.

I’ve always been in awe of Jewish deli food, it’s so full of flavor and texture and it’s something I never get to have because it’s almost never vegan. Actually, I think it’s safe to say there hasn’t been a single thing I could eat at any deli I’ve ever visited. Zack pretty much grew up on deli food, and I think it’s so important to learn how to make your childhood favorites without animal products. There’s no reason to ever feel ‘tempted’ by what you see at Canter’s if you can just make a better version of whatever it is at home.

This Tempeh Reuben is mind-blowing. It’s substantial and savory, the thousand island dressing is creamy and fresh. It’s the kind of thing I always want to give to my friends who tell me that eating plants is boring. The recipe calls for a grill, but we don’t have one, so we pan fried the tempeh and it was every bit as good. We omitted the capers and added a few slices of Daiya cheddar cheese, which brought it to a whole new level. This recipe comes from the tattered, food stained pages of the first cookbook I ever bought, Vegan With A Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
It remains my favorite to this day. If you don’t have a copy of it, get one already.

This recipe serves four and takes about 30 minutes of active cooking. Start marinating your tempeh an hour before you feel hungry so it doesn’t feel like a long wait.


Here’s What You Need:

1 pound tempeh cut into four equal pieces, then cut through the middle to make 8 equal squares.
8 slices fresh rustic sourdough bread (I’d usually use rye for this, but the sourdough caught my eye and I had to get it. I can never resist good sourdough.)
8 tsp nonhydrogenated margarine
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut
2 dill pickles, thinly sliced
1 avocado sliced

For the marinade:
1/2 cup white cooking wine
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp BRAGG Liquid Aminos (or tamari)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed

For the dressing:
1/3 cup Vegenaise (Follow Your Heart brand)
2 tbsp K.O. Ketchup
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp minced onion
2 tbsp sweet pickle relish (or equivalent amount of chopped pickles)
a pinch of cayenne

Here’s What You Do:

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the tempeh and let it marinate for at least an hour, turning once.

Mix together all the dressing ingredients with a fork and refrigerate.

When the tempeh has marinated for about an hour, preheat a skillet and drizzle it with olive oil. Cook the slices for about 4 minutes on each side until browned.

Toast the slices of bread directly on the oven rack at 250 °F for 8-10 minutes or until slightly crispy. Spread a teaspoon of margarine on each piece of bread. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Fry each piece of bread on the buttered side for 3 minutes, then flip over and cook 1 minute more on the dry side.

Assemble the sandwiches, drown them in dressing & enjoy!


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