St. Patrick's Day has been one of my favorite holidays ever since I can remember. I have so many childhood memories of traditional Irish drinking songs and the smell of my mom's famous corned beef and cabbage. On St. Pat's all of our friends and family would come over for a giant feast that took her days to prepare. There was singing, jigging, and PLENTY of eating and drinking.
Even though I no longer eat corned beef, it's a tradition that lives on in my heart. Now, sure I guess I enjoyed corned beef as a kid but mostly - I loved reubens! I mean...sauerkraut, thousand island, melted cheese, and the meat all served on toasty bread?! Who wouldn't love that? Well for starters, I'm sure my body didn't. Being 30 lbs. overweight for my 4'8" frame was in no way healthy and proved to be a daily hinderance on my energy and health.
Even though I have completely transformed my body and my nutrition, I still have the occasional guilty craving. One of the things about being such an unhealthy eater before I became vegan is that I constantly challenge myself to create a guilt free version of something that would otherwise be filled with TONS of cholesterol and icky animal fat. (I needn't remind you of my
love OBSESSION of cheese in my pre-vegan days.)
Last St. Patty's day I had all my friends over for vegan reubens and everyone agreed - vegan or not - that this sandwich is TO DIE FOR. And compared to it's carnivorous cousin, it is undoubtedly healthier. Let's be real - wouldn't you rather save your calories for beer anyway? Okay, okay, on with the recipe! A quick word about this recipe - I had intended to make a side dish and we absolutely had NO ROOM. This sandwich is an entire meal all on its own.
Makes up to 3 sandwiches
For one sandwich
2 slices of rye bread (I used a local sour rye)
1 tsp. vegan butter for toasting
2-3 oz vegan cheese - I used Daiya Jack Style wedge cut into small strips
2 tbsp sauerkraut
For the "corned beef"
1 14 oz package of tempeh
1/2 cup soy sauce/tamari
1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
1.5 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 bay leaves - crumbled
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1 tsp whole all spice
1 tsp whole coriander
a dash of turmeric, cayenne, chili powder
For the "thousand island"
2 tbsp veganaise
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp pickled relish
sriracha to taste
1. Chop your tempeh into short, thin strips.
2. Combine all other "corned beef" ingredients in a shallow dish and marinate the tempeh for at least 2 hours.
3. Combine veganaise, ketchup, relish, and sriracha in a small bowl until you have a beautiful, creamy thousand island sauce.
4. Heat olive oil in a pan and allow marinated tempeh to cook and brown on both sides. This should take about 7 minutes total.
5. Butter your bread. Spread a thin layer of thousand island to both sides. Add the cheese and cook open-faced on a skillet, until the cheese begins to melt. Remove from heat.
6. Lastly, add the cooked tempeh and top with sauerkraut.
7. Grab a stack of napkins, a beer, and ENJOY!
See! I told you - like mother, like daughter. <3