Howdy, friends! Do I have a treat for you today!
Two words: Tempeh Reuben. Have you ever had a reuben sandwich? Traditionally, it’s composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread. I can’t say I’ve had the misfortune of trying corned beef before, but frankly, it sounds rather awful.
Now, I’m not reinventing the wheel with this sandwich- many a vegan blogger has created a similar recipe. But after seeing a vegan reuben sandwich on the menu at Fresh Restaurant in Toronto awhile back, I knew I’d have to set about creating my own recipe at home!
This recipe is a flavour bomb for your taste buds. It makes the perfect cozy lunch or dinner at home, especially with a steaming bowl of soup! Ah, winter, I’m beginning to love you.
The central components of this sandwich are my tempeh bacon, vegan cheese or organic Swiss cheese, pickles, sauerkraut, caramelized onions and mushrooms, and avocado. Pile these high between a couple of slices of your favourite sourdough or sprouted grain bread, grill, and nosh. Mmmmm… enough said, am I right?
Tempeh Reuben Sandwiches (Vegan)
- 4 slices sprouted grain or sourdough bread of choice
- 8 slices tempeh bacon, cooked (homemade or store-bought)*
- 6 thin slices vegan cheese of choice or organic Swiss cheese
- 1 tbsp ghee, coconut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 heaping cups thinly sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup sauerkraut, preferably one that contains beets for colour, drained
- 2 dill pickles, thinly sliced
- 1/2 an avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Butter, vegan butter, or refined coconut oil, as needed, for spreading on bread
- Place the bread, tempeh bacon, and cheese on a large cutting board or other flat surface so that they are ready to assemble.
- In a large skillet, heat ghee, coconut oil, or olive oil over medium heat. Once shimmering, add onions. Season with a couple dashes of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and caramelized, about 20-25 minutes. Turn down heat as needed to prevent burning/sticking. Once onions are caramelized, remove them from the heat and place them in a dish until ready to use.
- In the same skillet, cook the mushrooms over medium heat, adding a couple pinches of salt and stirring occasionally, until they have released all of their liquid and have shrunk considerably. You want them to be nicely browned and slightly crispy as opposed to soggy, so be patient! Once sufficiently browned, add the onions back into the pan, mix together, and remove from heat.
- Assemble the sandwiches: Heat a heavy-bottomed (preferably cast iron) skillet over medium. Butter the bottom and top side of each slice of bread, as you would when making a grilled cheese sandwich. Next, place 4 slices of tempeh bacon on each bottom slice. Next, top with equal amounts of avocado, sauerkraut, pickles, onions/mushrooms, cheese, and Dijon mustard. Make sure that the cheese is on the top layer so that it melts against the bread. Place the two remaining (top) slices of bread on each sandwich.
- Cook each sandwich for 4 minutes per side, or until both sides are nicely browned and crispy, and the cheese has melted.
- Note: If you opt to make homemade tempeh bacon, you can find my recipe here.