Wednesday, September 10, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 10 - Reuben Sandwiches

I haven't had a real Reuben sandwich in decades! These were a mainstay every Saint Patrick's Day and yearly at the local Irish Festival every September. Some years we would go to the festival, grab 2 sandwiches, eat while listening to the live bands, then take the light rail trains right back home and be gone less than an hour. This year, for the first time in over 2 decades, no festival. Not enough funds and too big a security risk (The site is less than a mile from Downtown Manhattan).

Corned beef has been relegated to the seitan version for a long time now


and Mary McDougall has her own version of a Reuben sandwich that relies on tofu. It's not quite the same, but close enough.

 Reuben Sandwiches 

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  5 minutes
Servings:  variable

sliced rye bread

fat free honey-mustard dressing,
baked tofu or tempeh, thinly sliced
sauerkraut, drained
sliced tomatoes
sliced onions
soy or rice cheese (optional) 

Lay the bread slices out on your work space and spread both sides with a thin layer of the dressing.  Place the tofu or tempeh on one side of the bread.  Next add a thin layer of the sauerkraut, then the tomatoes and onions.  Finish with a small amount of soy cheese, if you wish.  Place another slice of the bread over these ingredients to make a sandwich.  Repeat as many times as necessary to serve everyone.

Heat a non-stick griddle to medium-low.  Place the sandwiches on the griddle, probably 2 at a time.  Grill until browned on one side (about 1 minute) then flip over and grill on the other side.  This usually takes only a very short time.  Remove from griddle, slice in half and serve warm.

Hints:  Baked tofu is sold in packages in most natural food stores, usually in various flavors.  Look for the brands that are lowest in fat content.  Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, sometimes flavored, sometimes with other ingredients added. To marinate the tempeh before using, place about 1/3 cup of fat-free soy-ginger or teriyaki sauce in a bowl with the tempeh.  Turn several times to coat.  Drain, then briefly sauté in a non-stick frying pan. Slice either the baked tofu or the tempeh rather thinly crosswise, so you are working with larger thin sections rather than thin strips.  Your natural food store should have both of these products available in the refrigerated section.  Water-packed sauerkraut can also be found in the natural food store, usually by the canned vegetables or pickles.  Use any fat-free dressing that you like on the bread, Tofu Island Dressing from the Quick & Easy Cookbook is also a favorite of ours.

Baked tofu doesn't exist in my area - tofu itself barely does - so I just sliced up a pound of store-brand extra firm and fried it up on a non-stick skillet with a few sprays of Bragg's Aminos on each side.

If I had remembered ahead of time I would have made my own rye bread in the bread machine. Instead I had to settle for a package of store-baked rye whose first ingredient was regular white flour. I'll be popping a fresh bag of organic whole grain rye flour in the cart next time I put an Amazon order in to be ready when I need rye bread again.

No-salt added sauerkraut! I haven't seen this in ages so picked up 2 cans. They're both dated 2017 so unless my pantry closet swallows it up (It has a habit of doing that with canned goods that I buy) I now have some for the next time I need sauerkraut.

My husband started to grab this lite honey mustard salad dressing but I pointed out it has oil in it. I used the Esselstyn 3-2-1 Dressing, instead. I always keep a batch of it in the refrigerator at all times because this is our "house" go-to sauce/dressing. Veggies and rice? 3-2-1 dressing. Salads? Ditto. A dry sandwich or some blah soup that needs a little "something" but sriracha sauce doesn't fit the flavors? Bring it on!

I know Dr. Fuhrman says raw onions are healthier, but he doesn't have to live with me after I eat them, so I always cook mine up a bit. It's no trouble to toss a handful on the griddle while frying up the tofu and saves my boys from a lot of fragrant agony in the evening (My guys don't call me "Puumba" for no reason.). 

Here are 2 sandwiches side by side - one already grilled, one not.

Delicious! Messy, because the salad dressing does make the flimsy rye bread quite soggy, but quite tasty, none the less.

I have to remember to make these up more often.

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