Bite into a savory grilled Vegan Tempeh Reuben, or put the ingredients in a bowl of greens. Either way, you will LOVE the combination of flavors and dressing in this delicious vegan tempeh Reuben recipe.
When craving a Vegan Reuben sandwich, I long for the sauerkraut and vegan thousand island dressing! Although I love sauerkraut, why not add a little tempeh love? To make tempeh into "corned beef," I transform tempeh to taste just like corned beef. You only need a quick and easy two-ingredient marinade to make the perfect Vegan Tempeh Reuben recipe!
Making the perfect vegan sandwich is all about combining ingredients and how the sandwich is put together. So, let's make a vegan Reuben to make your taste buds dance.
One of the most common mistakes people make when preparing tempeh is skipping an essential step, boiling the tempeh.
Tempeh has a naturally bitter taste, but when boiled, the bitter taste vanishes.
Not only does boiling tempeh make it taste better, but it also prepares it to soak up any marinade you decide to use.
Once the tempeh is boiled, drain it in a colander.
Tempeh Reuben Marinade
First, you must master the taste of corned beef flavors to make the tempeh perfect. For example, the brining process and the salty, spiced, sour taste are the magic of the vegan tempeh Reuben.
Next, you have to find a vegan version of the brining process; I use a combination of pickle juice and beet juice.
For the best results, I suggest marinating the tempeh overnight. Although pickle juice and beet juice may sound odd, it is the perfect combination to create a sweet and sour marinade.
Then, it's just a matter of grilling the tempeh to make the perfect vegan tempeh "corned beef" for the vegan tempeh Reuben.
- Preheat the grill to 350 degrees
- Wait until the grill is hot.
- Remove tempeh from the marinade; throw away marinade; you won't need it again.
- Place the pieces of tempeh directly on the grill.
- Cook for 20 minutes, flipping every 5 minutes to achieve grill marks.
- Remove the tempeh from the grill.
- Slice the tempeh into thin strips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice marinated tempeh.
- Place tempeh slices on a prepared baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
Vegan Thousand Island Dressing
As with most great sandwiches, it's the secret sauce that makes a great sandwich. For this vegan tempeh recipe, I made a vegan thousand island dressing!
My vegan French dressing recipe transforms into vegan thousand island dressing with the addition of pickles!
Making the Sandwich
Once the tempeh is grilled, the secret sauce is made, and the sauerkraut is squeezed and drained, you are ready to build your sandwich.
- Toast the bread (of choice).
- Spread the vegan thousand island dressing on the base of the toasted bread.
- Add slices of grilled Reuben tempeh.
- Top with a generous amount of sauerkraut.
- Drizzle with more vegan thousand island dressing.
- Top with the second piece of toasted bread.
Another suggestion is to make a grilled wrap tempeh Reuben sandwich or serve the sandwich open-faced using only one bread piece.
If you avoid bread, turn your vegan tempeh Reuben wrap into a salad full of fresh vegetables and tempeh, and use the vegan thousand island dressing. Instead, use lettuce as your bread and create a lettuce wrap. Or, make a salad with the ingredients and skip the bread altogether. Either way, you will love the combination of flavors.
While both ingredients are excellent plant-based meat alternatives, tempeh is commonly considered healthier because it's less processed than tofu.
Tempeh is an excellent plant-based protein — but it can be a bit of an acquired taste. It has a nutty, almost mushroomy flavor that can be overpowering or even bitter if not prepared well.
Because of the fermentation procedure, tempeh contains probiotics, which can help to enhance gut hygiene and digestion. Research shows tempeh could also help decrease cholesterol and regulate blood glucose levels.
- Always boil the tempeh first. It removes the bitterness and softens the tempeh, absorbing the marinade.
- For the best results, marinate the tempeh overnight.
- Make the vegan thousand island dressing ahead of time, so it thickens in the refrigerator.
- Do not blend in the pickle relish when making the vegan thousand island dressing; instead, stir it into the combined mixture.
