My Very Own Vegan Tempeh Reuben

September 20, 2010

Over the past year, Caitlin has been slowly but surely turning me on to the wonders of reuben sandwiches. Not normal reubens, of course—vegan reubens! They seem to be fairly common fare at several of the veg*n restaurants in New York, and we’ve documented some of the delicious reubens we’ve tried here, here, and here. It’s safe to say that I am now definitely a reuben fan. I love the combination of flavors, and I find it to be one of the best ways to enjoy tempeh. I find it a little strange, though, since I don’t think I ever ate an actual reuben when I was still not veg, so I don’t really know what taste these vegan versions are trying to recreate. But that’s fine; all the variations I’ve tried have been wonders all in their own right.

So where is all this rambling headed? To last weekend, when I made my very own vegan reuben sandwich at home! And much to my surprise, it turned out great! I cribbed my recipe together from a couple different internet sources and kept it pretty simple, but this sammie was nonetheless super tasty and flavorful. Here’s what I did, step by step…

Step 1: The Tempeh

For my tempeh, I followed this recipe from Where’s The Revolution. All it was really was a simple marinade made from soy sauce (I used Bragg’s), water, cumin, caraway, mustard, and garlic, in which I baked a tempeh block (cut in four) for about 40 or 50 minutes. Not only was this a solid marinade for my purposes, it could definitely be heartily enjoyed outside of a reuben sandwich as well. Two thumbs up!

Step 2: Russian Dressing & Sauerkraut

To round out my reuben, I decided to make a mix of sauerkraut and Russian dressing to put on top of the tempeh. For the dressing, the recipe I followed most closely came from the Food Network (of all places), but I changed it up in a few places, so here’s a quick rundown of what went into mine:

Russian Dressing & Sauerkraut (for Tempeh Reuben)


  • 1/4 cup Vegannaise
  • 1/2 tbsp gochujang + 1/2 tbsp ketchup
  • dash of hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
  • 3 tbsp pickles, chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup sauerkraut


  1. Mix everything except the sauerkraut together until well combined, then fold in the sauerkraut.

The addition of the gochujang (all my idea) definitely kicked this dressing up a notch, both in terms of spice and in terms of all around deliciousness. This dressing/cole slaw also holds up perfectly well on its own, and would probably work just as well on other sandwiches too.

Step 3: The Finished Sandwich

Like I said, I was keeping this sandwich simple, so the tempeh and dressing were all that I put into this easy reuben. But boy, was it good! I really can’t say if it has all the flavors of a reuben right, but regardless, this is an awesome sandwich that I will definitely keep in my active repertoire. And on top of all that, this sammie makes for a great on-the-go lunch, since it’s easily wrapped and packed into a backpack before one leaves in the morning and still tastes fine at room temperature. In other words, you shouldn’t need any more reason—go and make this reuben for yourself!

And before I go, I want to quickly share with you all the cake I baked yesterday. Yes, that’s right: yesterday I baked a cake—no lie. And not just any cake, but a Coconut Cake with Butter Rum Sauce Icing (both recipes came from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan). Baking is not generally my forte, but this one turned out wonderful. Words won’t come close to capturing how mouthwateringly delicious this turned out, so here are the photos.

So good. That’s all I can say.

Until we eat again,



  1. It was so good ! I had a piece of it.

  2. Mixing sauerkraut and dressing together for a reuben = genius! Seems like it would make it all stick together better — my dressing and kraut always glop off.

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