• Austin’s Vegan Corned Beet Reuben Sandwich

    Before changing my diet from a SAD (standard American diet) to a plant based vegan diet I enjoyed corned beef Reuben Sandwiches. As a child there were not part of the food landscape of the deep south. I did not experience a Reuben Sandwich till I was well in my twenties in New York City. I recall the first time eating a Reuben was at the famous Reuben's Restaurant and Delicatessen in mid-town Manhattan. If you remember Reuben’s the place was over the top décor, mile high sandwiches and total “geshmak” (meaning “tasty” or “yummy” in Yiddish). Once I changed my diet to plant based I excepted never to have a Reuben Sandwich again but as I start to explore and expand my skills as a vegan chef I was determand to create my own version of a vegan Reuben that had just a much “geshmak” as any animal based Reuben. I hope that you enjoy making and eating this recipe as much as I did. 

    Makes 4 Sandwiches 

     

    Ingredients

     

    Pre-made 

    • 8 slices of good  vegan “Jewish rye” bread or “corn rye”
    • 2 cup of sauerkraut, drained (save the juice for other recipes)
    • 8 slices of vegan white cheese, or shredded white cheese
    • 6- 8 Tbsp s of vegan butter 

    Corned Beets 

    • 6 large red beets (if making few sandwiches, use fewer beets, about ¾ of a cooked beet per sandwich is a good rule)
    • beet rub 
    • ¼ cup  olive oil 
    • 4 large fresh bay leaves, chopped into small pieces
    • 3 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds 
    • 4 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper 
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon 
    • 2 Tbsp fresh ground allspice 
    • ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg 
    • ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper 
    • ½ tsp ground coriander 
    • ½ tsp salt 
    • 1 Tbsp garlic powder 
    • 1 tsp onion powder 
    • 1 tsp thyme, dried 
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika 
    • ¼ tsp cloves, ground 
    • ½ tsp dill weed, dried 
    • 1 Tbsp star anise, ground 
    • 1 tsp juniper berry, crushed 

    (Note: you can buy pre-made mixes but it will have more flavor if you make and grind your own spices, remember it’s all about the flavor in the end)

    Vegan Russian Dressing spread  

    • 1 cup chickpeas 
    • ¼ cup grapeseed oil 
    • ½ tsp dijon mustard 
    • 2 Tbsp white vinegar 
    • 3 Tbsp organic Ketchup 
    • 2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish 

    Directions

    1. Wash the beets. In a large pot big enough to hold all the beets,  cover them with water and put on high heat on the stove top. You will want to bring to a boil, let the beets boil for 3-5 minutes or until you can piece with a knife. Drain and let them cool. After the beets cool and you and handle them. Peel all the beets. After you have peeled the beets, using a wooded cutting board and a steak fork to hold the beet in place in its side, cut the beet into ¼ inch slices. (Note: if you have a large enough mandoline slicer (I personally like Swissmar  Bornor V-1001 V- slicer mandoline) or a meat slicer, to make this steep much easier. 
    2. After chopping, crushing or grinding the spices, mix with the olive oil making a marinate rub. (Note: As pointed out above, you can buy a pre-packaged mix, but its best to make your own for freshness and flavor.)
    3. In a large bowl, add a few sliced beets, and rub coating all the beets on both sides until all the beets coated with the rub. Place in an air tight container and allow to marinate overnight or up to two days in the refrigerator. The longer the beets marinate the deeper the flavor. 
    4. Pre-heat oven to 375F
    5. On a non-stick baking sheet, lay out the beets side by side, do not over crowd and use more the one baking sheet if needed. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, turning or flipping  them half way through. You want the edge to become caramelized but make sure you do not burn them or cook to the point of a potato chip. The beets want to have a chewy center with a crisp edge. 
    6. While the beets are cooking make the sauce for the sandwich. It a food processer, add the chickpeas, pulse a few times to break them down to a paste, slowly while the processer in on and running, slowly add the oil, in a small stream, this will cause the chickpeas to froth like mayonnaise. Add the vinegar and mustard. Remove from processer and add the ketchup and pickle relish creating a vegan Russian Dressing. 
    7. After the beets are fully cooked and cold to room temperature it is time to make the sandwich. With a hot grill pan, pre-heat it on the stove top. Use a Tablespoon of the Vegan butter to help grill the sandwich.
    8.  Vegan butter the rye vegan bread that will be the inside of the sandwich, this will keep the bread from becoming saggy. 
    9. Spread the vegan Russian Dressing on top of the vegan butter.
    10. Add a stack of the corned beets, about 1.5 to 2 inches high. Add a good helping of sauerkraut, drained. I squeeze it out in my hands to get  as much of the liquid out as I can. 
    11. Add the vegan cheese. If you do not like vegan cheese, then you have the option to leave it off.
    12. Grill on each side, to toast the bread and get grill marks. To help, place on skillet on top of the sandwich to weigh it down and compress the sandwich. 
    13. When both sides are done, place toot picks on each side and cut in half and serve.