You’re going to love this vegan reuben jackfruit sandwich. It is packed with corned jackfruit, crunchy sauerkraut, and tangy Thousand Island dressing on toasted marbled rye. It’s a flavor-packed lunch or dinner that truly delivers.
When it comes to vegan reubens, I’m like a Pokémon trainer. I want to catch ‘em all.
(Come here, little reuben. I want to get a Picachu!)
If I’m at a restaurant with a vegan reuben, I know what I’ll be ordering. And I’ve been known to concoct road trips just because there’s vegan reuben at the end of it.
I have a list of 12 vegan reubens from across the U.S. to prove it.
My reuben list used to have one more addition, but it had to be deleted. That was the vegan reuben jackfruit sandwich from FÜD in Kansas City.
It was no fault of the sandwich, but the restaurant itself closed a while back. Once upon a time, David and I would come up with any excuse for making the 7-hour drive to Kansas City, mostly so that we could eat at FÜD. They specialized in jackfruit & raw dishes.
Even before they closed, making a FÜD-style jackfruit sandwich had been on my to-do list for a while. I’m so excited to finally share my recipe with you today!
Vegan reuben jackfruit sandwich
A vegan reuben sandwich needs four things:
- A briny, toothsome filling
- Thousand Island-style dressing
- Rye bread (Preferably marbled)
The “corned jackfruit” filling is what makes this reuben such a standout.
This bright pink jackfruit sandwich gets its color from beets. I’m not usually a beet fan at all. However, you can’t taste them in the sandwich. They’re really just there for color, like when I make pickled turnips.
The hot pink jackfruit is reminiscent of the corned beef that’s on non-vegan reuben sandwiches.
(Plus, it makes the sandwich very timely for Valentine’s Day! I know I’d rather have a jackfruit sandwich than roses any day.)
Also adding to the corned beef quality is mouth puckering pickle juice, umami-rich bouillon & tamari, dill, and granulated onion.
For the sauerkraut, I always recommend using refrigerated sauerkraut, as opposed to the shelf stable kind sold in the middle grocery aisles. Those jars sold at room temperature just don’t have the crunch and vibrancy that you need in a reuben.
Remember to drain your sauerkraut completely. (You could even wring it in a towel if necessary.) You don’t want to end up with a soggy sandwich.
Vegan Thousand Island dressing
The sandwich is drizzled with a quick Thousand Island dressing made with vegan mayonnaise, lemon juice, ketchup, and diced pickles.
Finally, it’s topped onto rye bread that’s been toasted in a skillet.
The crunch of the bread & cold sauerkraut, plus briny corned jackfruit and tangy Thousand Island dressing makes for a truly unforgettable sandwich.
What about the cheese?
Non-vegan reubens usually come with Swiss cheese. Swiss is very mild, and I don’t think it adds a lot in terms of flavor. So I didn’t include non-dairy cheese in today’s jackfruit sandwich recipe.
However, if you’d like, feel free to include a slice of non-dairy cheese. (Just add it to the bread in the skillet as it’s toasting, so that it can get a little melty.)
Vegan provolone or smoked gouda would be good here. Or you could add slices of avocado.
How to make a vegan reuben jackfruit sandwich
Start by thoroughly rinsing and drying canned jackfruit. (Look for jackfruit sold in water or brine, not syrup. To see the specific Trader Joe’s jackfruit I buy, check out this post on jackfruit carnitas.)
Give the jackfruit a few pulses in the food processor until it’s broken up into small, even pieces.
Put the shredded jackfruit in a lightly oiled skillet. Don’t move it too often, so that it can get nice and brown on both sides.
Put cooked beets into a blender with water, no beef style Better Than Bouillon, pickle juice, and tamari. Blend until smooth.
For the cooked beets, I use frozen beets from Trader Joe’s. The bag is labeled Beet Chunks. They’re frozen beet chunks that have been peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces.
