Reuben? Check. Vegetarian? Check. Wait — what?


This recipe appeared in a newsletter I receive from the Vegetarian Times and was just too bizarre not to try. I loves me a Reuben, but Lisa’s not the biggest fan, so I wondered if a vegetarian version would be any more appealing. I think I won her over in the end… This recipe won for best vegetarian sandwich in a Vegetarian Times poll.

Lisa says:

Wow. Um, would you be offended if I didn’t eat this?

Chris says:

Only if you didn’t at least try it — if you hate it, we’ll make you something else.

Lisa says:

Okay, but I’m warning you… um, you know I don’t like real reubens, right?

Chris says:

Yeah, but this is made with seitan instead of corned beef!

Lisa says:

You know I don’t like seitan, either, right?

Chris says:

Oh. Really? Well, uh… just try it anyway.

Lisa says:

Alright, but I’m expecting to make my own dinner in about five minutes.

Chris says:

So? How is it? I think overall it’s a pretty good impersonation of a real one.

Lisa says:

Hmmm…. this is weird, how’d it get that color?

Chris says:

It’s got beet juice in it to dye the seitan the color of corned beef.

Lisa says:

This is just bizarre. But… not bad…

Chris says:

Stop right there! Given your position coming to the table, I’ll take that!


Radical Reuben
1 lb seitan, thinly sliced
1 cup pickle juice
1/2 cup beet juice (puree a 15-oz can of beets if not available)
1 tsp pickling spice
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

For the dressing:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp finely chopped pickles

8 slices rye bread
4 slices Swiss or Provolone cheese
Sauerkraut, for garnish

Place seitan in baking dish. Bring pickle juice, beet juice, pickling spice, garlic powder, pepper, and 1 cup water to a boil in saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes. Strain marinade, and pour over sliced seitan. Cover and cool. Chill overnight.
To make dressing, combine all ingredients in bowl.
To assemble the sandwiches, preheat oven to broil. Set bread slices on baking sheet. Top 4 bread slices with drained Seitan and cheese. Broil 5 to 7 minutes, or until Seitan is hot and cheese is melted. Transfer Seitan-topped bread slices to serving plates, and garnish with sauerkraut. Spread remaining 4 bread slices with dressing, and place on top.

4 Reubens

8 responses to “Reuben? Check. Vegetarian? Check. Wait — what?”

  1. I’m with you, just too weird not to try. I never liked reubens when I ate meat but I would give this a try. My meat-eating husband loves them, so I wonder if he would like this one.

  2. Dana — the “meat” by itself had that usual seitan slight-aftertaste, but as part of the sandwich itself was pretty benign. I liked it!

  3. I never ate Reubens as a meat-eater, but a restaurant here in Houston makes a vegetarian version and I love them. What’s weird is that I dislike so many of the ingredients – pickles, sauerkraut, mayo – but they all work together. I need to try these!

  4. Not a big fan of reuben sammies – and I’m an omnivore, so I figure that the vegetarian one would actually be more to my liking.

  5. Just consider it a success that you got Lisa to eat it! Her words to me were, “I don’t like sauerkraut, I don’t like rye, I don’t like pickled things, and I HATE seitan. This is my *dream* sandwich!” She was grousing about it all day before you made it. 😉

  6. Heh- This is brilliant! My hubbie is a vegetarian, but I’m not. I make these all the time with the seitan for him and the real stuff for me. Guess whose cholesterol numbers are better.;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *