The classic Reuben sandwich is easy to make meatless as well as dairy-free. This vegan reuben sandwich recipe is a quick-to-fix lunch and a fantastic choice for a soup-and-sandwich dinner.
This interpretation of the Reuben sandwich takes lots of culinary license, but the contrasting flavors are all there, including the must-have sauerkraut. Try to use a real fermented sauerkraut, which is as good for your gut as it is for your palate. Or, for an extra kick, use kimchi instead.
What’s a reuben sandwich?
The original Reuben features corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island or Russian dressing on rye bread. Sounds like a heart attack on toast! Vegan versions usually swap in plant-based bacon, and of course, vegan cheese.
For this recipe, we make our own dressing because the aforementioned dressings don’t often come in plant-based versions. And honestly, what I call “Thousand Island-ish” dressing is ridiculously easy to make at home with just three ingredients — vegan mayo, ketchup, and relish.
Finally, I like to add thin slices of tomato and avocado to my vegan reuben sandwiches to make them more colorful and extra veg-friendly.
Vegan bacon: Use your favorite brand of prepared vegan bacon (there’s Lightlife Fakin’ Bacon, Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon, and others), or make your own Sweet and Savory Tempeh Strips, aka homemade tempeh bacon.
The yield for this recipe is 4 generous open-face sandwiches. Depending on appetite and what else is being served, this can serve 2 generously, or 4 if a lot of other food is being served. It’s easy to double this recipe for a bigger crowd.
Recipe adapted from Plant-Powered Protein: 125 Recipes for Using Today’s Amazing Meat Alternatives ©2020 by Nava Atlas. Reprinted by permission. Photographs by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
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- 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup good-quality ketchup
- 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
- 8 ounces plant-based bacon or Smoky Tempeh Strips (see link in Notes)
- Vegan butter or oil
- 4 average slices fresh whole grain bread
- 4 vegan cheese slices, any variety
- 1 medium ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes (or as needed), thinly sliced
- Well-drained sauerkraut, as desired (or use kimchi for a spicier kick)
- Combine the mayo, ketchup, and relish in a small bowl and stir together until well combined.
- Cook the bacon on a wide skillet with a little vegan butter or oil; or prepare the Smoky Tempeh Strips as directed in the recipe. When done, remove to a plate and cover.
- Wipe the skillet fairly clean and heat the just enough additional vegan butter or oil to coat the surface once again.
- Arrange the bread on the skillet (do in two batches if they don’t fit). Cover each with a slice of cheese, then the remaining ingredients as follows: Avocado slices, tomato slices, the cooked bacon, and finally, as much sauerkraut as you’d like.
- Heat the sandwiches over medium until the cheese melts. Serve at once.
Here's the link to Sweet and Savory Tempeh Strips if you'd like a DIY vegan bacon recipe.
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