Today I’m sharing a mouthwatering vegan sandwich that’s bursting with flavor; marinated tempeh, creamy thousand island dressing, toasty bread, and tangy beet and cabbage sauerkraut. If I had my own little vegan cafe, this would definitely be on the menu. I wholeheartedly believe that everyone should eat a tempeh Reuben at least once in their lives. Since it’s one of my favorite sandwiches to order when I’m eating out, I decided it was time to share my own version here.
Unlike the traditional Reuben, my vegan Ruby sandwich is loaded with clean, healthy protein, crunchy, probiotic-rich fermented beet and cabbage sauerkraut, and oil free thousand island dressing (using my new healthy oil free vegan mayo). Instead of a depressing stack of cancer and heart disease causing meat, my happy sandwich is completely cruelty free and layered with heart healthy tempeh, a fermented soy product that’s loaded with protein.
I used Lightlife’s Original Soy Tempeh, which is made simply with organic soy beans, organic brown rice, and water. I’ve been buying this tempeh for years, and it’s what I use to make all of my favorite tempeh recipes (including my spicy tempeh tacos, baked bbq strips, and tempeh chk’n salad). It’s the best! Not to mention it boasts 16 grams of protein per serving!
Depending on how you decide to build your sandwich, you can make this completely gluten free and oil free, in addition to being 100% vegan. Simply choose gluten free bread over traditional rye, bake your tempeh instead of searing, and pre-toast your bread instead of grilling the entire sandwich in the pan. I used vibrant red beet and cabbage fermented sauerkraut, hence the name “Ruby,” but any sauerkraut will work. No matter what options you decide to go with, I hope you enjoy my plant-based spin on the Reuben sandwich!
The “Ruby” Sandwich – Vegan Tempeh Reuben
Makes 2 (possibly 3) sandwiches
For the sandwich:
- Marinated tempeh (recipe below)
- Homemade thousand island dressing (recipe below)
- 4 – 6 slices of bread (rye, sprouted whole grain, gluten free, or other bread of choice)
- 1/2 cup (or more) prepared sauerkraut of choice (I used this kind)
For the thousand island dressing:
- 1/2 cup healthy oil free vegan mayo or prepared vegan mayo of choice
- 3 tbsp organic ketchup
- 1 tbsp sweet relish
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- optional – pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Store in the fridge.
For the tempeh:
- 8 oz package of Lightlife Original Tempeh
- 2 – 3 tbsp soy sauce (I use 2)
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
- 1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Start by steaming your tempeh. This makes it easier for the marinade to absorb. Cut the tempeh in half, lengthwise, use a steam basket over a pot of water and heat over medium, covering the pot. Steam for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and carefully slice each half of the tempeh into about 3-4 slices. Lay the slices in a shallow container, and pour the marinade over the tempeh. Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes (or overnight).
You can either bake or pan fry your tempeh. To bake: pre-heat oven to 400 F. Place tempeh slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 15-20 minutes, flipping and brushing with marinade halfway through.
To fry: lightly coat a skillet with avocado oil and heat over medium. Place the strips in the pan in an even layer and sear each side for about 2-3 minutes, pouring the marinade over them before flipping.
Assemble your sandwich:
Toasted bread version: Toast your bread and then spread dressing on each slice. Layer each sandwich with tempeh and sauerkraut.
Grilled version: Lightly coat a frying pan with avocado oil, and preheat over medium. Assemble the sandwich by spreading dressing over each slice of bread and adding a layer of sauerkraut and tempeh. Carefully place the entire sandwich on the hot pan and grill each side for a minute or two or until lightly browned.
Tell me, have you ever had a tempeh Reuben?? What other sandwich would you love to see veganized??