This Vegan Tempeh Reuben is what you should make with that block of tempeh sitting in your fridge. Seriously, this protein-loaded sandwich packs a flavor punch and is super filling. You could easily make this a hearty lunch or dinner entree.
My Vegan Tempeh Reuben is loaded with an array of bold flavors. That savory-sweet tempeh, all sizzling in the pan, caramelized around the peppery edges. Then we have the avocado and warmed sauerkraut. Pickles and sweet dried cranberries for a bit of contrast. I ass spicy mustard and my secret sauce. And lightly toasted bread – I used sourdough – brings it all together.
I also love adding the same sort of tempeh to a wrap. This is my smoky tempeh wrap..
Side Note: Ok, so I need to make this again and do a proper photoshoot, but for now, you get one pic of this beauty.
But let’s get back to today’s main event.
The Tempeh Reuben: A Vegan Twist on a Deli Classic
Reubens are iconic. Hailing from the heart of American delis, this sandwich has been tantalizing taste buds for decades. Traditionally, it’s stacked with corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut, then is toasted to perfection. But what if we could transform this classic into a plant-based masterpiece? Enter: The Tempeh Reuben.
If you’re new to tempeh, you’re in for a treat. Made from fermented soybeans, tempeh is a fantastic source of protein, fiber, and a slew of nutrients. Its firm texture and nutty flavor make it an ideal meat substitute. Plus, tempeh absorbs flavors beautifully, which is why it’s the perfect star for our vegan Reuben sandwich.
In literally minutes, you can take tempeh from drab to dramatic. And unlike tofu, you don’t have to stress about the texture. It really is what it is. Firmer. More nutty. Natural texture, a bit ‘meaty’ in a beany way. Love this stuff.
This Vegan Tempeh Reuben sandwich is a great source of plant-based protein!
The Importance of Marinade
A Reuben sandwich usually uses seasoned meat. In my vegan version, I achieve this by marinating the tempeh in a mix of savory, tangy, and slightly sweet ingredients. Super simple. Just maple syrup and a soy-type sauce — and that’s really it. I also love adding black pepper and something smoky if I have it on hand. Liquid smoke or smoky paprika works well.
Putting It All Together
As with any Reuben, the magic is in the layers. Alongside our marinated tempeh, we’ll use avocado, a generous helping of sauerkraut, and a dollop of vegan Russian dressing – but it’s really just my simple secret sauce with 2 main ingredients. All of this is nestled between slices of bread, which when toasted, provide the perfect crunch.
Traditionally, you would use a rye bread. But sourdough like I used, works great.
The Final Touch
Each bite of my Vegan Tempeh Reuben promises a harmonious blend of savory, tangy, and creamy notes, making this sandwich a must-try for both vegans and non-vegans alike.
Ready to try this easy + cravable sandwich? Let’s get to the recipe!
Alright, here are the Vegan Tempeh Reuben basics…
- dried cranberries
See recipe card for quantities.
Alright, let’s get creative…
- Tempeh – Yup, tofu could work. Thinly slice it.
- Maple + Soy marinade – You could sub with a bottle bbq sauce if you want to try a different flavor
- Sauerkraut – Try another pickled veggie or DIY cole slaw
- Toppings – You can totally change up the toppings…
Looking for other tempeh recipes? Try these:
Some great side dishes for this sandwich:
Vegan Tempeh Reuben
- 5 oz tempeh
- liquid aminos, to taste
- 1 teaspoon EVOO, for pan
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, to taste – add more for extra sweetness
- 1 tablespoon vegan mayo, heaping
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- pinch smoky spices
- ½ cup sauerkraut
- 5 pickle slices
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- ¼ cup avocado
- 2 tablespoon dried cranberries, optional
- 2 slices bread
- Warm skillet over high heat, Add EVOO.
- Add tempeh, maple, liquid aminos and spices. Toss a bit. Cover with lid, reduce heat to medium. Cook 2-4 minutes.
- Uncover pan, turn off heat. Toss tempeh in liquid a bit more and let steam burn off excess liquid. Add sauerkraut to the skillet to warm a bit.
- Briskly whisk together the secret sauce.
- Layer sandwich with all ingredients. Slice and serve.