- Add any other vegetables you enjoy to the sandwich, such as onions, tomatoes, or lettuce.
The next time you crave a sandwich, try a tempeh vegan Reuben. You will love this hearty sandwich.
More Sandwich Lover Recipes
If you love this vegan tempeh Reuben, give us a 5-star review and comment below. We would love to hear from you!
Vegan Tempeh Reuben
- Vegan bread of choice or Vegan Wraps I used whole food (Indian Life Vegan Spinach Wrap
- 8 ounces tempeh I use Life-Like Organic Tempeh
- 2 cups sauerkraut drained and squeezed dry
- ½ cup pickle juice from a jar of dill pickles
- ½ cup beet juice from a can of beets; if you don't have canned beet juice, blend 1 large beet with pickle juice
Vegan Thousand Island Dressing
- ½ cup raw cashews soaked overnight but not necessary
- ½ cup organic ketchup
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons agave you can sub maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup of diced pickles*
Variation 1 and 2: (If you are allergic to nuts)
- Substitute ½ cup Vegenasie for nuts and reduce water to ¼ cup or
- Substitute ½ cup silken tofu for nuts and use ½ cup water
- Remove tempeh from packaging and slice in half.
- Place in a small saucepan and cover with water.
- Boil for 20 minutes.
- Drain the tempeh in a colander.
- Place tempeh in the base of a container with a top and cover with marinade.
- Place marinated tempeh in the refrigerator overnight.
- Heat an outdoor grill to medium heat (350 degrees)
- Cook tempeh on both sides for 10 minutes each side, flipping every 5 minutes.
- Slice tempeh into thin slices after cooking
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Slice tempeh into thin slices
- Place tempeh on a baking pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Blend all ingredients except the pickles
- Dice the pickles and stir into the blended dressing
- Refrigerate until cool.
Making the sandwich
- Toast bread
- Spread base of bread with the Vegan Thousand Island Dressing.
- Add slices of tempeh Reuben meat.
- Add sauerkraut (make sure you squeezed it dry) in the middle on top of the tomatoes.
- I served with Air fryer steak fries.
- DO NOT blend pickles when you make dressing; stir them in after blending
- Grilled tempeh can be made ahead of time and reheated when preparing the Reuben sandwich.
- Make a wrap instead of a sandwich.
- Use lettuce instead of bread for a lettuce wrap vegan tempeh Reuben.
- Skip the bread and make a salad using the sandwich's ingredients on a bed of lettuce and other sand ingredients, topped with thousand island dressing.
- Or, try a Reuben Bowl.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂
Do you use sweet pickles or dill pickles on the thousand island dressing?
Hi Kathy, I use sill pickles, but you can use sweet pickles. Let me know what you think.
Can you bake in oven or does it have to be grilled?
Hi Kelly, you can bake tempeh in the oven, the air-fryer, or in a skillet on the stove. Just boil it first and marinate overnight if possible for the best flavor. I hope you enjoy the recipe.
🙌🏼 Husband approved... he said it’s restaurant worthy! Thanks so much 💗
Hi Jennifer, thank you so much for the feedback. Whenever my husband likes a recipe, it's a win! Look for this week's seitan Reuben recipe for St. Patrick's Day 🙂 I'm making a hot Reuben dip too!
Hi, I'd really like to try this but am wondering why it has to be canned beat juice? Can I just juice a beet with my juicer and use that?
Hi Marge, I had beet juice I saved from a can of beets, so I used it for the recipe instead of throwing it away. you can use fresh beet juice. I hope you enjoy the recipe.
Great, thank you for letting me know! Excited to try this weekend.
JoAnn M Lakes
I buy my beet juice from Trader Joe'a in the refrigerated juice section. I then freeze into ice cubes for recipes. Ingredients: beet juice and lemon juice from concentrate
Hi JoAnn, thanks for the tip. That is a great idea.