A little while ago, I went to a vegan restaurant with my grandmother called Positivitea in Verona NJ. Their whole menu was awesome, but they had one item that particularly stood out to me: a veggie burger with sauerkraut on a pretzel bun. I thought it was a genius idea, so naturally, I created a recipe to put my own spin on it.
Making this sandwich was a bit of a process because I made almost everything from scratch, including the pretzel buns, vegan cheese, and thousand island dressing. However, it does not have to be a time-intensive project if you don’t want it to be. In fact, with a few tweaks, this recipe can easily come together in less than an hour. The key ingredients to this sandwich are the corned tempeh, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing. The pretzel buns are an awesome addition, but rye bread is also an easy and classic option for a Reuben.
Making the vegan cheese was an interesting experience. I attempted to make a “sharp beer cheddar” (note: not all beers are vegan, so always check before purchasing!). The cheese came out…okay. I wasn’t particularly impressed with it, and I think the recipe should definitely be improved upon before sharing it with all of you. The sharp cheesiness and beer flavor worked well with the sandwich, but I think any vegan cheese variety would work for this. You could also use some avocado slices, or just omit that component completely! You have complete creative authority over your Reuben.
Recently I decided to try making this recipe again and tweak it where needed. This will always be a favorite of mine, and it is definitely a crowd pleaser as well.
Tempeh Reuben Sandwich
- Corned Tempeh:
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 onion, roughly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 8-oz. pkg. tempeh, sliced on the bias
- Thousand Island Dressing
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup fresh water
- 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 dill pickle
- 2 tsp sweet relish
- 1 tbsp pickle juice
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- salt and pepper to taste
- Vegan Cheese or Avocado Slices, optional
- 8 Pretzel Buns, or 16 slices of Rye Bread
- To make the corned tempeh: In a large saucepan over medium heat, add onions. As they begin to brown and stick to the bottom, add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine. Cook for a few minutes, allowing the red wine to reduce. Add the tempeh slices, bay leaves, peppercorns, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer covered for 30 minutes. Leaving the pot covered, remove from the heat and allow the tempeh to cool in the brine.
- To make the thousand island dressing: blend the cashews, fresh water, vegan mayo, pickle, sweet relish, pickle juice, and ketchup in a high-speed blender until smooth.
- To assemble the sandwiches: place the lettuce, sauerkraut, corned tempeh, vegan cheese or avocado, and thousand island dressing (in that order) on your bread of choice. If using vegan cheese, simply melt it on top of the tempeh in a toaster oven or the microwave before putting it on the sandwich.