16th July 2009

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

posted in Main Dishes, Vegetarian |


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

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 4:39 pm and is filed under Main Dishes, Vegetarian. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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

  1. 1
    On July 17th, 2009, Rice Noodle Salad with Vegetables and Tofu » We [Heart] Food said:

    […] got tired of my experiments and just wanted to make a light, healthy asian-themed salad for dinner, and this one, featuring […]

  2. 2
    On July 18th, 2009, Dana said:

    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.

  3. 3
    On July 18th, 2009, Chris said:

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

  4. 4
    On July 18th, 2009, Claire said:

    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!

  5. 5
    On July 18th, 2009, Tanya said:

    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.

  6. 6
    On July 19th, 2009, Cathleen said:

    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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. 7
    On July 28th, 2009, Ivy Manning said:

    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.;)

  8. 8
    On July 2nd, 2011, Eve said:

    Good recipe! I’m not even vegetarian and I enjoyed it.

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