They’re very handy, because I can just use a few without having to worry they will go bad before I can use them. I throw about three pieces of beets in a bowl, and microwave them for 30 seconds. I give some other options in the notes section of the recipe card.
If you’re not into the hot pink color of the sandwich, simply leave the beets out.
Add the beet liquid from the blender plus seasonings to the browned jackfruit. Allow the jackfruit to fully soak up the liquid.
Once the skillet is pretty much dry, turn off the heat. Add a spoonful of tahini to the jackfruit mixture.
Tahini makes the jackfruit sticky enough to hold together on the sandwich. It also evens out the flavors of the jackfruit, and mutes any remaining brine flavor from the can.
Put the jackfruit onto toasted marbled rye with a generous drizzle of homemade vegan Thousand Island dressing.
I am so eager for you to try this vegan reuben jackfruit sandwich. I know you’re going to love it. And best of all, you don’t even have to drive 7 hours to eat it!
Vegan reuben jackfruit sandwich with Thousand Island
Vegan Thousand Island dressing
- 2 Tablespoons vegan mayonnaise I use Vegenaise
- 1 Tablespoon ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped pickles
- 2 Tablespoons cooked beets*
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon tamari
- 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon no beef base
- 2 Tablespoons pickle juice
- 20 ounces young green jackfruit canned in water or brine, not syrup, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon organic canola oil or other neutral-flavored, high heat oil
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 Tablespoon tahini
Vegan reuben jackfruit sandwich
- 8 slices marbled rye bread
- non-dairy butter for toasting bread (optional)
- 1 cup sauerkraut drained (I like garlic sauerkraut from Gold Mine.)
To make vegan Thousand Island dressing
- In a small bowl, combine vegan mayonnaise, ketchup, lemon juice, and pickles. Set aside.
To make the corned jackfruit
- In a blender, combined cooked beets, water, tamari, Better Than Bouillon no beef base, and pickle juice. Blend until the beets are completely broken up and smooth. Set aside.
- Thoroughly rinse the jackfruit in a colander. The jackfruit will still hold a lot of brine flavor from the can. So rinse it well. Then blot the jackfruit pieces on a towel. (If it's too wet, it won't brown as well.)
- Put the jackfruit into a food processor. Pulse it 5 or 6 times, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary. The jackfruit should be broken up into even, smaller pieces.
- Bring canola oil to a medium high heat in a large non-stick skillet. Evenly lay the shredded jackfruit across the skillet. Brown the jackfruit really well on one side. You want the jackfruit to get a some nice color and to dry out. (If you move it too often, it won't brown as well.) Once it has nicely browned on one side, flip the jackfruit with a spatula and brown the other side.
- Once the jackfruit is nicely browned, it's time to infuse it with flavor. Add the liquid from the blender, as well as granulated onion & dried dill. Fully combine it with the jackfruit. You want the liquid to be at a simmer, so adjust your heat accordingly. Allow the jackfruit to simmer in the liquid for ten to twelve minutes, until all of the liquid has cooked off.
- Once the liquid has cooked off, turn off the heat. Add tahini to the jackfruit mixture, and thoroughly combine. It will make the jackfruit sticky enough to stay on the sandwich, and it evens out the flavor.
To make vegan reuben jackfruit sandwich
- Bring a large, non-stick skillet to a medium heat. If desired, lightly butter one side of the bread on all 8 slices of rye. Lay the slices buttered side down onto the skillet. (If you'd rather not butter the bread, you can skip that step. It just won't brown quite as nicely.) Allow the bread to toast for about 4 minutes, until it gets nutty brown on one side. Then turn off the heat, and remove the slices from the skillet.
- Now it's time to make the sandwiches. Put a few spoonfuls of jackfruit mixture onto four of the bread slices. Top the jackfruit with sauerkraut (about 1/4 cup of sauerkraut for each sandwich). Then drizzle Thousand Island on top of the sauerkraut (about a Tablespoon of dressing per sandwich). Top the sandwiches with the remaining slices of toasted bread and serve right away.