I have been on the quest to recreate the perfect vegetarian reuben as made by the Cafe Wilson (formerly Big Belly Deli) in Arlington, VA. I have had the a recipe pulled out of the January 2007 issue of Vegetarian Times and have only now stumbled upon it again.
After preparing this recipe, I think I’m just going to have to carefully watch the cafe workers when they make the sandwich (and ask them what brand they use for the veggie turkey slices). They don’t seem to have to go through as many steps!
My comments from original recipe are in italics.
Vegan Tempeh Reubens
Vegetarian Times, January 2007
1/4 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 small onion, quartered (I used one half of a large onion, quartered)
2 cloves garlic (I really need to remember to buy fresh garlic, I used 1 teaspoon chopped jarred garlic)
1 bay leaf
1 8-ox pkg tempeh, sliced
Thousand Island Dressing (I used Annies’s brand dressing rather than making it)
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons relish
2 Tablespoons ketchup
16 slices rye bread (I only used 4 slices in this preparation knowing I’d have leftovers)
5 oz. vegan Monterey Jack cheese, sliced (I’m partial to regular cheese, but figured I’d give vegan cheese a whirl)
2 cups sauerkraut
To prepare seasoned tempeh: combine liquid aminos, onion, garlic, bay leaf and 2 cups water in saucepan over medium heat.
Add tempeh slices, and bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 20 minutes. Cover, and let tempeh cool in broth.
To make Thousand Island Dressing: Stir together mayonnaise, relish and ketchup in small bowl. (I skipped this step as I used already prepared dressing.)
To make sandwiches: Toast 8 slices of bread. (I only made two sandwiches, so I toasted four.) Set aside.
Drain tempeh, and discard liquid, onion, garlic and bay leaf.
Place three slices tempeh on each slice of remaining bread. Top with cheese slices.
Toast or broil 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
Top each sandwich with 1/4 cup sauerkraut. Spread toasted bread slices with Thousand Island Dressing.
Place tops on sandwiches, and slice in half.
The sandwiches came out pretty good. I think the downfall was that I made the sandwiches on whole grain rye bread. As a result, the sandwiches had too much of a grainy texture and were a bit heavier than I would have liked. That prompted me to run out and get regular deli rye for tonight’s leftovers. There are plenty of leftovers. But, that works out fine because everything is stored separately so they will be easy to prepare.
The preparation of the tempeh did take a long time. But, as said above, there are plenty of leftovers so I will end up with many more sandwiches for a quick and easy snack.