Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

This is our take on the legendary East Coast hot sandwich that traditionally contains pastrami or corned beef squeezed between gooey layers of melted cheese, sauerkraut and Russian sauce served on grilled Rye bread.
Swapping the beef for tempeh, this recipe really showcases just how delicious tempeh can be when used directly as a meat substitute.

The key for making this a hearty tribute to the original sandwich is to cut the tempeh into nice 1-inch think pieces, and don’t hold back on the sauerkraut!


For the Russian sauce:
Mayo - 3 big spoons of your favorite brand, here in Japan, Kewpie is king but if you want to veganize this sucker you can use this vegan brand.
Garlic Purée - Tablespoon
Sun dried Tomatoes - a handful
Smoked Paprika - Tablespoon
Ketchup - 1 tablespoon or a 5 second squirt from the bottle
Mustard - tablespoon of good, whole grain style
Worcester sauce - (my favorite thing to have Emily pronounce), a few drops
Sriracha - (Emily's favorite thing to have me pronounce), as much as you want
White wine vinegar - tablespoon
Gherkins - 5 or 6, diced
Lemon rind and juice

For the sandwiches
A block of PURA TEMPEH - Soy or Black Soy work well in this sandwich
A few slices of your favorite melty cheese. This vegan cheese is found at Lucky Supermarket in Kutchan or online here.
Sauerkraut - homemade is one of the easiest things to do in the world and good fun
Rye Bread (if you have it) or Sourdough rolls work just as well

1. Mix all of the sauce ingredients and store in the fridge for a couple hours to let the flavors combine.

2. Cut the tempeh into inch thick strips. This sandwich has a lot of flavors going on so this is one of the times where we don’t usually use a marinade, as we want to keep it quite neutral. We did however just recently see a recipe that looked amazing where the tempeh was marinated in beet juice, giving it a true corned beef look that we will be trying shortly.

3. Fry the tempeh until golden brown, remember to use an oil with a high smoke point like coconut or canola oil - not olive oil which sucks for frying tempeh with. Set aside and pat excess oil off.

4. Toast a couple of rye bread slices and spoon a thick layer of the Russian sauce onto the bottom slice, followed by 3 strips of tempeh, a mass of sauerkraut, and topped by melted cheese. Boom! Your plant-based Reuben is complete and you must now prepare to be inundated by recipe requests from vegans and omnivores alike.