I love reuben sandwiches. The flavors, the textures, and of course the aroma of this St Patricks day delight are one of a kind. Corned beef, sauerkraut, and toasted rye bread....stop it. I'm salivating.

And then I became a mainly pescetarian and the whole corned beef thing didn't really fit with that philosophy. No thanks to nitrates and poorly raised beef. Solution? Tofu ruben sandwich. Don't you even think about 'psha!'-ing the recipe because of the tofu. The seasonings in each layer of this sandwich are mindblowing. The tofu is only a protein and seasoning vehicle. Let it drive this once, okay? Even the omniverous husband loved this one.

While this recipe is multi stepped with lots of little amounts of spices, it is worth the time. I'll admit I'm generally the girl who skips over ingredients under a teaspoon, but not on this one.

Here's what you'll be whipping up:

  1. Sauce: Reubens often contain a Thousand Island-esque dressing but this homemade version is additive free and full of extra flavors.
  2. Sauerkraut: Buy the bagged version and spice it up. Nix the can.
  3. Tofu: Tofu becomes transformed with a spice rub.
Step 1: Sensational Sauce Creation
Ingredients:
  • 1/8 C ketchup
  • 1/2 C Greek yogurt or Sour cream or Mayo
  • 1 squeeze lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t celery seed
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/2 t ground mustard
  • 1/8 C chopped onion
  • 1/4 of a pickle, chopped
Directions: Add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine. 
Step 2: Sexed up Sauerkraut 
Ingredients:
  • 1 bag of sauerkraut (I used Silverfloss)
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C cider vinegar
  • pinch ground pepper
  • 2 t caraway or fennel seed
  • water
Directions: Drain the sauerkraut and add to a medium sized soup pot on stove. Add onion, vinegar, pepper, fennel, and a splash of water. Stir to combine and cover on low heat for 5 mins to steam and let the flavors...mingle?
Step 3: Terriffic Tofu Transformed
Ingredients:
  • 1 package firm or extra firm tofu
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 dash Liquid Smoke
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t allspice
  • 1/4 t ground clove
  • 1/4 t dry mustard
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil, enough to make a paste
Directions: Slice tofu into half inch thick sections. In a small bowl combine the rest of the ingredients to make a paste. Place tofu in rows on a baking sheet with cooking spray. Rub paste onto one side of the tofu and bake at 375 F for roughly 7 minutes or until the tofu begins to sizzle.
Step 4: Recreating the Ruben
Ingredients:
  • The sauce
  • The tofu
  • The sauerkraut
  • Rye bread
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Butter
On a stove top griddle, butter one side of a slice of rye bread and place on the warm surface. Layer sauerkraut, slices of swiss cheese, tofu, sauce another slice of bread. Flip sandwich on griddle. Toast until the cheese melts and the bread is golden brown on both sides.
You'll definitely need to serve the sandwich with a side of sauce and perhaps some local brewery beverage of choice.

Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.