Food crush! This Vegan Reuben has pan fried spiced mushrooms, red cabbage sauerkraut, Russian dressing and pickles in each wonderfully messy and textured bite.
This vegan sandwich is super tasty + can be ready in around 15-minutes.
This recipe was first published on Apr 29, 2017 and updated on March 8, 2023 with ingredient substitutions, updated instructions and images.
We Love this Vegan Rueben and Here's Why
I love making my favourite "traditional" recipes and veganising them. My Vegan Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Olives is a twist on Puttanesca without the anchovies while there are no prizes for guessing the root of my Sneaky BBQ Mushroom Steamed Buns. I even have the best vegan pot pie recipe. This vegan Reuben is another twist on a classic -
What is a Reuben?
The Reuben sandwich is a classic North American grilled sandwich made up of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing or Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread.
For the Russian Dressing
Russian dressing and Thousand Island dressing are often confused because both begin with a mayonnaise and ketchup or ketchup-style chilli sauce base. They are both a gorgeous pink colour but where Thousand Island is sweet and studded with pickle relish, Russian dressing is spicier with a hint of heat from horseradish and/or hot sauce (Epicurious)
Vegan mayo. I use my vegan mayonnaise but you use what you like.
Dill pickles. I use dill pickles rather than pickle relish so I can control the sweetness in the dressing.
Maple syrup. To balance our sauce, we add a touch of maple. You could use sugar, agave or rice syrup to taste.
Chilli sauce. Use your favourite hot sauce here. I like Sriracha - it's not traditional but it's what I like.
Paprika. We are looking for sweet or regular paprika in this dressing. Don't be tempted by the allure of smoked paprika - it is wonderful I know -we want straight-up-no-fuss paprika here.
For the Mushrooms
Mushrooms. Use a mix of mushrooms if you can, the meatier the better. Think "Swiss, Portobello or Pine."
Mustard and caraway seeds. We are playing with the flavours of traditional corned beef or pastrami so don't skip the spices.
For the Sandwich
Dill pickles. Don't skip these, they are quintessentially Rueben.
Vegan cheese. Traditionally a Reuben is made with Swiss cheese but use your favourite vegan cheese here.
Dill. Fresh dill brings the flavours together and brings the whole thing home. m
How to Make a Vegan Reuben Sandwich
You'll find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Step 1. Make a Russian Dressing. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
Step 2. Finely slice the mushrooms. Heat oil in a large fry pan and sauté the garlic for 20 seconds before adding the mustard and fennel seeds.
Add the mushrooms and toss through the spices. Cook for four minutes before seasoning with sea salt.
Step 3. Bring it home. To assemble the sandwich, lightly butter one side of the rye bread slices and place them butter side down on a pan. Place your cheese on one of the slices. Grill until lightly toasted on one side only.
Grab your shrooms from the pan.
Once the bread is toasted on one side, remove it from the pan and smear the unbuttered side of one (the one without the cheese) with a good dollop of the dressing before following with a generous handful of the mushrooms. Add the sauerkraut and slices of the dill pickle before popping the other slices of toasted bread on top...that's the one with the cheese 😉
Tips to Making a Lip-Smacking Vegan Reuben
Choose your bread. Use a good quality rye bread to add flavour to the sandwich.
Drain the sauerkraut. Drain as much liquid from the sauerkraut as you can or the sandwich will be soggy - nobody wants that. If you don’t like sauerkraut, you can use vegan coleslaw instead.
Pile it up. Stack up your ingredients good and hight for the ultimate Reuben bite.
*Elizabeth Weil offers a wonderful and funny account of the Reuben Sandwich's contentious history and her family's part in it, here; it is well worth a read.
Try more sandwiches and burgers.
Want more plant-based goodness?
Vegan Reuben Sandwich
- 1 fry pan
- griddle pan or fry pan to toast the sandwich
- ½ cup vegan mayonnaise 125 ml
- 1 tablespoon chilli sauce 20 ml
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill pickles
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 200 grams mixed mushrooms - I used Pine and Swiss
- 1 tablespoon olive oil to fry
- 1 garlic glove finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seed
- pinch sea salt
- fresh dill to serve
- 6 slices rye bread
- 1 tsp vegan butter
- ⅔ cup sauerkraut I like a red cabbage sauerkraut but choose your favourite
- 2 slices vegan cheese
- 3 dill pickles sliced
For the Russian Dressing
- To make the Russian dressing combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
For the Mushrooms
- Finely slice the mushrooms. Heat a little oil in a large fry pan and sautée the garlic for 20 seconds before adding the mustard and fennel seeds.
- Add the mushrooms and toss through the spices. Cook for four minutes before seasoning with sea salt.
To Assemble the Sandwich
- To assemble the sandwich, lightly butter one side of the rye bread slices and place them butter side down on a pan. Place a slice of cheese on one of the slices for each sandwich. Grill until lightly toasted on one side only. Don't flip the bread - you'll never get that cheese off the grill!
- Once the bread is toasted on one side, remove it from the pan and smear the unbuttered side of one (the one without the cheese) with a good dollop of the dressing before following with a generous handful of the mushrooms. Add the sauerkraut and slices of the dill pickle before popping the other slices of toasted bread on top...that's the one with the cheese 😉
- You can return the whole sandwich to the pan if you like and lightly grill until warmed through.
- Serve immediately.