Vegan Reuben Sandwich

We’re currently looking for a house to buy. Some might think that this should be an exciting time, but it’s proving to be a challenging experience where we are. People like to advertise their properties by themselves, without real estate agencies, on one of the numerous property advertising websites; with signs on their houses, by the road, on telephone poles, or by the word of mouth alone. Finding that perfect piece of land with a house that has potential seems as much a matter of luck as of perseverance.

Needless to say, I feel a bit stressed out. And as it is the case with a lot of people, stress leads me to food. Not just any food, but the worst, greasy, comfort food I can think of. I can't say that I was surprised the other day by a craving that I got for a Reuben sandwich. The last time I had a Reuben sandwich was at least 5 years ago so I’m not sure how the idea of it even entered my mind, but the craving wasn't going away. I had to give in and try to create a vegan version of this once-favourite pub meal of mine.

I started to reconstruct the sandwich. The bread and sauerkraut were the easy part, and required only one trip to the grocery store. But then the problem appeared: corned beef. I did some research to see what spices might help simulate this taste. Cloves and allspice seemed to do the trick, so I tried it and created a seitan based vegan corned beef loaf. Thousand island or Russian dressing wasn't too hard to imitate, vegan mayonnaise is readily available, and the rest of the dressing is assembled by combining ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge and pantry. The only thing left was the cheese. I've been making a cheesy cashew/tapioca flour spread for my pizzas lately and thought that it might go well on this sandwich, only with a touch of mustard in it to try and bring some of the depth of flavour that Swiss cheese typically adds to Reuben sandwiches. Now that I had all essential parts, putting the sandwich together was quite easy and it turned out better than expected. Even preparing this post for publishing is making me want to have more of it (luckily there are some leftovers!). I'm off to the kitchen to assemble another one. Enjoy!

Vegan Reuben Sandwich

Vegan Reuben Sandwich

Yield

Makes 4 sandwiches

Prep time

Active time:

Total time:

How it's made

Note: Prepare a steamer.

 

Seitan Corned Beef

½ cup chickpeas; cooked, drained, and mashed

 

Place all in a bowl and mix well.

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp ginger, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp paprika (smoked, if you have some)

1 tsp dried mustard

1 tsp salt

½ tsp cloves, ground

½ tsp allspice

½ tsp black pepper

 

1¼ cup vital wheat gluten

 

Add to the bowl and mix.

 

1 cup cold water

 

Add water, little by little, and mix well. Once all water is in, knead for about 3 minutes until fully mixed and stretchy. Shape the mixture into a 1 inch thick rectangle and wrap in the parchment paper. Place into the steamer and steam for 1 hour. Once done, cool for at least 30 minutes. Slice into thin slices (about ¼ inch thick).

 

Russian Dressing

½ cup mayonnaise

 

Place in a small bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until needed.

2 tbsp ketchup

1 tsp onion powder

2 medium pickles, grated

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp hot sauce (optional)

 

Cheesy sauce

1 cup warm water

 

Place into a blender and blend for 1 minute, until the cashews are fully ground. Once done, place into a small pot and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

¼ cup cashews

3 tsp nutritional yeast

2½ tsp tapioca flour

1 tsp lemon juice

½ tsp dijon mustard (or yellow)

½ tsp salt

 

2 cups sauerkraut

 

For assembly.

8 pieces of rye bread

8 tsp margarine

 

To assemble the sandwich, spread 1 tsp of margarine on each slice of the bread. Flip ½ of bread slices and spread 2 tbsp of the dressing over those pieces. Place 5-6 slices of seitan over each piece of the bread with dressing on it. Over the seitan place ½ cup of sauerkraut, and finally 2 tbsp of the cheesy sauce. Top with a free piece of bread, margarine side up. Heat a pan over medium heat. Cook the sandwich on the pan, about 2 minutes per side.

Helpful tips

All of the sandwich ingredients can be kept in the fridge for up to a week. You will likely have enough seitan, dressing, and cheesy sauce to make 2 - 3 additional sandwiches.