If there’s a vegan reuben on a menu, I have no choice but to order it. While I have sampled reubens from many stops along the way, here are 13 vegan reubens that you won’t want to miss. (These sandwiches are in no particular order. My favorite reuben is always the one that’s right in front of me.)
FÜD – Kansas City, Missouri
One of the things I love most about vegan reubens is how they showcase the creativity of a plant-based diet. While many view a vegan diet as limiting, I see it as a real exploration and discovery in the realm of produce. Take this jackfruit reuben (pictured above). This young fruit soaks up a tangy marinade. It is then sautéed and piled high on a sandwich with creamy cashew cheese and crisp sauerkraut. The soft jackfruit makes the sandwich have some give that’s only broken by the crispness of the toasted bread.
Follow Your Heart – Canoga Park, California
This is the reuben that started it all. When I first went vegetarian, Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park became a weekly destination. First, I’d feast on this reuben in their café at the back of the grocery store, and then I’d buy all of the ingredients to make my own. This sandwich is perfection in its simplicity – seitan made in house, a generous layer of sauerkraut, dressing made with their very own Vegenaise, and a pickle on top. Vegans have a choice of Follow Your Heart cheese or cottage style tofu. It may not be as flashy as some of the other sandwiches on this list, but hot damn, it’s good.
The Chicago Diner – Chicago, Illinois
The Chicago Diner is synonymous with its reuben. It’s the sandwich for which this 32-year-old eatery is known. The paper-thin slices of seitan are marinated in a mixture of spices, pickle juice, and beet juice for mouth-puckering flavor. It’s then topped in sauerkraut, dressing, grilled peppers and onions, and a generous helping of melty non-dairy cheese on marbled rye.
This sandwich is my first stop in the Windy City, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. (Don’t have any plans to visit Chicago? The reuben recipe is in their newest cookbook and here on the blog.)
Locali – Los Angeles & Venice, California
While Locali is best known for their Badass Breakfast Sandwich, their reuben is not to be ignored. This small convenience store and deli makes a sandwich that is flavorful and overflowing with tofu deli slices, vegan cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on rye.
New Pioneer Co-op – Iowa City & Coralville, Iowa
New Pioneer is a grocery store, but they also happen to make some of the best sandwiches in Iowa. Their rockin’ reuben is vegetarian by default, but vegan cheese is available. Personally, I opt out on both and replace it with avocado. Smoky tempeh, crunchy sauerkraut, and dressing made with Vegenaise are a hearty filling. It’s then sandwiched with marbled rye bread that’s made fresh in the New Pi bakery. I’m not typically a big fan of tempeh, but I make an exception for this one.
Native Foods – California, Colorado, Oregon, Illinois, and Washington, D.C.
While the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger will forever and always have my heart at Native Foods, their reuben is still up there in my list of favorites. It’s packed with seitan and Russian dressing. Plus, the horseradish cheese & sauerkraut are both made in house.
Ethos Vegan Kitchen – Winter Park, Florida
The Tofurky reuben is not on the regular menu at Ethos, but if you happen to be there on a Monday, don’t miss it on the specials menu. With thin Tofurky slices, sauerkraut, sauce, and toasted bread, it has great crunch appeal.
Homegrown Smoker – Portland, Oregon
I cannot even tell you how much I want to return to Portland, Oregon. One of the top reasons is Homegrown Smoker. This little food truck produces some of the most eye-poppingly delicious food I’ve ever tasted. Their reuben is made with seitan pastrami that has been double smoked for an intense smokiness that I love. It’s served with sauerkraut, grilled onions and peppers, and a creamy remoulade sauce.
Block 16 – Omaha, Nebraska
The reuben at Block 16 features house-made seitan that’s cut into large, toothsome chunks. It’s stuffed into the sandwich along with sweet pickled beets, sauerkraut, and dressing. This is a savory sandwich with bite.
Champs Diner – Brooklyn, New York
This reuben from acclaimed vegan diner, Champs, is stuffed with grilled seitan, sauerkraut, melty cheese, and Russian dressing on toasted marbled rye. It’s a hearty sandwich that goes down delightfully well.
Bean Vegan Cuisine – Charlotte, North Carolina
This classic reuben is topped with thinly sliced house made seitan, melted Daiya mozzarella, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing. The folks at Bean don’t skimp on the toppings. That makes this reuben all comfort food pleasure.
Chaco Canyon Organic Café – Seattle, Washington
This reuben, called the Mighty Mofo, is topped with seitan, sauerkraut, sprouts, and crisp cucumber. Unlike many heavy reubens, this sandwich has a freshness and crunch that is unexpected and very welcome.
Plum Bistro – Seattle, Washington
This reuben at Plum Bistro is topped with their own house-made tofu pastrami, pickled purple cabbage, and thousand island dressing. What really takes it to the next level is the layering of melted vegan cheese inside.