Ohhh those magical, mythical sandwiches that all my favourite American bloggers are always writing about!  I thought my turn would never come but FINALLY I have consumed a Tempeh Reuben on Australian soil!  *happy dance*

The Tempeh Reubens we fell in love with at Caravan of Dreams and many other vegan restaurants across the US didn’t have gooey cheese on both sides of their insides, but ours did.  We baked the tempeh so it absorbed all the amazing marinade flavours and turned a glossy, delicious brown.  Then we lashed on the tangy dressing, sauerkraut and caramelised onions and created a huge, magical sandwich that oozed its deliciousness with every single bite.

It looks messy.  It is messy.  But you won’t care.


Tempeh Reuben


Don’t get spooked by the long list of ingredients or steps – it’s simple to make and the result is oh so worth the effort!  I made all the filling ingredients at once and then popped half in the fridge.  Then we ate half the sandwiches for dinner and only had to make the cheesy toast again to enjoy them for brunch again the next day.

Trust me, make more.  You won’t regret it.


The Magical Tempeh Reuben!

Rebecca Weller - Vegan Sparkles
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 -6


For 6 sandwiches:

  • 12 slices Bread rye is traditional but I like gluten-free multi-grain
  • 2 large Tomatoes sliced
  • 1 packet of Non-dairy Cheese I like Notzarella or Vegusto, sliced
  • 1 cup Sauerkraut

Marinated Tempeh

  • 1 packet Tempeh
  • 1/2 cup Apple Juice unsweetened
  • 2 tbsp Agave Nectar
  • 1/4 cup Tamari / Soy Sauce
  • 2 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1 small piece Ginger finely chopped

Russian Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Pine Nuts blended with 1/2 cup Water until smooth and creamy
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Lemon juiced
  • 1 clove Garlic crushed
  • 1 tbsp Mustard I like American because it's sweeter, but French would be good too
  • 3 tbsp Ketchup / Tomato Sauce
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • Pinch of Cracked Black Pepper and Sea Salt
  • 2 tbsp chopped Brown Onion

Caramelised Onions

  • 2 large Brown Onions sliced (minus 2tbsp used in the Russian dressing)
  • Splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Sea Salt


  • Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.
  • Cut tempeh in half horizontally to create two large, thin sheets.  Cut each sheet into 6 even pieces.
  • Place tempeh pieces in a single layer in a baking dish and cover evenly with the marinade ingredients.  Place baking dish in the oven and allow to bake for 30 minutes or so.
  • Slice onions and throw them into a saucepan with the oil and salt.  Slowly cook over a low-medium heat until caramelised and golden brown (about 20 minutes).
  • Combine all Russian dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  • Place bread slices under the grill and toast one side until golden.  Flip bread over, place cheese on top of each slice and grill until cheese melts.
  • Remove from grill and place a generous dollop of Russian dressing on each cheesy toast slice.
  • On 6 of the bread slices, assemble sandwich by placing two pieces of tempeh on each bread slice, topped with a slice or two of tomato, a large dollop of sauerkraut and caramelised onions.
  • Top with another cheesy toast slice and wrap your laughing gear around it!

 Tempeh Reuben


21 Comments on The Magical Tempeh Reuben!

  1. Sophie
    January 23, 2013 at 11:15 pm (12 years ago)

    Hahahhahahahahha! I loved your funny explanation too! Especially the last sentence! 🙂

    MMMMMMM! Your vegan Tempeh Reuben looks fantastic, Bex! Beautiful to gaze at & I would be happy to devour these two!

    MMMMM! You nailed it: it looks even better then the real thing!

    • * Vegan Sparkles *
      January 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm (12 years ago)

      hehe, thanks Sophie! We devoured them in record time! 🙂

  2. Barb@ThatWasVegan?
    January 24, 2013 at 1:00 am (12 years ago)

    Reubens are SO GOOD! I had one for lunch the other day… there’s a spot just a few blocks from my office that makes a mean vegan reuben. And even though I brought my lunch today, you’re tempting me to be very bad and go get another one 🙂

    • * Vegan Sparkles *
      January 24, 2013 at 3:57 pm (12 years ago)

      Oh my WOW, to have one permanently near your office!! I would be eating them every day if I could! Get one, get one! 🙂

    • * Vegan Sparkles *
      January 31, 2013 at 1:53 pm (11 years ago)

      Get into it, Gabby! 🙂 It’s a sizzling hot summer over here and we still can’t get enough of this sandwich! So worth the wait.

  3. Richa
    January 30, 2013 at 10:27 am (11 years ago)

    i love the caramelized onions and the russian dressing.. this is a perfect sandwich!

    • * Vegan Sparkles *
      January 31, 2013 at 1:53 pm (11 years ago)

      It is, Richa! I’m so happy to have finally devoured one ten!! 🙂

  4. Jennifer
    January 30, 2013 at 11:53 pm (11 years ago)

    Totally LOVING your blog and everything that lives here!!! I hope you don;t mine me linking you and visiting often 🙂

    • * Vegan Sparkles *
      January 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm (11 years ago)

      haha, link and visit away, Jennifer! It’s so lovely to have you here. 🙂

  5. Brandi
    February 6, 2013 at 2:20 pm (11 years ago)

    Oh my goodness this looks amazing! Seriously amazing and so hearty and filling. Wish I was eating one now!!

  6. kilaheem
    February 11, 2013 at 10:23 am (11 years ago)

    Making now!

  7. babs
    February 24, 2013 at 6:16 am (11 years ago)


    Making this now. A few questions.
    Is every packet of Tempeh the same weight/size?
    I have an 8 oz packet.
    Also, what do you consider a “small piece” of ginger?

    As my husband says, he is more of a “wing it” cook, and I am a more “precise measurer”.


    • * Vegan Sparkles *
      February 25, 2013 at 10:31 am (11 years ago)

      Hi Babs! That sounds like the average size packet of tempeh, so that should be perfect. 🙂 I used about an inch-sized piece of ginger but you can use more or less depending on your tastes.

  8. Cat
    March 22, 2013 at 6:40 am (11 years ago)

    This looks fab!! Yes, we American’s looooove this sandwich and I dearly miss it. Thanks for all the uplifting inspiration:) We’re in a vegan rut and your recipes make me excited to eat again. Thank you!!

    • * Vegan Sparkles *
      March 26, 2013 at 7:23 pm (11 years ago)

      Ohhhh that’s about the best compliment you could give me, thank you Cat! Enjoy! 🙂 xx

  9. Dawn
    April 30, 2013 at 7:07 am (11 years ago)

    Yay!! I’m so super excited! We don’t even have a vegetarian restaurant where we live and I am an absolutely hideous cook! But your recipe and very clear instructions look like even I might be able to do it! I am actually inspired to try! Thank you!!! (my hubbie will thank you, too.. he has been working hard to go meat free and this childhood favorite will be awesome)

    • * Vegan Sparkles *
      May 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm (11 years ago)

      Oh YAY! So happy I could help, Dawn!
      Another variation that we tried the other night was to pop the tempeh, onions, sauerkraut and dressing on top of mash potatoes and it was incredibly tasty! Great comfort food for your hubbie. 🙂 x

  10. JANE
    August 30, 2013 at 3:36 pm (11 years ago)

    Made these over the weekend. They are really good. I wouldn’t even mind making more sauce to use it on salads or dip fries in it.

    • * Vegan Sparkles *
      September 1, 2013 at 10:41 am (11 years ago)

      Oh great idea, Jane. I love the sauce too! 🙂