Hold onto your hats. Today I’m sharing the vegan reuben sandwich recipe from the Chicago Diner cookbook.
This is a sandwich worth driving hours to obtain. But now you don’t have to! Loaded with marinated seitan, sauerkraut, and dressing, it’s jam-packed with flavor. Vegan comfort food at its best.
My first stop in Chicago tends to be to the same place – Chicago Diner. With a 31 year history and two locations, it is a mainstay of the Windy City.
Their menu is loaded with cozy comfort foods, hearty breakfasts, and their world-famous vegan reuben sandwich. (It’s the highlight to any Chicago trip!)
Loaded with chewy seitan, crisp sauerkraut, and creamy Thousand Island dressing, it ticks all of my must haves for that diner classic.
And I’m going to be sharing that vegan reuben sandwich recipe with you today! But more on that in just a bit…
Chicago Diner cookbook
I was so excited when I heard that the folks at the Chicago Diner were coming out with a new cookbook with lots of color photos and enticing recipes.
The New Chicago Diner Cookbook by Jo A. Kaucher with Kat Barry celebrates so much of what makes the Chicago Diner great.
(This new cookbook is completely different from the Chicago Diner Cookbook that was released in 2002.)
There are recipes for vegan proteins and fillings, brunch, entertaining, salads, dressings, and condiments, soups and sandwiches, entrees, vegetables and side dishes, and desserts.
While the Chicago Diner is a vegetarian restaurant, all of the recipes in the cookbook are vegan.
A few things I’ve made:
This creamy cashew pesto dip is in the entertaining section.
I served it with crackers and crudités for an easy summer dinner. This spread is cashew-based and filled with mounds and mounds of fresh basil.
For 2 cups of raw cashews, you combine it with 9 ½ cups of basil. That’s a lot of basil!
In the variations, they offer the idea of substituting half of the basil for spinach for a less pronounced basil flavor.
For dip purposes, I will probably do that next time. However, I used the remaining spread as a sauce for hot pasta, and it was wonderfully creamy and fragrant.
This summer I have been gravitating towards a lot of quick, no fuss lunches. One that I’ve been coming back to again and again is eggless (tofu) salad.
I usually make it with just a few ingredients – tofu, Vegenaise, and kala namak. So I was interested in trying the Chicago Diner version with this eggless salad wrap.
Their version includes everything that I put in mine plus celery, parsley, green onion, dill pickles, mustard, turmeric, and sunflower seeds.
I’d never added toasted sunflower seeds to a tofu salad before. It added a wonderfully nutty crunch that I really liked.
I reduced the amount of Vegenaise in the recipe by about half, because I prefer a less mayo-heavy sandwich.
It took less than ten minutes to make, and it was absolutely delicious. This will definitely be my preferred recipe from now on.
Vegan Reuben sandwich
Finally, the crème de la crème – the Radical Reuben.
This vegan reuben sandwich was the reason I was most excited for this cookbook. It did not disappoint.
Even though a person can make a vegan reuben sandwich with any number of toothsome fillings like tofu, tempeh, or Portobello mushrooms, it is chewy seitan that makes a reuben irresistible to me.
This is a sandwich that doesn’t need any sides. It is super filling, and it has it all – sautéed onions, bell peppers, a layer of sauerkraut, and their signature corned beef-style seitan.
(The recipe also calls for vegan mozzarella. But I left that out.)
There is a recipe for seitan in the book. But it requires a stand mixer with paddle attachment, which I don’t have. When you make the recipe below, use your own preferred seitan with the listed marinade or my seitan chicken.
The seitan is marinated in the Corned “Beef” Marinade. It’s the marinade that really brings the sandwich to life.
With a base of pickle juice, beet juice, and seasonings, the tart, salty flavor pops. It’s the beet juice that gives the seitan its vibrant, hot pink color.
The vegan reuben sandwich rivals the one I’ve had many times at Chicago Diner. And you don’t even have to find parking!
Can I freeze the seitan?
Yes, seitan freezes beautifully.
I am the only reuben lover in our house. So after eating a couple of sandwiches, I froze the rest of the marinated seitan in individual portions.
Bread also freezes well. So I froze the rest of the rye bread too.
This has been kind of magical. Now whenever I have a vegan reuben sandwich emergency, I have everything at hand.
I just quickly thaw the seitan in the microwave, sauté it, toast the bread, and pull out my favorite sauerkraut.
I can have a reuben in less than 15 minutes. It’s a beautiful thing.
I am so excited that the folks at Agate Publishing have kindly offered for me to share the Radical Reuben sandwich recipe with you today!
I hope you’re hungry. You are going to love it.
The Radical Reuben
For the Corned “Beef” Marinade:
For the Thousand Island Sauce:
- ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise Vegenaise
- 3 Tablespoons organic ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped dill pickles
For the Reubens:
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ½ cup sliced yellow onion
- ¼ cup sliced red bell pepper
- ¼ cup sliced green bell pepper
- 1 ⅓ cups sauerkraut
- 8 slices marble rye bread
- 1 pound Seitan Corned “Beef” See marinade recipe above
- 1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese Chicago Diner uses Daiya brand for this sandwich
To make the marinade:
- In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients together until fully combined.
- Slice 1 pound of seitan thinly. Place it in a large, shallow baking dish. Pour the marinade over the seitan and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
To make the Sauce:
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Set aside.
To make the Reubens:
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and peppers and sauté for 7 to 9 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Remove from the heat and transfer the onion and peppers to a medium covered bowl. Set aside.
- Place the sauerkraut in the skillet and return it to the heat. Warm it in the skillet for 5 minutes, until it is warmed through. Remove from the heat and transfer the sauerkraut to a medium bowl. Cover the bowl and set aside.
- Toast the bread. Place the Seitan Corned “Beef” in the skillet and return it to the heat. Warm it in the skillet for 5 to 7 minutes, until it is warmed through and a little brown on the edges. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Place 4 of the toasted bread slices on a serving platter. Divide the Seitan Corned “Beef” evenly among the 4 slices.
- Atop each pile of Seitan Corned “Beef,” layer ¼ of the sauerkraut, the pepper-onion mix, the vegan mozzarella cheese, and the Thousand Island Sauce. Top each sandwich half with the remaining 4 slices of bread. Slice each sandwich in half and serve immediately.
Disclosure: I received this cookbook for review from Agate Publishing. The thoughts and opinions are totally my own.