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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Vegan Reuben

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This vegan reuben sandwich recipe is a delicious, meatless twist on the classic reuben sandwich! Made with a tangy Russian dressing and flavorful corned tempeh, it tastes just like the real deal. It’s also super easy to make, has minimal prep time, is healthier than the traditional version, and is packed with all of your favorite reuben flavors! Perfect for lunch or dinner, and comes with a gluten-free option too!

Vegan reuben sandwich stacked on a cutting board, with a knife through the top of the sandwich.

Veggie sandwiches have been a long time favorite for my family! They are so easy to put together and you can load them with nutrient-rich toppings. One of my favorite things to do is remake classic sandwich recipes in a healthier, plant based way. Which is why I absolutely love this vegan reuben sandwich recipe!

While traditional reubens feature corned beef, this vegan version uses flavorful marinated tempeh instead. It is smothered in a homemade vegan Russian dressing, melted cheese, and fresh sauerkraut. This is the best sandwich for a hearty and healthy mealtime option!

Whether you are vegan or not, this tempeh reuben sandwich is a fan favorite. If you prepare the tempeh marinade in advance, you can make a good reuben in only 25 minutes! It doesn’t get much easier than that! It will quickly become your favorite sandwich.

Pair this easy vegan sandwich with more plant-based goodness like my air fryer jicama fries or my spinach arugula salad for a complete meal!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy lunch or dinner recipe
  • No animal products
  • Good source of protein
  • Classic reuben taste
  • Healthier than a traditional reuben sandwich
  • The perfect vegetarian corned beef substitute
  • Can be made gluten free
  • Best vegan reuben sandwich ever!

Latest Recipe Video!

🥘 Ingredients

This tempeh reuben recipe calls for simple vegan ingredient swaps that can be easily found at the local grocery store. Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for exact measurements.

Ingredients for homemade vegan reuben sandwich recipe on a white background.

For The Sandwich

  • Rye Bread: I prefer slices of rye bread, like the traditional reuben, but you can use your favorite bread. If you make a reuben sandwich without rye bread I suggest this buckwheat sourdough, or sprouted wheat bread.
  • Vegan Butter: Use whatever brand of vegan butter you prefer for this vegetarian reuben recipe. You can also just use olive oil.
  • Sauerkraut: Tangy sauerkraut adds the perfect flavor to this vegan recipe. You can try out different types of sauerkraut, but the original one will give the most authentic taste.
  • Vegan Cheese: Vegan provolone or vegan swiss cheese are my favorite options for this tempeh reuben. If you like a gooey cheese, make sure the cheese you choose melts as some vegan cheeses do not. You can also make a homemade vegan cheese sauce with cashews, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and nutritional yeast.

For The Marinated Tempeh

  • Spices: Adding a simple spice mix of garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika will give this marinade a delicious savory taste.
  • Sauces & Vegetable Broth: We used a combination of vegan Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, which adds flavor and salt to the tempeh. You can also add some hot sauce for extra spice. Vegetable broth provides the base of the marinade – you can also use water if you don’t have vegetable broth.
  • Tempeh & Olive Oil: Tempeh makes the best vegan corned beef, which is the typical reuben meat choice. You’ll need olive oil to saute the tempeh and get it crispy.

For The Homemade Russian Dressing

  • Vegan Mayonnaise: Mayo is the base of this dressing, giving a creamy texture. Find vegan mayo in the plant-based section of the grocery store.
  • Tomato Ketchup: Mixing mayo and ketchup is an easy way to make an at home Russian or creamy thousand island dressing. You can also use tomato paste and a sprinkle of salt.
  • Horseradish: Horseradish is a root vegetable that looks similar to ginger. You can buy it already prepared to save time.
  • Smoked Paprika & Vegan Worcestershire: Adds some smokey flavor for a nice touch. This compliments the vegan cornbeef really well.

🔪 Instructions

With easy step by step instructions, you’ll have a delicious veggie reuben sandwich plated in front of you in no time! Here is how to make this vegan reuben recipe:

Make The Marinade: Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a small bowl, except the tempeh and olive oil.

Tempeh reuben marinade in a large casserole dish.

Slice The Tempeh: Slice the tempeh in half lengthwise and then cut each half into 4, giving you 8 pieces altogether. If you’d prefer thinner pieces, slice each piece in half again.

Tempeh sliced on a cutting board.

