Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vegan Mofo #4 - Isa’s Tempeh Reuben...

Vegan Mofo #4 - Isa’s Tempeh Reuben 

The Book - Vegan with a Vengeance
The Author - Isa Chandra Moskowitz
The Recipe - Tempeh Reuben
Page # 102
Difficulty - Easy
Duration - The tempeh needs to marinate for 1 hour, after that you can whip this sandwich together in ten minutes.

Now I’ll be honest I’ve never eaten a real Reuben, I have always found corned beef to be one of the most disgusting meats on the planet. There is nothing about it that I find in the least bit appetizing. I’ve also never liked thousand Island dressing which I think is one of the most disgusting salad dressings on the planet, and I never liked sauerkraut. I know, I’m weird, I’m sure everyone reading likes or liked at least one of those three things, but that is my reason for never actually having a real Reuben. In the past year or so I’ve actually really grown to like Sauerkraut, in fact I like it so much now that I can’t believe I never liked it before. Just further proof that tastebuds change with time and that veganism opens your tastebuds to new worlds you never imagined possible. So because of this new love of sauerkraut I have in the past year tried several vegan Reuben’s. One at last years Vegan Mania, and a ‘California’ style Reuben at The Chicago Diner back in August - both delicious.

So while I was thinking about what sandwiches to make for Mofo, and I cam across this recipe I thought why not give it a try? Of course the problem then was my husband who does not like sauerkraut, nor thousand island dressing either, and he’s not exactly the biggest fan of rye bread. I really wanted to try this sandwich but making a recipe that serves four just for myself seemed a bit much. My solution then became to invite my dear friend E over for lunch to help me devour some sandwiches. In the end my husband ate one too - minus the kraut - and actually really liked it, even the bread, go figure.

So Isa’s Reuben is fairly simple. You slice the tempeh thin and marinate it in a mixture of wine, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, and garlic, then grill or fry it. You make a thousand island like dressing by mixing vegan mayo with ketchup, lemon, onion, capers, sweet pickle relish, and cayenne. Then when everything is ready you assemble your sandwich by spreading hot toasted pumpernickel bread with the dressing, piling on the tempeh, kraut, dill pickles and avocado, then drizzle over a little more dressing and enjoy!

I didn’t know what to expect. I thought the tempeh might be bitter because the marinade ingredients didn’t sound that promising, but I was wrong. The whole sandwich was bursting with unique and delicious flavor. All the components worked so well together and I particularly liked the mixture of sweet and tangy. The sauce is both sweet and tangy, the pickle is tangy, the kraut is tangy and then the bread is a bit sweet and the avocado brings it all together by adding a soft creamy texture. Amazing! I know that traditional Reuben’s use rye bread, but Isa’s calls for pumpernickel. Personally I prefer pumpernickel over rye but then when I was at the store I saw they had a pumpernickel-rye bread that looked so beautiful and delicious that I decided to get that instead. The best of both worlds you could say, and it really was a fantastic bread. E in particular really liked it.

This is definitely a sandwich I could make over and over again. There isn’t a bad thing I can say about it, it was simply divine. The Reuben may be a new favorite of mine!


  1. You are not the only one who never liked corned beef, thousand island, or sauerkraut! I think I could like sauerkraut now too, though. Will have to give this recipe a try. One of my favorite cookbooks!

  2. It is really tasty! definitely give it a try. I love VWAV too, such a great book with so many fantastic ideas!!!