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The classic Reuben goes vegan! Made with layers of hearty seitan, tangy sauerkraut and creamy vegan Russian dressing, these vegan Reuben sandwiches are packed with flavor and grilled to crispy delicious perfection.
My husband was in the middle of eliminating animal products from his diet when I first met him, and he was really excited about my cooking. He made lots of requests for vegan versions of old favorites, and lots of them were dishes that I’d never actually had. One of his first requests was for a Reuben sandwich.
I’ve never had a conventional Reuben, so I relied on my husband’s guidance for this one. He tells me it’s pretty spot on. To this day it’s a household favorite!
Not only have I never had a Reuben, but I’ve never even had corned beef, which is the main ingredient in a conventional Reuben. Seitan is the most realistic beef substitute I know of, which is why I use it in my Reuben sandwiches.
Seitan is also super easy to work with and loaded with protein.
I’ve made these sandwiches using my homemade seitan, as well as store-bought. Both work great! The advantage of making your own is that you make it in large chunks and then slice them super thin. If you prefer to use the store-bought stuff, just use a chef’s knife to cut your seitan into strips that are as thin as possible.
- Ingredients You’ll Need
- How They’re Made
- Leftovers & Storage
- More Vegan Sandwiches
- Vegan Reuben Sandwiches
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Vegan mayonnaise. Most supermarkets sell vegan mayo these days. Look for it near the regular mayo or in the natural foods section. Hellman’s vegan, Just Mayo and Vegenaise are a few brands to look out for.
- Tomato ketchup.
- Vegan Worcestershire sauce. Most Worcestershire sauce is made with anchovies, so be careful here. Annie’s, Edward & Sons, and Whole Foods brand are all vegan. You can also make your own vegan Worcestershire sauce — it’s really easy!
- Horseradish mustard.
- Hot sauce. Skip this if you prefer. If not, just use your favorite brand. I like to use a dash of Tobasco sauce in my vegan Russian dressing.
- Soy sauce. Tamari or liquid aminos are both totally fine substiutes.
- Maple syrup. Feel free to use another liquid sweetener, like agave or coconut aminos, if that’s what you have on hand.
- Spices. You’ll need ginger, allspice, black pepper and cloves in order to season your seitan like corned beef.
- Vegetable oil. Use whatever high-heat oil you have on hand. Olive oil, canola oil, and coconut oil are all good choices.
- Seitan. You can use homemade seitan or store-bought.
- Sliced rye bread.
- Vegan butter. This can be found near the regular butter in most supermarkets. Look for brands like Miyoko’s, Earth Balance, and Melt.
- Vegan cheese. You can skip this if you’re not a fan of store-bought vegan cheese, but I really love it on these sandwiches. Daiya makes Swiss-style slices that are perfect for vegan Reubens.
- Dill pickle slices. Another optional ingredient, but delicious.
How They’re Made
The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!
Start by prepping your sauces.
Stir the ingredients for the vegan Russian dressing together in a small bowl: mayo, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish mustard, and hot sauce.
Stir the seasonings for your vegan corned “beef” together in a separate bowl: soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, and your spices.
Slice your seitan pieces nice and thin. This will be easiest if you use homemade seitan, which allows you to make larger pieces, but store-bought is fine. I’m using commercial seitan chunks in the photo above (Wegman’s brand). Smaller pieces will just give you a slightly sloppier sandwich!
Heat your oil in a medium skillet and add thinly sliced onion. Sauté the onion for a few minutes until the pieces soften and begin to brown.
Add the sliced seitan to the skillet and cook it with the onion for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the slices begin to brown and crisp up a bit.
Tip: If your seitan came in a package with some marinade, add a bit of the liquid to the skillet when cooking your seitan. You’ll get some extra flavor out of it.
Carefully pour the soy sauce mixture over the seitan in your skillet. Stir it up so that it forms a nice, even coating on the seitan.
Continue cooking the seitan with the sauce, stirring frequently, until the sauce begins to dry up in spots.
Take the skillet off of the burner and taste-test your vegan corned beef. Careful, as it will be hot! Adjust any seasonings to your liking.
To assemble and grill a sandwich, butter a couple of bread slices. Place a slice, butter side down, in the skillet, and top it with Russian dressing, seitan, sauerkraut, and optionally some sliced vegan cheese and pickle slices, before placing a second bread slice on top, butter side up.
Grill the sandwich for a few minutes on each side, until golden and crispy.
Serve your vegan Reuben sandwich immediately, while the fillings are hot and the bread is crispy!
Leftovers & Storage
While vegan Reubens are best served right away, leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days. I would recommend only grilling as many sandwiches as you think will get eaten at a time, then storing the fillings separately, if possible.