I’ve never had a conventional Reuben. In fact, I’ve never had corned beef, which I’m told is the main ingredient in a conventional Reuben. So, when I made my first attempt at a meatless Reuben, a while back, I went with seitan, which is the most realistic beef substitute I could come up with. I’m not sure if this applies to corned beef. What does “corned” even mean when it comes to meat? I don’t think corn is actually on the ingredients list, but I could be totally wrong about that. Well, after I posted that recipe I came across an abundance of tempeh Reuben recipes on the web. Maybe tempeh is a better substitute for corned beef? I suppose I’ll never know for sure. I toyed with the idea of switching to tempeh for this version of the Reuben, but in the end seitan won out. You see, I’ve actually made this sandwich a lot. It’s a household favorite at this point, and completely revamping it just seemed wrong. At some point when I’m feeling adventurous I’ll try a tempeh Reuben, but for now I’m sticking with my old favorite.
Now let’s talk about what I did do differently. As usual with my newly improved, veganized recipes I was seeking some inspiration, as I didn’t just want to throw some commercial vegan cheese on there or omit it completely and call this a recipe makeover. I had to make it better somehow. Avocado did the trick! I honestly wasn’t sure about it at first, whether or not avocado would complement the seitan/onion/mushroom “meat,” but oh, it was so much better than cheese! It made the sandwich rich…actually decadent, and highly satisfying. Not bad for replacing dairy with some healthy plant-based fats, huh?
One other thing. Don’t be freaked out by the purple sauerkraut in my pictures. It’s nothing special. I mean it is special – it’s delicious, but it’s the same as any other sauerkraut, just made with purple cabbage. I thought it would look pretty in my photos. Free free to used whatever color sauerkraut you like when making your own reuben.
Vegan Seitan and Mushroom Reubens
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup veganaise or mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. ketchup
- 1 tbsp. pickle relish
- a few dashes of hot sauce optional
For the Sandwiches
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 1 cup sliced baby portobello mushrooms
- 8 oz. package of seitan sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup sauerkraut
- 1/2 of an avocado sliced
- 4 slices of rye bread
- Whisk together all dressing ingredients and set aside.
- Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sautee until it begins to soften, about three minutes.
- Add mushrooms and sautee until they begin to soften, about another three minutes.
- Add seitan and continue to sautee until onions and mushrooms are well cooked and a few pieces of seitan begin to crisp up.
- Heat sauerkraut, if desired, in microwave or on stove top.
- Meanwhile, toast your bread and slather each slice with dressing.
- Divide seitan mixture among bread slices, along with sauerkraut and avocado slices to make two sandwiches.