Marinate The Tempeh: Toss the tempeh slices through the marinade in a shallow dish and allow it to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Tempeh marinating in reuben marinade in a large casserole dish.

Prepare The Dressing: Meanwhile prepare the Russian dressing by mixing all dressing ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Creamy vegan Russian dressing whisked in a bowl.

Cook The Tempeh: When the tempeh is done marinating, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the tempeh for 5 minutes or until brown on both sides. 

Marinated tempeh cooking in a skillet.

Add In The Marinade: Pour the marinade liquid over the tempeh and cook for another 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally, until the marinade has reduced completely and the tempeh is a lovely golden brown color. Remove and set aside.

Marinated tempeh cooking in a skillet.

Toast The Bread, Begin Layering: Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Spread a single layer of vegan butter over the outside of the slices of bread. Cook the bread slices, butter side down, and spread a layer of dressing over one slice of bread.

Sliced rye bread topped with tempeh and thousand island Russian dressing in a skillet.

Add Remaining Sandwich Ingredients: Place vegan cheese slices on the second slice of bread, top with several slices of tempeh and a layer of sauerkraut.

Vegetarian reuben sandwich layered with tempeh, sauerkraut, and vegan Russian dressing in a skillet.

Serve: Finally top the sandwich with the toasting bread, dressing side down. Cook until the cheese melts. Slice and serve immediately.

Vegan tempeh reuben sandwich cooking in a skillet.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Slice the tempeh thinly. Thin slices help with the cooking process and also helps it to absorb more flavor from the marinade.
  • Prepare ahead, if needed. The vegan reuben tempeh and dressing can both be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Before marinating, adjust the seasoning of the dressing to taste.
  • Serve immediately. It’s best to serve this vegetarian reuben immediately after cooking to avoid a soggy texture.
  • Glaze the tempeh. Cooking the marinade off with the tempeh helps to glaze the tempeh and give it extra flavor.
  • Save some time. To make this sandwich quicker you can use a store bought vegan thousand Island dressing instead of making your own Russian dressing.
  • Crisp your bread. Buttering the bread before cooking helps to make the bread crispy and gives it extra flavor.

📖 Variations

  • Seitan Reuben: Vegan seitan is made from vital wheat gluten and is perfect for a meatier texture, similar to chicken. Thin seitan slices can be a great vegan corned beef option! Check out this seitan recipe.
  • Jackfruit Reuben: Jackfruit is a great vegan meat alternative and a popular substitution for pulled pork. It absorbs flavor really well, and you can buy it canned for an easy recipe.
  • Baked Tofu Reuben: Tofu is another option for a vegan corned beef sandwich. Slice tofu and press to get moisture out. You can then prepare the reuben following the same method as you would for the tempeh. 
  • Vegan Reuben Toppings: Use any of your favorite vegan cheese and toppings for this vegetarian reuben sandwich. Try it with caramelized onions, roasted peppers, pickle relish, dill pickles, or red cabbage. Drizzle with vinegar and a sprinkle of black pepper for ultimate flavor.
  • Gluten Free Reuben: Gluten free bread can be used instead of rye bread if you have gluten sensitivities. Use your favorite store bought brand, or try this homemade gluten free bread recipe

🍽️ Serving Suggestions

Serve your vegan Reuben sandwiches right away for the freshest taste. Here are some of our favorite side dishes to pair it with:

❓Recipe FAQs

What is vegan reuben made of?

The vegan reuben sandwich is similar to a regular reuben, just with a plant based alternative for the corned beef. It is made with rye bread, vegan cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and your choice of vegetarian corned beef alternative.

What is an alternative meat for a reuben sandwich?

You can make a vegan tempeh reuben with whatever type of vegan alternative you’d like. In this recipe, I use tempeh because it gives a nice texture and absorbs the marinade well. It is very easy to prepare and cook!

Here are some other alternative meat options to try:
1) Tofu:
Marinated tofu can be a flavorful and satisfying substitute for corned beef in a Reuben sandwich. Firm or extra-firm tofu is best for this, as it will hold its shape and absorb the marinade well.
2) Seitan: Seitan is a wheat-based protein that can be seasoned and sliced to mimic the texture of meat. It has a slightly chewy texture and can be a great option for those who want a more meat-like substitute.
3) Portobello Mushrooms: For a vegetable-based option, try using grilled or sautéed portobello mushrooms in place of the meat in your Reuben sandwich. Their meaty texture and earthy flavor can be a great fit for this sandwich.

