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Learn to make vegan Reuben sandwiches at home with seitan corned beef, homemade Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and more.
What’s a Reuben?
Lucky for you, I grew up in the homeland of the Reuben sandwich, Nebraska. Traditionally, a Reuben sandwich is a meaty concoction that contains corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and Russian dressing all sandwiched together with rye bread. It’s my preferred St. Patrick’s Day meal but honestly is good any time of the year.
To veganize the Reuben sandwich, you’ll need to do a few things ahead of time. First, you’ll need to make the corned beef seitan. Then, the Russian dressing. Fair warning: seitan takes some time to make so if you’re prepping to have these on St. Patrick’s day, it’s best to start making the seitan one to two days before you actually need it.
On the other hand, the Russian dressing can be prepped whenever you’d like. And lastly, you’ll need some vegan cheese. I’m pretty sure Daiya discontinued their Swiss cheese (or at least it’s been years since I’ve seen it), but I feel like Follow Your Heart smoked gouda is pretty delicious and adds some nice cheesy goodness to the vegan Reuben sandwich.
Should I serve these vegan Reuben sandwiches hot or cold?
I don’t feel like there is controversy as to whether the Reuben sandwich should be served hot or cold… Both are totally acceptable. The photos in this post showcase a cold sandwich but I actually prefer them hot and toasty.
If you’re looking for tips on how to prepare this sandwich hot, I usually warm the seitan slices and sauerkraut in a skillet. Then, transfer everything to the bread with the dressing and vegan cheese and bake in the toaster oven and carefully flip. An oven might be a good second option or you can simply use a skillet.
Also, the best vegan Reuben sandwich I’ve ever had…
Comes from a tiny hole in the wall in Oakland, California. It was called The Rachel, but sadly the little spot has closed. So my Reuben takes its spot as the best Reuben I can actually obtain in life. And I’ve had a lot of Reubens! I’m lookin’ at you Chicago Diner, Green, and Native Foods!
What ingredients do you need to vegan Reuben sandwiches?
Rye bread: Rye bread is a key ingredient in Reuben sandwiches. Jewish rye is a solid pick but I also like Russian rye as well as the one with a swirl. So pretty! You’ll need enough Rye bread to make six sandwiches.
Russian dressing: Check out my recipe for homemade vegan Russian dressing made with Vegenaise, fresh horseradish, ketchup, and more. If you don’t like horseradish or can’t locate a vegan prepared horseradish, you can always substitute the Russian dressing for thousand island instead. I also have a wonderful recipe for thousand island dressing that you should check out!
Sauerkraut: I feel like sauerkraut is so sneaky. I buy a giant jar of it and somehow it gets used across all six sandwiches. I don’t understand it, but I will tell you that you should get a decent sized container of kraut.
Vegan cheese: This ingredient is the most optional of the bunch. If you have some vegan cheese slices on hand, feel free to include them. I had some Follow Your Heart gouda on hand, so I used those.
How to make a vegan Reuben sandwich
Making vegan Reuben sandwiches is super easy. Sandwich together some seitan corned beef, sauerkraut, vegan cheese, and Russian dressing and that’s pretty much it.
For a hot vegan Reuben, either microwave or warm the seitan and sauerkraut in a skillet. Then assemble the sandwich and bake in the oven for a few minutes at 300 or in the toaster oven. Flip the sandwich and continue baking until the bread is toasty on both sides and the cheese is melted.
Substitution ideas and more
This Reuben sandwich is as traditional as you can get, but if you want to substitute out some ingredients, I won’t be upset.
Use thousand island instead: If you don’t want to make your own dressing from scratch or don’t have the right ingredients to make Russian dressing, you can substitute thousand island dressing in its place. If you’re lucky, you can even buy a vegan thousand island premade from Follow Your Heart.
Nix the cheese: Cheese is probably the least important ingredient in a vegan Reuben sandwich. Leave it off if you either don’t like vegan cheese or can’t afford it.
Buy pre-made seitan corned beef: Unreal deli supposedly makes a mean seitan corned beef. You can buy it at Whole Foods. If you don’t have time to make your own seitan, I recommend using this instead.
Want more recipes?
If you liked these vegan Reuben sandwiches, you should definitely check out some of my other comfort food recipes.
- Oil-free black bean burgers
- Vegan Runzas
- BBQ chicken sandwiches
- Vegan bagel sandwiches
- Soyrizo pumpkin pasta
- Spicy seitan sausages
In this segment, I suggest a song for you to listen to while you make vegan Reuben sandwiches! You can even stream it right here in your browser. Today’s recipe jam is Top Secret Man by Plastics.
If you try this recipe, I want to hear about it! Feel free to post your creations to Instagram or Facebook and tag Hell Yes It’s Vegan or #hellyesitsvegan. I look forward to seeing what you make!
Vegan Reuben Sandwiches
- toaster oven / oven / skillet (optional)
- 12 slices rye bread
- 1 full recipe seitan corned beef
- 32 oz sauerkraut, (drained)
- ¾ cup vegan Russian dressing, (option to sub thousand island dressing)
- 6 slices vegan cheese, (I used Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda)
- salt, (optional)
- Thinly slice the seitan corned beef and set aside. Drain the liquid from the sauerkraut and pat dry with paper towels.
- If you're serving your Reubens warm, place the corned beef and the sauerkraut in a skillet and warm.
- Assemble your sandwiches. Add a large layer of corned beef, then vegan cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing. Add a small sprinkle of salt if you like things extra salty.
- Optionally, toast your sandwiches in a toaster oven or actual oven at 300 degrees until the cheese is melty and the bread is nice and toasty carefully flipping halfway through.