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Vegan Tempeh Reuben

This vegan tempeh reuben may just be the best sandwich ever invented. Start with tempeh simmered in spices till tender and flavourful, a big pile of (homemade, hopefully) sauerkraut, spicy Russian dressing and, of course, PICKLES (pickles and then more pickles).
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Total Price: $5.54
Price per Serving: $1.40
Servings: 4
Calories: 551kcal


For the tempeh:

  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds - $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice - $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds - $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes - $0.03
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns - $0.02
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves - $0.02
  • 1 5-cm (2 inch) piece of cinnamon - $0.14
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger - $0.01
  • 1 ½ cups (355 ml) vegetable stock - $0.68
  • 1 package 200 grams / 7 oz tempeh sliced into 1 cm slices - $2.75
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons oil for frying - $0.05
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce - $0.08
  • A couple drops liquid smoke - $0.02

For the Russian dressing:

  • ½ cup (120 ml) vegan mayo - $0.13
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons ketchup - $0.02
  • 2 tablespoons pickles or gherkins finely diced - $0.07
  • 1 tablespoon red onion finely diced - $0.04
  • 2 teaspoons horseradish - $0.06
  • ¼ teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce or Maggi seasoning - $0.02
  • A pinch salt if necessary - $0.01

For the vegan reuben:

  • 8 slices rye bread - $0.93
  • 2 cups (300 grams) sauerkraut - $0.27
  • Optional: sliced pickles, vegan cheese, vegan butter


  • Heat a dry pan over medium-high heat and add all the spices except for the ground ginger. Toast, stirring frequently, until the spices are fragrant – a couple of minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush them a bit. They don’t need to be fully ground, just broken up to release the flavours. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, put them in a zippered bag and use the side of your knife (or a hammer, whatever).
  • Put the spices in a small pot along with the ground ginger and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then add the sliced tempeh. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile prepare the Russian dressing by mixing together all the ingredients. Taste and adjust if it needs salt or you want it spicier or sweeter (more horseradish or ketchup). Refrigerate.
  • Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon or two of oil. Remove the tempeh from it’s simmering liquid (reserve the liquid) and fry it until it’s brown on both sides – a couple of minutes each side.
  • In a small bowl combine 5 tablespoons of the tempeh simmering liquid with the soy sauce and a drop or two of liquid smoke. Add this to the pan with the tempeh and allow it to simmer off, turning the tempeh one time so it’s coated on all sides.
  • If you’re not using vegan cheese, toast your bread slices and put together your reubens with a smear of Russian dressing on each slice of bread, sauerkraut, a few slices of tempeh and sliced pickles, if using.
  • If you’re using vegan cheese, butter both sides of the bread and put them in your skillet. Once one side is lightly toasted, flip and put together your sandwich. Flip again until the cheese is melted and gooey and both sides are nicely toasted.



Calories: 551kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 1696mg | Potassium: 493mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 12.1mg | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 4.8mg