Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

Purists in the audience will think that a Reuben just isn’t a Reuben without pastrami, swiss cheese, or Thousand Island Dressing. Well you can’t get any of those ingredients in London and, chances are, I wouldn’t eat them anyway. In my eyes, the sauerkraut makes the Reuben, and until yesterday I would have said that rye bread does, too. But my latest sandwich creation proved otherwise.

I only had some leftover chive bread to work with, baked using 101 Cookbook’s cornbread recipe (which tasted little like corn but a lot like chive, hence my terminology). The oniony flavor of the bread turned out to be surprisingly good with the smokey tempeh and saurkraut.

In place of Thousand Island Dressing, I use avocado and tomato. In place of pastrami, I use tempeh, cooked according to Your Vegan Mom’s Smokey Tempeh Slices recipe (found thanks to Veggie Meal Plans). Her recipe calls for less tempeh and no marinating. I doubled the tempeh and marinated it over night, which was delicious, but if you don’t have my kind of food-obsessed foresight, marinating is not necessary according to her original recipe.

You’ll notice from the picture that I also use lettuce leaves for the top slice of bread. This is optional, and not really encouraged. I do it because I’m small and really don’t need two hearty slices of bread (especially when having soup with the meal!). But you normal-sized people should add a second slice to the deck and eat the sandwich like it was intended.

The recipe makes enough tempeh for a few sandwiches and the leftovers are great for quick sandwiches – perfect for packed lunches!

Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

You don’t need to marinate the tempeh over night but it does add to the flavor. Mayo is also quite good in place of the avocado.


  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 8 oz. package tempeh, sliced thinly
  • olive oil
  • sauerkraut (make your own!)
  • avocado, sliced
  • tomato, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • lettuce
  • nice bread


    1. Combine the soy sauce, balsamic, maple syrup, liquid smoke and water in a shallow dish. Add the tempeh slices and marinate for as long as you can be bothered.
    2. Heat a little olive oil in a nonstick pan.
    3. Add the tempeh slices and pour the marinate on top. Simmer until the liquid has reduced. Brown the tempeh on both sides.
    4. While the tempeh is cooking, heat up the saurkraut and toast some bread.
    5. Top the bread with avocado, tomato, salt and pepper, saurkraut, as much tempeh as you can handle, and a little lettuce.
    6. Eat and enjoy!




5 thoughts on “Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

  1. Evita

    I just tried tempeh this summer and did not know how to cook it so I marinated it in soy sauce only and it tasted horrible. Then I bought it again and simply grilled it over a little bit of olive oil and it was good.

    I think the trick in this recipe that you gave is the other ingredients that sort of balance out the soy sauce. I’ll have to try marinating it that way in combinations of things.

    But as an aside I researched that anyone who wants to consume soy products in a healthy way should only be eating the fermented soy products like tempeh, and not tofu. (due to the estrogenic effects)

  2. Evita

    Hi Monica

    Yes, a few months ago I decided to look further into soy and find out really what was up as from one set of sources you hear all these great benefits of soy and from another you hear that it increases breast, ovarian and other women cancers due to the estrogen mimicking compounds that it contains. So after doing some digging around, I came across a few articles that

    a) stress that in the Western world we are over using soy products and hence are getting more negative than positive effects from them compared to the Oriental cultures


    b) that during the processing of soy the estrogen mimicking compounds can be either decreased or enhanced (i.e. between tofu and tempeh)

    I would still like to look into this more, but it appears that the best benefits of soy while reducing the risks come from fermented soy products of which tempeh and I believe it is miso and one more I can’t remember are the only ones.

    Anyway here is a link to one of the articles that kind of shed the light for me on the whole story and it is fully referenced (scientifically)


  3. Cassie

    Glad you gave that recipe from Your Vegan Mom a try. It’s so very simple to make and really delicious! Your sandwich looks great. I sometimes make mine with lettuce on top like that, too, instead of another slice of bread!

  4. monica

    The trouble I have with anything anything published on westonaprice.org is its natural bias as a charity that supports consumption of animal products…

    “The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism. It supports a number of movements that contribute to this objective including accurate nutrition instruction, organic and biodynamic farming, pasture-feeding of livestock, community-supported farms, honest and informative labeling, prepared parenting and nurturing therapies.”


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