What is the difference between a reuben and a rachel sandwich?

A classic Reuben sandwich is made with corned beef and sauerkraut while a Rachel is made with turkey and coleslaw. Sometimes a Rachel sandwich uses a french dressing instead of the Russian dressing, as well. You can easily make this vegan tempeh reuben into a vegan Rachel instead!

Are reuben sandwiches healthy?

Traditional Reuben sandwiches are not typically healthy, as corned beef is very high in sodium and saturated fat, and the classic version can be high in calories as well.

But using tempeh for a healthy vegan reuben is a much more nutritious, better option! Tempeh is made with a fermentation process, making it easy to digest. It is rich in protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B, and phosphorus. It can reduce cholesterol and inflammation, while increasing bone density and brain health.

How to store this vegan reuben sandwich

I do not recommend storing an already made sandwich, as it will get soggy by the next day. You can store the marinated tempeh and the dressing separately in an airtight container. Both will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. When you are ready to make the veggie reuben, toast your bread, add your toppings, tempeh, and dressing, and enjoy!

Vegan reuben sandwich stacked on a cutting board.

🥪 More Veggie Sandwich Recipes!

Love this vegetarian sandwich recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page!

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📋 Recipe Card

🎥 Watch How to Make It

https://youtu.be/-dpyTGJbPIQ
Vegan reuben sandwich stacked on a cutting board, with a knife through the top of the sandwich.
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Vegan Reuben

This vegan reuben sandwich recipe is a delicious, meatless twist on the classic reuben sandwich! Made with a tangy Russian dressing and flavorful corned tempeh, it tastes just like the real deal. It's also super easy to make, has minimal prep time, is healthier than the traditional version, and is packed with all of your favorite reuben flavors! Perfect for lunch or dinner, and comes with a gluten-free option too!
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Soaking Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 45 minutes
Course: Main Course, mains
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4
Calories: 611kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

For The Sandwich

  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter
  • ¾ cup sauerkraut
  • 4 slices vegan cheese

Marinated Tempeh

For The Russian Dressing

  • ½ cup vegan mayo
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  • Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl, except the tempeh and olive oil.
  • Slice the tempeh in half lengthwise and then cut each half into 4, giving you 8 pieces altogether. If you’d prefer thinner pieces, slice each piece in half again.
  • Toss the tempeh slices through the marinade and allow it to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile prepare the Russian dressing by mixing all dressing ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • When the tempeh has done marinating heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, cook the tempeh for 5 minutes or until brown on both side.
  • Pour the marinade over the tempeh and cook for another 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally, until the marinade has reduced completely and the tempeh is a lovely golden color. Remove and set aside.
  • Heat a pan over medium heat.
  • Spread a layer of vegan butter over 2 slices of bread.
  • Cook the bread, buttered side down, and spread a layer of dressing over one slice of bread.
  • Place vegan cheese on the other slice of bread, top with several slices of tempeh and a layer of sauerkraut.
  • Finally top the sandwich with the toasting bread, dressing side down.
  • Slice and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Gluten free bread can be used instead of rye bread to make this gluten free.
  • Slice the tempeh thinly helps with the cooking process and also helps it to absorb more flavor from the marinade.
  • The tempeh and dressing can both be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Use any of your favorite vegan cheese for this delicious sandwich.
  • Adjust the seasoning of the dressing to taste.
  • It’s best to serve the sandwich immediately after cooking.
  • Cooking the marinade off with the tempeh helps to glaze the tempeh and give it extra flavor.
  • To make this sandwich quicker you can use a store bought vegan thousand Island dressing instead of making your own Russian dressing.
  • Buttering the bread before cooking helps to make the bread crispy and gives it extra flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 611kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 1764mg | Potassium: 508mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 885IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 5mg

8 responses to “Vegan Reuben”

  1. I am not usually a fan of vegan recipes – but I really like this one. The horseradish made such a difference!5 stars

  2. Tempeh is such a smart substitution for a vegan reuben! This looks absolutely fantastic, I’ve already added it to my list of recipes to try for lunch!5 stars

  3. Love the recipe!!! Specially because always looking for alternative that are vegan. Thank you for this and will make it really soon, looks delicious 🙂5 stars

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